University of Akron receives large airship materials collection

Source: Crain’s Cleveland Business –

By Rachel Abbey McCafferty

Akron will soon be home to a large collection documenting an industry the city has played a critical part in developing: airships, like the famous Goodyear blimps.

The University of Akron Archival Services is receiving a “significant collection of historic airship materials” from donor Alan “AirshipAl” Gross, according to a news release. The release refers to Gross as an “airship aficionado” and notes that the collection includes about 100 boxes of rare materials related to the “history and development of the Goodyear blimps, but also other airships significant in the history of lighter-than-air flight.” Gross is currently an airship consultant in Flushing, N.Y.

A selection of items from the Alan “AirshipAl” Gross Collection are seen here.
Photo by Courtesy of the University of Akron’s Archival Services

The collection includes everything from flight manuals to blimp pilot uniforms to inflatable toys. The release stated that the components “of most significance” in the collection are the film and video footage of different blimps and the work of the Airship International and Airship Enterprises Ltd.

“My life has been dedicated to collecting and preserving lighter-than-air history,” Gross said in the release. “I amassed a huge amount of unique material which I’ve enjoyed and learned from. I chose the University of Akron because it’s the best place to catalog, preserve, and utilize these items for a long time to come. This is my legacy!”

A portion of the collection has already arrived, with more expected this month. The University of Akron Archival Services, a division of University Libraries, features collections on topics of local importance like airships and the rubber industry. It’s located in the university’s Polsky Building.

Source: Crain’s Cleveland Business –

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