The Flying Golfer

Flying Golfer image

Emily Gibson with you again, celebrating Spring with the story of “The Flying Golfer”.

Sorting through the Pan Am records the other day, I came across a folder containing correspondence between Pan Am Regional Director of Public Relations, Mike Clark and “The Flying Golfer”.

It is 1982, and Mike Clark has been alerted by a junior Pan Am officer to a story about a lifetime Clipper Club member nicknamed “The Flying Golfer.” The Flying Golfer is traveling to the top 50 golf courses in the world, averaging one course every 20 days, and has written to Pan Am to request a seating chart to help plan his trip and has included with his correspondence an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer about himself and his adventure, which is how the junior officer came to find out about him.

Not one to miss an opportunity to promote Pan Am, Mike Clark made a couple of phone calls, located The Flying Golfer in Hong Kong, and voila, a photographer was snapping shots of him for the next Pan Am newsletter and “elsewhere”[1].

But there were other “Flying Golfers” at Pan Am; specifically, Pan Am’s founder, Juan Trippe, and John B. Gates.

John B Gates, Yale ‘31, Yale Law ‘34, was an executive with the largest manufacturer of nuts and bolts in the world when he met Juan Trippe in 1948 on a golf course in Greenwich, Connecticut.

In the book An American Saga: Juan Trippe and His Pan Am Empire, author Robert Daley describes Trippe as a fun golfing partner. “Before, during and after the game he laughed a lot. He seemed entirely lighthearted.” And he was an avid golfer. According to Daley, there were times when his plane would land Gates and their wives at Bermuda or Hobe Sound at four-thirty in the afternoon, and “Trippe would hurry off the plane saying, ‘I think we can squeeze in eighteen holes before we have to meet the girls for dinner’”[2].

Trippe asked Gates to join Pan Am as Vice President of Finance, and Gates accepted. However, Gates soon discovered that, strangely enough, no such position existed. So, for a time, he just hung around the Pan Am building.

Then, according to Daley, one day around 1956, Trippe summoned Gates to his office and announced to him that: “The jets are going to shrink the world by half. We are going to see the day when an overseas flight is just like getting on a train for Washington. No advance booking. No reservations. People will just go out to the airport and get on a plane to Paris or Istanbul.” Trippe saw jet airplanes opening up new routes to cities formerly unvisited by tourists and where no decent hotels existed… and that’s where he wanted his golfing partner’s help.

In 1959, Gates became Chairman of the Board of Pan Am’s wholly owned subsidiary, Inter-Continental Hotels Corporation. Formed in 1946, it was a development-management corporation committed to providing the international traveler with “the same high standards of hotel operation and service in foreign countries that have established the reputation of U.S. hotels as the best in the world”[3]. Trippe’s vision was for accommodation with what he considered to be basic comforts: cleanliness, a comfortable bed, reliable hot water, a private bathroom, laundry and valet services, good food, telephone and wire services in the guests own language, and all at an affordable price[4].

Although Pan Am sold the Inter-Continental Hotels Corporation in 1981, the Pan American World Airways records still contain 300 folders of information about it, spanning the years 1942 to 1988, and covering over 50 countries on all six continents, from Afghanistan to Jamaica to Vietnam.

As an archivist as well as your own dispatcher, my goal is to help researchers find relevant information, and cross-references help me do that. The intimate, mundane, and unique correspondence between Pan Am and “The Flying Golfer” provides an unexpected, if esoteric, cross-reference from the internal mechanisms of Pan Am’s massive publicity machine to the subtle maneuverings of the top golfer himself. So, happy Spring, happy golfing, and happy researching!

Works Cited
[1] Records of the Regional Director Mike Clark, Pan American World Airways, Inc. records, Accession 1, Box 138, Folder 57
[2] Robert Daley, An American Saga: Juan Trippe and His Pan Am Empire, p. 425-427
[3] “For Your Information… Intercontinental Hotels Corporation”, 1948, Pan American World Airways, Inc. records, Accession 1, Box 63, Folder 8
[4] “Pan Am and Intercontinental”, brochure, retrieved from the Pan Am Historical Foundation Website on March 26, 2014

Béatrice Coron Sculpts Stories with Paper and Passion

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

Artist Béatrice Coron discussed her work at University of Miami Libraries Special Collections. The pictured fold-out design will be permanently housed in the Artists' Book Collection.

