Stanley Yale Beach papers
Scope and Contents
The papers primarily contain correspondence between Stanley Yale Beach and his family, friends, and colleagues in the aeronautical and engineering fields. The bulk of the collection is his correspondence with engineers and manufacturers, in particular those in Germany, as well as with his friend the poet Harry Arthur Powell. A small group of files reveal Beach's investigation into the missing French aviators Charles Nungesser and François Coli. Family correspondence largely deals with Beach's chaotic personal life and finances, and a group of legal and financial files serve as well to document that aspect of his life. Also present is a group of early aviation and engineering photographs, and ephemera related to Beach's personal and professional interests.
- 1911 - 1948
- Majority of material found within 1917 - 1933
Language of Materials
In English, German, and French.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
The Stanley Yale Beach Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchased from William Reese Company (Swann Galleries sale, 2010 March 18, lot 43) on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2010.
Organized into three series: I. General Correspondence and Photographs, 1911-1948. II. Family Correspondence and Personal Papers, 1915-1933. III. Other Papers, 1924-1935.
5.42 Linear Feet (14 boxes)
The papers primarily contain correspondence between Stanley Yale Beach and his family, friends, and colleagues in the aeronautical and engineering fields. The bulk of the collection is his correspondence with engineers and manufacturers, in particular those in Germany, as well as with his friend, poet Harry Arthur Powell. A small group of files reveal Beach's investigation into the missing French aviators Charles Nungesser and François Coli, and his relationship with the New York clairvoyant Mrs. Almira Gaylord Beach, who practiced as Vesta la Viesta. Family correspondence largely deals with Beach's chaotic personal life and finances, and a group of legal and financial files serve as well to document that aspect of his life. Also present is a group of early aviation and engineering photographs, some including American Brigadier General William Mitchell, and ephemera related to Beach's personal and professional interests.
Stanley Yale Beach (1877-1955)
Stanley Yale Beach, an American inventor, descended from a prominent family of noted inventors, engineers, and publishers in New York and Connecticut. His great-grandfather was Moses Yale Beach (1800-1868), an inventor, publisher of the New York Sun, and founder of the Associated Press. His grandfather was Alfred Ely Beach (1826-1896), for fifty years the editor and publisher of the journal Scientific American, though best remembered for two of his inventions, a Braille typewriter for the blind and the Beach Pneumatic Railway, the first subterranean transit system in New York City. His father was Frederick Converse Beach (1848-1918), an 1868 graduate of the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University, a New York patent attorney, photographer, founding editor of the journal American Amateur Photographer, publisher and editor of Scientific American, and editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia Americana.
Stanley Yale Beach was born on July 9, 1877, in Stratford, Connecticut, to Frederick and Margaret Gilbert Beach. Like his father, he attended the Sheffield Scientific School, graduating in 1898, and afterward developed a lifetime interest in aeronautics, engineering, and inventing. In 1897 Beach eloped with Helen Birdseye Curtis, a student at Wellesley College and a resident of Stratford, where the couple settled and raised their children Frederick, Alfred, and Margaret. Even though he had a career as first "Automobile Editor" and then "Aeronautic Editor" of Scientific American, Beach appears to have been primarily supported by income from a trust set up by his father in 1914, and by checks received periodically from his mother. During the week Beach operated out of the Beach Building at 125 East 23rd Street in New York City, and from there ran various entrepreneurial enterprises such as the Beach Engineering Company, the Beach Laboratories, the Scientific Aeroplane Company, and associations including the Aero Science Club. Also during the week and in New York, Beach maintained an apartment and a secret second family: his paramour Marie Danner, also known as Caroline Watson, and their daughter Winifred, also known as Marguerite. Helen Beach was aware of her husband's infidelity from Winifred's birth in 1908, but refused his request to grant him a divorce so that he might marry Marie and allow Winifred to be legally recognized in the Beach family inheritance his other children would receive. His wife, sister, son, and other family members collaborated to suspend Beach's trust payments when the affair became public in 1925, and when Beach subsequently took them to court, the proceedings were covered in the New York newspapers with headlines such as "Stirs Skeleton of Blue Bloods." Stanley and Helen Beach were divorced in 1928 and he married Marie Danner on June 14 of that year.
