John L. Jordan Papers

Collection Summary

Title: John L. Jordan Papers
Call Number: MS 2002-06
Size: 2.0 linear feet
Acquisition: Purchased from Carmen D. Valentino
Processed by: VN, 12-18-2001; MN, 11-2013
Restrictions: None

Literary Rights

Literary rights were not granted to Wichita State University. When permission is granted to examine the manuscripts, it is not an authorization to publish them. Manuscripts cannot be used for publication without regard for common law literary rights, copyright laws and the laws of libel. It is the responsibility of the researcher and his/her publisher to obtain permission to publish. Scholars and students who eventually plan to have their work published are urged to make inquiry regarding overall restrictions on publication before initial research.

Content Note

This collection contains business and personal correspondences dating from 1938 to 1955, addressed to John L. Jordan, President of the American Dirigible Company of New York City. The correspondence relates to Jordan’s relentless efforts to obtain funding for his dirigible projects and were written by him and potential investors, lawyers, engineers, politicians, and the United States Army and Navy officials. The correspondences are well in excess of 200 letters with a large group of related documents, blueprints, descriptive reports from Jordan’s crew of airship engineers and experts, test results, flight predictions, and cost studies. Other correspondences document his early career with McKim, Mead & White, an architectural firm in New York.


John L. Jordan was born May 17, 1874, to John and Rose Jordan in New York City, New York. He received his education from the public school of New York City, Columbia Institute, The Trade School of Mechanics, and The Traders Institute. On November 29, 1899, Jordan married Isabelle M. Murray. John L. Jordan worked for 15 years in the general contracting business with his father. Upon his father's retirement in August 1905, Jordan succeeded him to run the entire business.

From 1936 to 1938 Jordan worked for the renowned architectural firm McKim, Mead and Kim in New York City. In 1938 he resigned from the firm due to his wife's illness. From 1938 to his death in 1955, Jordan was President of the American Dirigible Company of New York. Jordan claimed that dirigibles could out perform previous Zeppelin-type airships and compete with airplanes and naval vessels. He attempted to attract the attention of the Army and Navy but was never successful.

Detailed Description: Series Listing

Series 1 Box 1 John L. Jordan American Dirigible Company Documents. These files contain correspondence, reports, blueprints, and clippings regarding the American Dirigible Company while Jordan was President. Materials date between 1938 and 1955.
Series 2 Box 2 John L. Jordan Documents. The files in this series contain materials related to Jordan's earlier career and include correspondence, blueprints, and reports. The materials in this series are from the 1930s.

Detailed Description: Box and Folder Listing

Series 1 ‒ John L. Jordan American Dirigible Company Documents

Box 1 FF 1 Correspondence from September 16, 1938 to June 3, 1939 regarding postage stamp machines invented by William F. Moriarty (Moriarty Inventions, Inc.)
Box 1 FF 2 Business correspondence from November 15, 1938 to January 30, 1941 Melvin D. Hildreth and Robert A. Nordblom.
Box 1 FF 3 Business correspondence from August 20, 1946 to April 6, 1949 William Alard Mooring (Alard Moorings Corporation).
Box 1 FF 4 Business correspondence from September 29, 1947 to December 30, 1947 Noah Dietrich, Executive Vice President to Hughes Tool Company.
Box 1 FF 5 Correspondence from June 27, 1950 to September 15, 1955 retired Navy Commander Captain Garland Fulton, Jordanís closest associate and supporter.
Box 1 FF 6 Business correspondence from August 8, 1951 to October 8, 1952 Carl Vinson, Department of Navy.
Box 1 FF 7 Correspondence from February 25, 1952 to February 1, 1954 Ira A. Campbell.
Box 1 FF 8 Correspondence from May 12, 1954 to September 27, 1955 Richard W. Hawkins
Box 1 FF 10 Telegrams correspondences from June 16, 1936 to April 16, 1947
Box 1 FF 11 Technical reports from March 14, 1935 by Alexander Klemin, Professor of Aeronautical Engineering, Daniel Guggenheim School of Aeronautics.
Box 1 FF 12 Blueprints from September 24, 1952 on dirigibles.
Box 1 FF 13 News clippings containing brochures and newspapers relating to dirigibles.
Box 1 FF 14 Financial reports on estimated operating costs and expenses to operate three 950 feet dirigibles. Survey on Current Business booklet, May 1951.

Series 2 ‒ John L. Jordan Documents

Box 2 FF 1 Business correspondences of McKim, Mead & White Architectural firm for which Jordan worked, May 20, 1936 to October 29, 1937. Letters include proposals to build Union Passenger Station from 57th Street, New York, across to New Jersey.
Box 2 FF 2 Miscellaneous -- letter from Wendell.
Box 2 FF 3 Blueprints from January 29, 1938 to February 1, 1938, with map layouts of the Village of Greenport, with proposal to build a sewage disposal plant on part of property.
Box 2 FF 4 Miscellaneous -- Eye shade patent invented by Captain Garland Fulton.
Box 2 FF 5 Photograph of wedding.
Box 2 FF 6 Financial reports containing Jordanís individual income tax, health insurance letters from Old American Insurance Company, including a will made out on January 13, 1923, from Jordanís father to him.