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George J. Frebert Collection on Delaware Aviation

1896-2001 bulk 1927-1957
 Collection
Accession: 2288

Abstract

George J. Frebert (1929-2002) was a pilot and aviation enthusiast. He authored the book Delaware Aviation History. The collection contains both materials used in the preparation of Delaware Aviation History and other items that Frebert collected dealing with Delaware aviation, aviators and airports. Much of the material was copied from historical repositories, but Frebert also collected original materals and photos from other early aviators.

Dates

  • 1896-2001
  • bulk 1927-1957

Creator

Extent

4 Linear Feet (5 boxes, 2 oversize)

Biographical Note

George J. Frebert (1929-2002) was a pilot and aviation enthusiast. Frebert, author of Delaware Aviation History, was born on August 15, 1929 in College Park, Maryland. His interest in airplanes began early in life, including the building and flying of model airplanes while a boy. He also washed airplanes in return for flying lessons and took his first solo flight on his sixteenth birthday.

Frebert served in the Air Force for four years during the Korean Conflict. On his return to civilian life, he settled in Dover, Delaware, and founded the Dover Litho Printing Company in 1957. He was active in local business organizations, served as president of the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce in 1968-1969, and was Small Business Man of the Year in 1986. As his business thrived, Frebert returned to personal flying, obtaining his private, commercial and multi-engine ratings at the Delaware Airpark. His interest in aviation history led him to restore four airplanes.

After retiring from the Dover Litho Printing Company in 1991, Frebert began research on Delaware Aviation History, which was published by his printing company in July 1998. The book covers Delaware aviation history from its beginnings to the end of the twentieth century. The book highlights the careers of Henry Belin du Pont (1898-1970), who founded Atlantic Aviation and welcomed Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974) on his visit to Wilmington in 1927, Richard Chicester du Pont (1911-1943) and All American Aviation, Inc., and particularly Giuseppe M. Bellanca (1886-1960), the only significant pioneer airplane designer and builder active in Delaware. Frebert died at his home in Smyrna, Delaware, on November 10, 2002.

Katherine E. Pusey (1905-1965), who reverted to her birth name after her 1934 divorce from Theodore William Canning (1905-1958), was the first woman aviator in Delaware and became the chief pilot for the flying delivery service of the Phillips Packing Company of Cambridge, Maryland. She suffered major injuries in a crash at Pocomoke City, Maryland, on June 20, 1934, and became a stenographer, but resumed flying as a member of the Civil Air Patrol during World War II.

Pusey's was employed as the chief pilot for the new flying service of the Phillips Packing Company of Cambridge, Maryland in from 1934 to 1935. This company’s product was Phillips Delicious Vegetable Soup. The Phillips Packing Company was the first in the vegetable harvesting and canning business to introduce a flying service. Colonel Albanus Phillips (1871-1949) was the Phillips Company president, S. Charles Walls (1914-1969) the Public Relations man, and Robert D. Turpin (1911-1976) the flying mechanic. Katrina (nickname Bunny) Canning owned her own plane and flew it for this service.

Scope and Content

The collection contains both materials used in the preparation of Delaware Aviation History and other items that Frebert collected dealing with Delaware aviation, aviators and airports. Much of the material was copied from historical repositories, but Frebert also collected original materals and photos from other early aviators.

The main focus is on Giuseppe Bellanca and his Bellanca Aircraft Corporation, the most significant figure in Delaware aviation, but the collection also contains documentation on the work of airline promoter Henry Belin du Pont and pilot Richard Chichester du Pont, including the latter's innovative but short-lived air-mail pick-up system for snagging mail sacks mounted on the ground.

Frebert also collected the personal scrapbooks and other memorabilia of Katrina Elizabeth Pusey, the first woman aviator in Delaware. These document her early work for a flying delivery service, her injuries in a 1934 crash that ended her flying career except for home front activities during World War II, and her bitter divorce from her first husband Theodore William Canning on grounds of adultery, along with the feats of other early woman aviators.

Access Restrictions

Some records closed for 25 years from date of creation.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Additional Description

Provenance

Gift of the Frebert family

Separated Material

George J. Frebert photograph collection on Delaware aviation (Accession 2011.297), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Iniatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
George J. Frebert Collection on Delaware Aviation
Status:
Author:
Marjorie McNinch
Date:
2006
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400