Charles Babb Collection

Charles Babb Collection

Charles Babb Collection

The Library and Archives at the San Diego Air & Space Museum recently received a very important historical collection. The Museum is the honored recipient of papers, patents, and photos from the estate of Charles H Babb, a man who played a very significant role in the history of Southern California Aviation.

Charles Harding Babb was born in Eugene, Oregon in 1899 and went on to study at the University of Oregon. Though injured as a youth in a hunting accident that took his right forearm, in 1919 Babb learned to fly in Venice, California, receiving FAI pilot certificate number 5074 and expert aviator certificate 302. However, it would not be as a pilot that Babb would leave his mark in aviation. In the 1920s, Charlie certified pilots (he issued Amelia Earhart her first license), and while N.A.A. Governor from 1920 to 1928, he was actively involved in organizing air races.

From 1928 until 1952, Charles Babb operated The Babb Company, selling new and used aircraft, as well as aircraft parts. His company had a reputation for knowledge, quality, and service; the Babb Company became known as the world's largest international aircraft brokerage. It was in this capacity that Charlie met and befriended some of the most influential aviation greats of the period. His peers included Donald Douglas, Jimmy Doolittle, Reuben Fleet, Wiley Post, Jackie Cochran, and Howard Hughes.

In addition to running the Babb Co, Charlie also was a founding member and, in 1951, voted president of the Conquistadores del Cielo, an exclusive aviation association. In 1940, Babb was granted the seminal patent on an aircraft cargo fuselage design which allowed for easy front loading nose access. The Babb Co. was selected in 1951 as the exclusive North American distributor for De Havilland's "Beaver" aircraft. Babb passed away unexpectedly in 1952.

The Museum's collection includes original correspondences of Babb, the original prototype, original blueprints/illustrations and one of kind photos, many signed by some of Charlie's famous friends.


Link to Descriptive Finding Guide.

rounded bottom