The WINGED GOSPEL : AMERICA'S ROMANCE WITH AVIATION, 1900 - 1950
Joseph J. " Joe " Corn ( May 12th, 1938 ) was born in New York City ( New York, United States ). As a child during the Second World War, he was already fascinated by aeroplanes. Joe started building models at the age of 5 or 6 ( he still continue today ).
In 1949, at the age of 11, he had his first flight, taken up by the father of a fellow Cub Scout who was a pilot. The aeroplane was a Stinson Voyager, a popular four - seater, introduced before Pearl Harbor ( December 7th, 1941 ) but which sold well after the war. About this amazing event, Joe said, and I quote :
" I was so impressed with the plane, especially its cozy upholstered cabin - better than my family's car. I was convinced I'd become a pilot when I grew up and own my own plane. "
He also mentioned that he would even own an helicopter instead :
" ..., a dream fueled by an issue of Popular Mechanics from Feb. 1951, when I was 12 years old. It showed on its cover a picture of a man, dressed for business, pushing a tiny yellow helicopter into the garage of his suburban home. The story inside had the headline : ' Here comes your helicopter coupe ', which claimed such small helicopters would be on the market as soon as the Korean War was over. I thought, this is for me ; I cant' wait. "
In 1956, Joe attended Bates College, a private liberal arts college in Lewiston ( Maine, United States ), where he earned his B.A. ( Bachelor of Arts ) in 1960. The same year, he continued his education at the New York University School of Law ( Greenwich Village, Lower Manhattan, New York City ), where he obtained his L.L.B. ( Legum Baccalaureus : Bachelor of Laws Degree ), as well as his M.A. ( Master of Arts ) in 1963.
Joe never served in the military but pursued his interest in flight and other technologies as a historian. Always interested in History, he got a job as a History teacher after graduation, in order to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War ( 1955 - 1975 ). He ended up loving it and eventually went to the University of California ( Department of History, Berkeley ) in 1969, from where he received his Ph.D. ( Philosophiæ doctor : Doctor of Philosophy ) in 1977.
Joe then took up residence in California. He taught History at Berkeley, San Francisco State University, and then, from 1980 to 2006, at Stanford University.
In the early 2000s, in addition to his job as a teacher, Joe was given the opportunity to work and conduct some research in some prestigious institutions across the United States :
- Consultant on aeronautics exhibit commemorating the Centennial of Flight, Henry Ford Museum ( Dearborn, Detroit, Michigan ), from 2001 to 2002.
- Board member, Museum of American Heritage ( Palo Alto, California ), from 2005 to 2006.
- NEH Grant consultant ( National Endowment for the Humanities ), Experimental Aircraft Association Museum ( Oshkosh, Wisconsin ), from 2005 to 2006.
- Senior Smithsonian Fellow, National Museum of American History ( Washington, D.C. ), from 2006 to 2007.
- Advisory Board, Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for Study of Invention and Innovation ( Washington, D.C. ), from 2006 to 2008.
Joe retired from Stanford University in 2007.
Beside the book presented to you here, Joe has authored and co / authored several publications, such as Yesterday's Tomorrows : Past Visions of the American Future ( with Brian Horrigan, 1984 ), Imagining Tomorrow : History, Technology, and the American Future ( 1986 ), Work and Vehicles : A Comment and Note ( The Car and the City, 25 - 34, 1992 ), Object Lessons / Object Myths : What Historians of Technology Learn from Things ( Learning from Things, 35 - 54, 1996 ), Into the Blue : American Writing on Aviation and Spaceflight ( 2011 ).
Coming back to his dream to own his own aeroplane or helicopter, Joe said, and I quote :
" Well, I'm now in my eighties and still waiting. I never became a pilot, let alone owned a plane or helicopter. But still am excited by flight. "
( sources : Joseph J. Corn, web.stanford.edu, invention.si.edu, americanhistory.si.edu, www.neh.gov, Wikipedia )
I would like, from the bottom of my heart, to thank Mister Joseph J. Corn for his touching reply, his trust, his kindness and his precious help in sharing documents to prepare his late father's short biography. Without his honesty and his generosity, this would not have been possible at all. I am deeply grateful to him.