Imperial Airways office & plane
Title from guide card.
Ceremony at Kalendia Aerodrome near Ramallah to christen a de Havilland "Hercules" airliner of the Imperial Airways as the "City of Jerusalem." British High Commissioner Lord Plumer pulling off the cover of nameplate. (Source: tonyhalley09 account in Flickr and Flight Magazine, March 18, 1927.)
Gift; Episcopal Home; 1978.
The G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection is a source of historical images of the Middle East. The majority of the images depict Palestine (present-day Israel and the West Bank) from 1898 to 1946. Most of the Library of Congress collection consists of over 23,000 glass and film photographic negatives and transparencies created by the American Colony Photo Department and its successor firm, the Matson Photo Service. The American Colony Photo Department in Jerusalem was one of several photo services operating in the Middle East before 1900. Catering primarily to the tourist trade, the American Colony and its competitors photographed holy sites, often including costumed actors recreating Biblical scenes. The firm’s photographers were residents of Palestine with knowledge of the land and people that gave them an advantage and made their coverage intimate and comprehensive. They documented Middle East culture, history, and political events from before World War I through the collapse of Ottoman rule, the British Mandate period, World War II, and the emergence of the State of Israel. The Matson Collection also includes images of people and locations in present-day Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Turkey. Additionally, the firm produced photographs from an East African trip. The collection came to the Library of Congress between 1966 and 1981, through a series of gifts made by Eric Matson and his beneficiary, the Home for the Aged of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Los Angeles (now called the Kensington Episcopal Home).
Geoffrey de Havilland was born in Buckinghamshire. Upon graduating from engineering training, he pursued a career in automotive engineering working as an apprentice in engine manufacturer companies Willans & Robinson of Rugby and Motor Omnibus Construction Company Limited in Walthamstow. He designed his first aero engine and had the first prototype made by Iris Motor Company of Willesden. After his marriage in 1909, he focused on designing, building, and flying. In 1920 de Havilland formed de Havilland Aircraft Company Limited. The company was lucky to be approached by Alan Samuel Butler who wanted a new airplane built for him. After several years of financial struggle, in 1925, de Havilland's designed the Moth, which proved to be a success. Soon, and de Havilland Aircraft Company Limited went public. De Havilland introduced a series of small aircraft powered by de Havilland's own Gipsy engines and set many aviation records. His twin piston-engined DH 88 Comet racer became famous as the winner of the MacRobertson Air Race from England to Australia in 1934. During the Second World War, De Haviland Mosquito wooden construction avoided the use of strategic materials such as aluminum. His higher-performing Hornet fighter pioneered the use of metal-wood and metal-metal bonding techniques. After the Second World War de Havilland continued with advanced designs in both the military and civil aircraft but faced disasters. The experimental tailless jet-powered de Havilland DH 108 Swallow crashed in the Thames Estuary, killing Geoffrey de Havilland, Jr., son of the company's founder. The de Havilland Comet put into service in 1952 suffered high-profile crashes. DH 110 prototype during the 1952 Farnborough Airshow crashed and killed members of the public. The Comet 4, enabled the de Havilland airliner to return to the skies in 1958. By then the United States had its Boeing 707 jet and the Douglas DC-8, both of which were faster and more economical to operate. The company became defunct in 1963. De Havilland also entered the field of long-range missiles, developing the liquid-fuelled Blue Streak. It became the first stage of the Europa space launch vehicle, but the upper stages, built in France and Germany, repeatedly failed. In 1973, the Europa was canceled.