Scope and Content Note
Al Lodwick talking to Charles Lindbergh (r)
The Albert I. Lodwick Photograph Collection was transferred to the Special Collections unit of the Lakeland Public Library in 1988. The photographs and negatives had been stored for more than forty years in a city owned building that had once been used by the Lodwick School of Aeronautics.
Lodwick had leased the property from the city to serve as the home of the Lodwick School of Aeronautics and subsequently, Lodwick Aircraft Industries. When the latter company went out of business in the early 1950's, Lodwick apparently left behind a cache of photographic prints and negatives which he had collected during his long career in the aviation industry. After Lodwick's departure, the site became the spring training headquarters of the Detroit Tigers baseball team. The photos remained undisturbed until discovered in 1988 by Lakeland city workers preparing to raze the building which housed them.
The photographs and negatives are in remarkably good condition considering the circumstances under which they had been stored for more than forty years. Some of the prints were apparently beyond salvage and were discarded. The negatives, however, survived remarkably well. They had been stored in individual negative envelopes, which offered them some protection from the constant heat and humidity of central Florida.
The photographs come from a variety of sources. Many of them, particularly those for which negatives exist, were probably taken by a photographer in the employ of the Lodwick School of Aeronautics and Lodwick Aircraft Industries. Others came from newspaper photographers, the War Department, and Lodwick himself. No attempt has been made to separate or organize the photographs by source.
There are a number of collections in the holdings of Special Collections which complement and/or supplement this one. They include the Albert I. Lodwick Papers (RG2700), the Bridges Collection of Lodwick Material (P708), Lodwick School of Aeronautics Photo and Memorabilia Collection (P710, materials donated by former cadets and instructors), and the Dan Sanborn Collection of Lodwick Photos (P715).
The photographs comprise 4 linear feet. After processing, they were organized into six series as follows:
Series I, Lodwick School of Aeronautics;
Series II, Lodwick Aircraft Industries;
Series III, Howard Hughes;
Series IV, Personal Photos;
Series V, War Consultant;
Series VI, Negatives.
Series I, the Lodwick School of Aeronautics, 1940-1945, provides photographic documentation of the flight training school operated in Lakeland by Albert Lodwick under contract to the army to train pilots for World War II. Included are photos of the airfield, hangars, barracks, commencement ceremonies, drills and marches, cadets in training, cadets at play, and photos of such famous visitors as General James Doolittle, journalist Lowell Thomas, and Florida governor Spessard Holland.
Series II, Lodwick Aircraft Industries, @1946-54, contains photographs relating to the company formed by Lodwick after the closure of the aeronautics school in 1945. The company's principal activities were the sale of war surplus aviation equipment and supplies and the conversion of military aircraft to civilian use. The photographs in this series document those activities and include "before" and "after" photos of aircraft interiors, photos of converted aircraft, photos of aircraft undergoing conversion, and many photos of war surplus equipment stacked in hangars and on the tarmac.
Series III, Howard Hughes, 1938, contains photographs relating to Howard Hughes' record setting around the world flight in 1938. Lodwick served as the flight operations manager for the flight and most likely collected the photos in this series to commemorate his role in the flight. The photos document the people and events surrounding the flight and include photos of Hughes in a variety of settings. Examples are Hughes with Lodwick, posing with his flight crew, being interviewed by the press, in the cockpit of his aircraft, and at the White House with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Series IV, Personal Photographs, @1930's-1950's, is concerned more with Lodwick's personal life rather than his business life and contains photos of Lodwick alone and in groups, family photos, photos of aircraft of various types, photos of the centennial commencement of Iowa Wesleyan College (Lodwick's alma mater), and photos of Lodwick with such luminaries as Charles Lindbergh, Averill Harriman, and Detroit Tiger player Hank Greenberg.
Series V, War Consultant, 1943-44, includes an album of more than 350 photographs documenting Lodwick's 1943-44 trip to the European, North African, and Asian theaters of war as a civilian consultant to the Army Air Force. The trip lasted nearly five months and covered 54,000 miles in 32 countries.
Series VI, Negatives, @1940-1950, contains more than 1000 negatives documenting the activities of Lodwick Aircraft Industries and Lodwick's two flight training schools, the Lodwick School of Aeronautics in Lakeland the Lodwick Aviation Military Academy in Avon Park.