Artist Béatrice Coron discussed her work at University of Miami Libraries Special Collections. The pictured fold-out design will be permanently housed in the Artists’ Book Collection.

Artist Béatrice Coron, whose cut-paper silhouettes are featured nationally in major museums and airports, inside subway trains, and even on the fashion catwalk, discussed her work at University of Miami Libraries Special Collections, where some of her celebrated literary collaborations are housed.

Coron, who gave a TED Talk in 2011 about creativity, laughingly admitted at the March 11 event, “Cross Cutting Collaborations,” that she was first attracted to the ancient art of paper-cutting thirty years ago because “paper is cheap, and paint is messy.”

She uses an X-Acto knife to cut designs on paper or Tyvek, a process she describes as drawing with the mind of a sculptor. “I remove pieces for people to see what I see,” she said. Her vision emerges when the design is placed on a contrasting background.

Several of Coron’s whimsical landscapes were on display at Special Collections during the event. Special Collections head Cristina Favretto compares the experience of viewing Coron’s work to the Alfred Hitchcock film Rear Window, featuring an immobilized Jimmy Stewart who spends days with his head on a pillow staring into other people’s apartments, slowly gaining clues about their lives. “You see all sorts of interesting stories,” she said. “And one by one, little by little, you begin figuring those stories out.”


Béatrice Coron (left), Special Collections Head Cristina Favretto (center), and Manuscripts Librarian Beatrice Skokan (right).

Coron, a native of France, shared with the Special Collections audience that her own life is full of unique stories. She has drifted around the world to live in places like Egypt, China, and Mexico, where she experienced life through a series of odd jobs. She worked as a shepherdess, factory worker, cleaning lady, and tour guide before deciding at age forty to reinvent herself as an artist.

A recurring image among Coron’s landscapes is that of a mermaid, which she explained serves as a metaphor about identity and transformation. “We never know where we are going to land,” Coron said. “And we don’t know whether we will be equipped for that land.”

Coron explained that each project takes months of preparation, reading dictionaries and philosophy books, watching movies, and observing the work of other artists. She revealed that one of her preferred challenges is collaborating with poets and artists for projects such as artists’ books, in which her silhouettes engage with other mediums.

At the event, Coron presented a recent collaboration with poet Tiffany Osedra Miller and painter Laura James, a colorful fold-out book (one of six created), that will join other works preserved in the Artists’ Book Collection at Special Collections. The acquisition provides a unique opportunity to access Coron’s work—a customized viewing experience. “When you come to Special Collections, you can take your time holding rare materials, and turning their pages,” Favretto said. “These materials are meant to be experienced up close.”


“All Around Town” designed from cut-paper by artist Béatrice Coron. The print is displayed throughout the New York City subway system.

Researching Pan Am with Civil Aeronautics Board Route Records

Emily Gibson with you again, dispatching from the Pan Am Records headquarters with good news for anyone interested in Pan Am’s routes and the legislative process Pan Am had to go through to establish them. The Civil Aeronautics Board (or C.A.B.) was an independent federal agency that was responsible for the economic regulation of America’s airlines between 1940 and 1985. Whenever Pan Am wanted to make a change to its route structure, the C.A.B. was the agency from whom they had to seek approval. There are about 1,200 folders in the Pan Am records documenting this relationship. Many of you may be aware of Robert Daley’s book An American Saga: Juan Trippe and his Pan Am Empire; Daley used these records to help him write this book.

All 1,200 Pan Am-Civil Aeronautics Board route records contained in the Pan American World Airways records have been identified and placed together under the series heading “Legislation and Regulation – Civil Aeronautics Board – Routes.” They span the years 1938 to 1987 and contain court dockets, applications, exhibits (including “Community of Interest” analyses, which are rich sources of information about the destinations to which Pan Am flew or sought to fly), orders, certificates, testimonies, and correspondence.

You may be wondering how one goes about searching 1,200 folders (that’s 60 file boxes!). We have made it easy for you by recording docket numbers for every folder thereby making them keyword searchable. So, for example, if you are interested in trans-Pacific flight, a keyword search for “Docket#5031”, which concerns the trans-Pacific route proceeding, will retrieve every folder in the collection containing this docket. Folder headings and date spans also provide a rich source of keyword searchable information.