Although he fell out with most of the members of his family over his finances and life choices, Beach maintained a good relationship with his wealthy aunt, Jennie Beach Gasper, who was one of his trustees. He was also a favorite of his grandmother, Harriet Holbrook Beach, who had developed a great interest in Spiritualism. Within a year of her husband Alfred's death Harriet Beach married a medium, Henry Richardson Rogers, in Alexandria, Egypt, and soon after her two children, upon finding that their mother had signed their late father's significant fortune over to Rogers, began legal proceedings to declare her mentally incompetent; they succeeded, and the marriage was annulled in May 1899. A quarter-century later, Stanley Yale Beach also took an interest in Spiritualism and formed a friendship with the blind New York clairvoyant Vesta la Viesta, known for her detailed public presentations on her journeys to Mars and Venus. He appears to have worked as a secretary to her, and used the verso of her letterhead to make carbon copies of his outgoing correspondence.
Stanley Yale Beach died in New City, New York, on July 13, 1955.
Beach Family Tree
Principal correspondents are underlined.
Moses Yale Beach (1800-1868) m. Nancy Day
- -1 Alfred Ely Beach (1826-1896) m. 1847 Harriet Eliza Holbrook (1828-1905)
- -- -- 2 Frederick Converse Beach (1848-1918) m. 1875 Margaret Allen Gilbert (1848-1932)
- -- -- -- 3Stanley Yale Beach (1877-1955) m. 1897-1928 Helen Birdseye Curtis (1878-1947)
- -- -- -- -- - 4Frederick Converse Beach (1898-1940) m. 1934 Matilda Florence Sparling (1911-1941)
- -- -- -- -- - 4 Alfred Birdseye Beach (1899-1985) m. ca. 1929 Alice Elizabeth Perkins (1901-1978)
- -- -- -- -- - 4 Margaret Stanley Beach (1901-1983) m. 1933 Elwyn Moore Deakins (1905-1986)
- -- -- -- - m. 2nd 1928 Marie Danner [also known as Caroline Watson] (1888-1961)
- -- -- -- -- - 4 Winifred [also known as Marguerite] (1908-2002) m. 1933 Leonard Martin
- -- -- -- 3 Alfred Gilbert Beach (1879-1890)
- -- -- -- 3 Ethel Holbrook Beach (1886-1937) m. 1909 James Albert Wales (1879-1970)
- -- -- -- -- - 4 James A. Wales Jr. (1913-1985)
- -- -- -- -- - 4 Richard B. Wales (1917-2009)
- -- -- -- -- - 4 Nancy Holbrook Wales (b. 1927) m. 1947 Gordon Douglas Swaffield (1919-2003)
- -- -- 2Jennie Holbrook Beach [called "Tante"] (1850-1932) m. 1896 Marquis Cossitt Gasper (d. 1908)
Collection are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.
When the papers were received by the library, certain materials (particularly photographs, newspaper clippings, and letters from certain correspondents) had been separated out and put in files to advertise their prominence in the collection; most of the papers were folded and in their original envelopes. The collection was arranged and described in 2012.
- Aero Science Club
- Aeronautical engineers -- Germany
- Aeronautical engineers -- United States
- Aeronautical engineers -- United States -- 20th Century
- Aeronautics -- Germany
- Aeronautics -- United States
- Airplanes -- Germany
- Airplanes -- United States
- Airships -- United States
- Basenach, Nikolaus
- Beach Engineering Company
- Beach, Almira Gaylord
- Beach, Frederick Converse, 1898-1941
- Beach, Margaret Gilbert, 1848-1932
- Beach, Stanley Yale
- Clairvoyance -- United States
- Clairvoyants -- United States
- Clairvoyants -- United States -- 20th Century
- Coli, François, 1881-1927
- Gasper, Jennie Holbrook, -1932
- Gregory, Elizabeth Hiatt, 1872-1955
- Inventors -- United States
- Inventors -- United States -- 20th Century
- Meyer, C. W. Erich
- Mitchell, William, 1879-1936
- Nungesser, Charles, 1892-1927
- Photographs -- Germany -- 20th Century
- Photographs -- United States -- 20th Century
- Polglase, Julyan
- Powell, H. Arthur (Harry Arthur), 1877-
- Psychic ability -- United States
- Psychic readings -- United States
- Schoop, M. U.
- Stevens, A. Leo (Albert Leo), 1877-1944
- Vincent, Ernest Peter
- Wright, Frank C.
- Guide to the Stanley Yale Beach Papers
- by Sandra Markham
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
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