The Bates and Harvey Mudd Aeronautics Heritage Library

The Bates and Harvey Mudd Aeronautics Heritage Library (familiarly known as the Bates Aeronautical Library) traces its origin to the Bates Aeronautics Program, a two-year program to teach undergraduates to fly, that was part of the Harvey Mudd College curriculum from 1962 to 1990.


The program was developed and taught by Olympic swimmer and aviation pioneer Iris Cummings Critchell and her husband, Howard Critchell, also a distinguished aviator. It was made possible by Isabel Bates, who believed that training college undergraduates to fly would instill in them principles of self-reliance, ingenuity, teamwork, and professionalism that would serve them well in their adult lives, and created a foundation to fund a program in Aeronautical Education. Ruby Hale Field and her husband, Oliver C. Field, the latter a founding member of the Harvey Mudd College Board of Trustees, were instrumental in bringing the program to the College in 1962. While the Program ended in 1990 with the retirement of the Critchells, its legacy remains strong: the Bates Foundation’s assets now provide a number of student scholarships and support the research collections of the Bates Aeronautical Library, and Bates Program alumni, many of whom have gone on to distinguished careers in engineering, aeronautics and space, diplomacy, education, and other disciplines, are among Harvey Mudd College’s strongest supporters.


The Bates Aeronautical Library serves a dual role: (1) to document and celebrate Harvey Mudd College’s rich aviation heritage, and (2) to provide materials to support the curriculum of Harvey Mudd and the other Claremont Colleges, and to provide materials for original research in the history of the development of aviation and aeronautics, particularly in Southern California.

1. Documenting and celebrating Harvey Mudd College’s aviation heritage

The Bates Aeronautical Library holds the records of the Bates Foundation and of the Bates Aeronautics Program, including 20 photograph albums documenting the activities of every student in the program from 1962 to 1990. The Library also holds the two trophies awarded by the Program, the Herman Glutz Trophy for first-year students, and the Blown Fuse Trophy for second-year students. These trophies—with lighthearted names but serious intent—were awarded at a celebration at the end of each academic year by “Herman Glutz”, the fictitious German World War I pilot who served as the Program’s alter ego, helping to foster the Program’s strong camaraderie and esprit du corps.

The Library’s collections also include books, papers, and memorabilia donated by and relating to several early members of Harvey Mudd College’s administration with aeronautical connections, including founding President Joseph Platt; George I. McKelvey, the College’s first vice president and director of development; and Ruby and Oliver C. Field, one of the College’s founding trustees. Of particular interest are the awards and memorabilia of John Leland “Lee” Atwood, another founding trustee, one of the foremost aerospace engineers of his generation, and chairman of the board of both North American Aviation and Rockwell International.

In addition, the Library houses a unique collection materials relating to, and donated by, Harvey Mudd College’s two astronauts, George “Pinky” Nelson (’72), and Stanley G. Love (’87). Framed patches and other memorabilia carried by the astronauts on their missions are on display in the Aviation Room in Hoch-Shanahan Dining Commons. The Library also holds analog and digital video recordings of Stan Love’s NASA Mission STS-122 (7-20 February 2008).

2. Research Collections

The research collections of the Library include several book collections, the most noteworthy of which are the Raymond Goodall Collection, which is particularly strong on the early history of aviation, the historical development of aeronautical engineering, and biographies of leading pilots and aeronautical engineers, and the Iris Critchell Collection, which is particularly strong on the history of women in aviation, and on the development of flying in the 1930s and 1940s. Several items in the collection are exceptionally rare: C. J. L. Krarup-Hansen’s Essay to a theory of the flight of birds, bats, and insects (Copenhagen, 1869), the oldest book in the library, is held by no other library in the Western Hemisphere. The Iris Critchell Collection also holds subscriptions to several aviation periodicals, including Aviation Week & Space Technology, AOPA Pilot, Flying, EAA Sport Aviation and Ninety-Nines.

The Roy Wolford Photograph Collection is an archival collection of national importance. Roy Wolford was John K. “Jack” Northrop’s personal photographer, and the approximately 5,000 photographic prints and negatives in the collection document the development and first flights of many Northrop-designed aircraft, beginning with the Douglas DC-4 in the late 1930s and extending to the YF-23 and B-2 in the early 1990s, with many unique images of the pioneering N-1M, N-9M, XB-35, and YB-49 flying wings. Several hundred earlier photographs, not taken by Wolford but given to him by Northrop, document Northrop’s work with the Loughead brothers (later Lockheed) and Donald C. Douglas, beginning in the second decade of the 20th century. Northrop’s own album of photographs from 1916 contains many unique images.

The books, papers and memorabilia of Brigadier General Joseph S. Marriott, donated by General Marriott and his family, form another important archival collection. General Marriot was a pioneer aviator who served as one of the original aeronautical inspectors for the Aeronautics Branch of the Department of Commerce (the forerunner of the FAA), co-authored the re-codification of the Civil Air Regulations in 1930, and served as Los Angeles regional administrator of the Civil Aviation Authority (another forerunner of the FAA). He had a great interest in aeronautical education, serving as program advisor for the Bates Aeronautics Program and as president of the Bates Foundation.


The exhibits in the Aviation Room, located in Hoch-Shanahan Dining Commons, contain materials selected to document the College’s aeronautical heritage, and the extent and breadth of the Bates Aeronautical Library collections. The Herman Glutz and Blown Fuse Trophies, as well as the framed astronaut memorabilia, are originals; the photographic images are duplicates of the originals in the Bates Aeronautical Library collections.

Location and Access

The Bates Aeronautical Library is located in Room 401, fourth floor, Norman F. Sprague Center.

The book holdings of the Library are fully cataloged, and may be found in the Claremont Colleges Library’s catalog. Books do not circulate, but may be consulted either in the Aeronautical Library or in Special Collections at Honnold/Mudd Library. To request a book through Aeon, the Special Collections Request System, click on its title. To consult an archival collection, which may not yet be listed in the Claremont Colleges Library’s online catalog, contact the curator (see below). Archival collections also do not circulate, but may be consulted either in the Aeronautical Library or, by special arrangement, in Special Collections at Honnold/Mudd Library.

The Bates Aeronautical Library is open Monday through Friday (and Saturday of Family and Alumni Weekends), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed for lunch noon to 1 p.m.), other days and times by appointment. The curator enthusiastically welcomes visitors. However, as he is the only staff and may be called away unexpectedly, before coming up to the library, please telephone 909.621.8128 or 909.762.9019 (cell) to verify that he is available.