If you have any questions about the collection, please feel free to contact your friendly dispatcher, Emily Gibson, at

Oh, by the way, those crazy polar bear cubs, they landed in the Brooklyn Zoo, the New York Zoo and the Cleveland Zoo.

Save the Date:UM Special Collections Lunch Hour Lecture – by Felipe F. Cruz, Abrams-Banning Pan Am Research Grant Recipient, 09.19.2013

Promotional Illustration for Pan Am in Brazil

The University of Miami Libraries Special Collections presents a talk by 2012 Dave Abrams and Gene Banning Pan Am Research Grant Recipient Felipe F. Cruz as the first of its Lunch Hour Lecture Series.

Cruz, a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at the University of Texas-Austin, will discuss his research and use of the Collection’s Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records to investigate three intertwining analytical threads on the history of aviation in Brazil.  His talk will include a history of the conquest and impact of the Brazilian airspace, the rise and of aviation technology and meteorology in Brazil, and an analysis of the development and cross-country influence of a vibrant aviation culture.

Those with interests in the history of aviation, Brazilian studies and history, international relations, and geography are encouraged to attend this multidisciplinary presentation. Refreshments will be provided.  Attendees are also welcome to bring their own lunch for this event.

Thursday, September 19, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Special Collections Reading Room (8th Floor of the Richter Library)

UM Libraries, Otto G. Richter Library 1300 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, Florida 33124-0320

The talk is free and open to the public.

For more information or to RSVP please call 305-284-3247 or e-mail

Please feel free to share this announcement!

Pan Am Collection – Under Construction

The Pan American World Airways, Inc. records are undergoing reprocessing thanks to a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). While we are keeping the collection open to you during reprocessing, we request your patience as it may take longer than usual for us to retrieve boxes. In order for us to retrieve boxes as quickly as possible, we ask that you indicate the folder numbers as well as the box numbers that you would like to see.

Thank You,

University of Miami Special Collections

Pan Am Dispatches!

This is Emily Gibson dispatching to you from the year 1938, the place Alaska, where Harold Gillam, a Pan Am pilot has rescued three polar bear cubs from the Arctic Ocean. Harold found the cubs floating on an ice cake when he was flying along the Arctic coast. The pups looked so plaintive and seemed so alone that he parked his flying boat in the frigid water, coaxed them aboard and brought them home. The three cubs are currently residing in the Gillam household and, his wife tells us, tearing up their flower garden and terrorizing the children. Pan Am is looking for a new home for the rambunctious fur balls, at the explicit request of Mrs. Gillam. So far they’ve identified ninety takers, ranging from a college dormitory to the Brooklyn Zoo. Stay tuned to find out where this strange cargo will land.

Moving forward to the year 2013, the Pan Am Records Headquarters has been buzzing with activity. Beatrice Skokan, Manuscripts Librarian, gave a presentation on Pan Am and the Jet Age at the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association annual conference held in Washington, D.C., in March. Marie Hanewinckel, Student Assistant Extraordinaire, has almost finished separating in-house newsletters and annual reports for itemized cataloging. Brooke Cathey, Student Assistant and Master of Printed Materials, is rapidly sorting Pan Am brochures, timetables, directories and press kits. Cory Czajkowski, Project Assistant and Audiovisual and Graphic Material Wrangler, is in the process of corralling all of the Audiovisual and Graphic Materials in the collection. Finally, Emily Gibson, your own reporter and Series Sculptor, has found homes for all 27,000 folders in the Pan American World Airways, Inc. records collection, with, I am happy to report, no damage to flower gardens and no terrorized children.







Pan Am Dispatches!

This is Emily Gibson reporting from the University of Miami, the location of the Pan American World Airways, Inc. records, on a two-year grant-funded assignment sponsored by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

“S-38, PAA refueling stop, Cozumel, island inside Carribean [sic] Sea” [circa 1930]. The eight-seater, 110 mph Sikorsky S-38 was one of Pan Am’s first aircrafts.

Did you know that planes that could take off and land on water, like Pan Am’s first Clippers, could be built larger than early land planes because they did not need the heavy undercarriage required for landing on hard ground? Pan Am did not order their planes “off the shelf,” but took an active part in the development of their planes to match the future needs of the company (Pan American Airways 40th Anniversary booklet, 1967). Stay tuned as we continue processing the records of Pan American World Airways, Inc.