Stringer, Baumwald, Morris, Kusrow, Quarles…name dropping!

Yes, I am name dropping. Because I am extremely proud to spend time with these five gentlemen within the span of one day! It starts out with breakfast in Atlanta with David Stringer, aviation historian, non-sked aficionado, and author of several dozen airline history articles.

David Stringer suggests a book.

Last year David and I first meet – though momentarily – in Washington D.C. We are both speakers at the Airliners 2018 International Convention. Afterwards, we email. His interest in the Veterans Air unfolding history encourages me.

At breakfast this June 20th, David suggests, again, I write a book. My toes curl, again, at the idea. (Gaye Lyn grimaces.) At my reluctance, he suggests an easier starting point. He suggests to get into the swing of writing pieces longer than website posts. And he invites me to submit an article to Airways Magazine where he is History Editor.

(Draft submitted 8/10. Now gathering images and footnoting my sources. 8/28/19)


Like Topsy, the day in Atlanta grows.

No coincidence, David is an exhibitor at the Airliners International 2019 Convention in the Delta Flight Museum promoting his book, America’s Local Service Airlines. So I pop in there after breakfast.

I know of no other small non-sked that has been as thoroughly researched as Veterans Air.

David Stringer

Happy to know each other, David Stringer and Gaye Lyn smile big standing together in the Delta Flight Museum exhibit hall.
David Stringer and Gaye Lyn with Delta 767 engine in background.
Stanley Baumwald and Gaye Lyn with delighted smiles stand with a 767 towering behind them in the Delta Flight Museum.
Stanley Baumwald and Gaye Lyn. (More about The Spirit of Delta later.)

Stan Baumwald, collector of Insignia…

Walking down an aisle, I intuit correctly the identity of Stanley Baumwald. We first communicate in 2015 but never meet. Today fun exchanges and laughter unfold. What a treat! As collector of Flight Crew, Junior Crew and Northwest crew insignia, Stan’s formidable acquisitions also hold a Veterans Air Line Captain wings. (These wings are the first time I’ll see this VAL design. I still often wonder…who was in charge of promotion and creation of such items for Veterans Air? To my mind, it’s extremely well done!)

Handosme Veterans Air Line Captain Insignia worn on their uniform.
Captain Wings, Veterans Air Line insignia from Stan Baumwald’s collection.

Coast to coast service and Airtours still evade 2nd-source proof

In June 2015 is when I first read the copy on Stan’s website regarding Veterans Air. Back then, I know very little, and I am intrigued at reference to operating (passenger service) coast to coast and airtours to Greece and Central America. Now in 2019 when I mention it to Stan in Atlanta, he invites me to review, and if needed, to edit the copy.

I still search for CAB or log-book or any solid evidence that Veterans Air’s “intent” to fly passengers coast to coast actually materialized. Additionally, I remain without second-source confirmation on the airtours subject. So I delete the references, but since I would be delighted to prove (or disprove) this information, I tell Stan “…I expect and actually welcome your challenge to my deletions.” But he responds he will submit the revised copy as is to his editor.

Treasure hunt gifts…from gifted, gifted treasure hunters.

Next I renew my friendships with Daniel Kusrow, Charles Quarles and Craig Morris. A bit like old-home week with warm welcomes from each of them, I enjoy myself so much I neglect to get our pictures together!!!!

Daniel Kusrow gifts me in Atlanta with a pristine Veterans Air Line baggage label that he chased down in the U.K. !!

Baggage Label for Veterans Air Line. Striking art deco wings in red extended outside a solid blue circle with company name in white. So pristine it looks right off the printing press.
Pristine. Found in the U.K. A gift from Daniel Kusrow.

Early on, Daniel’s world was collecting vintage airline posters. The story how and why he transitioned to airline luggage labels is nicely captured in a 2007 “ephemera” blog interview with Daniel Kusrow.

Unrelated and totally intriguing to me are 1920-1923 photos on The Aeromarine Website which Daniel inspired and “populated” as an outgrowth of another project. No, that’s not a typo…1920 thru 1923! Don’t miss this! Here’s a tease – taken of a Aeromarine Model 75 flying boat arriving in Atlantic City, N.J., in the summer of 1920 from TimeTableImages.

Dressed in dark sport coat, white slacks and straw hat a passenger looks like he's walking a tightrope as he disembarks from his airboat flight.
“You had to have a good sense of balance to be a passenger of Aeromarine Sightseeing and Navigation Company!” says the caption. PHOTO CREDIT: TimeTableImages website.

Charles Quarles also gifted me with a baggage label back in 2016 within weeks of our first contact when he learns I’d never seen one in person. Nor had I seen additional Veterans Air Line insignia (companions to Stan Baumwald’s Captain Wings). Three of four in the photo from his collection sport a design only seen on the insignia – stylized VAL initials. HANDSOME!!!

Four Veterans Air Line insignia, each a different design, three carrying stylized initials VAL in the center. PHOTO CREDIT: Website of Charles Quarles.
From the collection of Charles Quarles.

The result of Charles’ aviation passion since childhood is likely the largest private collections of airline artifacts anywhere in the world! Click and be guided to the quickest “partial” overview of Charles Quarles treasures.

Looking very real, four mannequins dressed as 1940's flight attendants in sky blue and dark navy uniforms with crisp white blouses. Photo from Charles Quarles collection.
Classy mannequins wear 1947 and 1946 United and American Air Lines uniforms. PHOTO CREDIT: Website of Charles Quarles Collection.

Craig Morris and I go back to June 2015 – just two months after I start Veterans Air research. Last year after the Airliners International 2018 Convention, Craig digitally shares four treasures, the most dramatic of which raises all kinds of questions. Is it our Veterans’ Airlilne? Is the VAL style akin to the VAL on the insignia? If it is our blotter, it demonstrates the company’s spelling inconsistency of Airline or Air Line which carried over to the aircraft livery. (Topic for another time.)

Veterans Airline ink blotter. Deep blue background with white text and a totally unfamiliar logo, angular, windswept VAL.
Ink blotter with totally unfamiliar, angular, dramatic logo design. From the collection of Craig Morris.

This year I invite myself to sit with Craig at his space to learn about the “art” of his treasure hunts. His persnickety criteria surface as he talks about acquiring specific rare items…none of which I photograph!!! So (without permission!!) I’ve selected this 1937 American Airlines in Boston post card from thousands of items in his collection …’cause it’s cool…and it’s a DC-3.

DC-3 on the ramp in 1937 or 1938 in Boston. Featured on a collectable post card in black & white.
A scarce East Boston tarmac view of 1937-38 American Airlines post card. PHOTO SOURCE: Craig Morris aviation collection website.

Stringer, Baumwald, Morris, Kusrow, Quarles. Now you understand my pride in their acquaintances and what makes them “treasure hunters.” I salute their passion.

The Spirit of Delta, a 767-200 jetliner stretches out nose to tail inside the "meeting room" hangar of the Delta Flight Museum.
767-200 Series, The Spirit of Delta, oversees the 2019 Airliners International Atlanta Convention. Some “meeting room!!”

2 Comments
  1. Well, we know for sure where there are some Stock Certificates!!! You Dad’s (of which I now have one) and Robert Chambers’ family. I’m proud of the handsome designs of the promotional items I have seen. Good “stuff.”

  2. Wow – I wonder how much original Veterans Air “stuff” exists! Luggage tags, pilot wings, advertisements, stock certificates…

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