Bleriot Lamarre Collection Edit

Summary

Identifier
Mss. Coll. Lamarre

Dates

  • 1931-1986 (Creation)

Extents

  • 4 linear feet (Whole)

Subjects

Notes

  • Abstract

    This collection includes letters written by Bleriot Lamarre to Mildred Readnower during their courtship and his senior year at Miami University; letters written between the couple from March to June 1939; newspaper articles and manuscript items related to the Lamarres' involvement in the trial concerning Bennett E. Meyers' income tax evasion; diaries kept by Bleriot Lamarre from 1964 through 1975; and scrapbooks documenting Readnower's trip to the 20th biennial convention of Beta Sigma Omicron in Pasadena, California, July 1-4, 1931 and the Lamarres' activities in California, June-December 1939 and their trip back to Dayton in January 1940.

  • Language of Materials

    The records are in English

  • Biography of Bleriot Lamarre

    Bleriot Lamarre (January 14, 1912 - December 3, 1993) graduated from Miami University in 1934. While at Miami, he was a member of Gamma Phi, which was founded by the geology department to promote scientific development in geology. He also belonged to the national biological fraternity Phi Sigma, the professional business fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi. After graduating from Miami, Lamarre worked for the Delco brake division of General Motors in Dayton, Ohio for approximately six months. Later, he worked for the Goodyear Service Company until January 1939; in March 1939, he went to California to work for Douglas Aircraft. In January 1940, he returned to Dayton to work for Aviation Electric Company; later in his career, he worked for and retired from the Standard Oil of Ohio Company (SOHIO). A native of Covington, Kentucky, Mildred Readnower Lamarre graduated from Miami University in 1933. While at Miami, she was a member of Beta Sigma Omicron and the Women's Inter-Fraternity Council. She was listed in the 1933 Miami Recensio as one of the twelve most beautiful girls on campus that year. She also was active in sorority circles and served as president of the Senior Women. During the first six years after her graduation, she held three office jobs in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, including one for the United States Army at Wright Field. She died in 1996. The couple married March 1, 1935 and spent much of their life together living in Dayton, Ohio.

  • Scope and Content

    The collection begins with letters that Bleriot wrote to Mildred during his senior year at Miami University, from September 1933 through June 1934. The letters provide information about his coursework, Miami athletic events, social events on campus, the couple's plans for Thanksgiving and other school vacations, topics discussed during student assemblies, Mildred's relationship with her parents and obtaining her first apartment, and job interviews. Lamarre also shares the titles of books he read during the time, such as Galsworthy's Skin Game, The Mob and The Forsyte Saga; Andreyev's The Life of Man, Oswald Spengler's The Decline of the West and Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology. He also saw several movies, including "Ann Vickers," "As Husbands Go" and "Design for Living." Details of the couple's relationship and future plans also figure prominently in this correspondence. Letters between the couple continue four years after their marriage. Two months after losing his job at the Goodyear Service Company, Bleriot accepted a job with Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, California in order to strengthen the couple's finances. Mildred remained behind in Dayton, working at her government job at Wright Field until she could successfully obtain a transfer to the California office. The letters document a very painful three months in which the couple are separated, and are written almost daily. Paying their bills, reducing their debt, selling one of their cars and their need to purchase new clothes are frequent themes of these letters. A handful of letters recount Charles Lindbergh's visit to Douglas, his inspections of aircraft companies in California, and his sudden drafting into the service. In addition to describing his work in the cost accounting department at Douglas, Bleriot's letters provide interesting insights into living in California. He writes of going to double features of "Dramatic School" and "Zaza," "Midnight" and "Ice Follies of 1939,"and "Union Pacific" and "Twelve Crowded Hours." He also describes going to the Warner Brothers premier of "The Confessions of a Nazi Spy," seeing a polo match outside Santa Monica, and seeing Norma Shearer as she is filmed for her role in a movie. The letters also offer details of 1939 popular culture, such hearing the Tone Poem on the radio that was to be given at the New York World's Fair, with H.V. Kaltenborn's voice describing the city of tomorrow; the Joe Louis-Jack Roper fight on April 17, 1939; reading Lowell Thomas's stories in Reader's Digest; and the dedication of Los Angeles's new $11 million railroad terminal on May 9, 1939. The first two letters of Mildred's that can be found in the collection hint of a difficult period in her relationship with Blerior. A November 14, 1934 letter asserts her love for Bleriot, but her realization that Bob Goacher could make her happy in a different way; on December 25, 1934, she informs Bleriot that she accepted Bob's diamond and is to have a church wedding in Elyria, Ohio in February. Mildred's letters continue during Bleriot's absence from March until June 1939. Most significant about the letters is the overwhelming longing they feel for one another, their concern for the future, and how difficult being apart is for the couple. In these letters, Mildred also describes seeing several well-known movies of the day, including "Stagecoach," "There's That Woman Again," "Trade Winds," "Yes, My Darling Daughter," "Dodge City," "Topper Takes a Trip," "Wuthering Heights," "Dark Victory," "The Story of Vernon & Irene Castle," "Juarez," and "Calling Dr. Kildare." She also attends lectures, hears Bertrand Russell speak on "War and Propaganda," sees John Barrymore perform in "My Dear Children," and reads books such as Lloyd Douglas's Disputed Passage, The Grapes of Wrath, The Yearling, and Dorothy Parker stories, including "Little Hours." She learns how to play contract bridge and admires the latest fashions in Mademoiselle. She also writes about her work, including the activities of her boss, Bennett Meyers. Enclosed newspaper clippings provide details about current events at Miami University, such as the death of instructor J. Maynard Griffith and Senator Robert A. Taft and Charles P. Taft receiving honorary Doctor of Laws degrees at the June commencement exercises. On March 12, 1939, Bleriot writes Bennett Meyers, thanking him for securing a position for him with Douglas and describing his assignment in the cost accounting department of the company. The collection continues with manuscript items that document legal proceedings in which the Lamarres found themselves in 1948, as a result of their dealings with Bennett Meyers. The collection contains an invoice sent by the Aviation Electric Corporation in Dayton, Ohio to Unidev Corporation, Vandalia, Ohio, dated March 29, 1946. Bleriot Lamarre's February 4, 1948 testimony regarding the income and excess profit tax liability of the Aviation Electric Corporation, Bennett E. Meyers, Thomas E. Readnower, Ray A. Curnutt, and his own income tax liability can also be found here. In the document, Bleriot testifies that Meyers gave him instructions to put salary kick-backs on the books of the Aviation Electric Corporation. He also provides information about the corporation's tax returns from 1941 to 1946, use of an executive salary account and his own salary account, and stock certificates in the Aviation Electric Corporation. Bleriot ends his testimony by emphasizing that General Meyers had requested that Bleriot give him a letter stating that he owed Meyers approximately $18,000; Bleriot never borrowed or owed money from him personally. In another transcript of testimony before the Senate War Investigating Committee regarding an income tax evasion case against Meyers, Bleriot states that he met Bennett E. Meyers in 1937 when Meyers was a major stationed at Wright Field in Dayton. Mildred Lamarre was assigned to work as Meyers' secretary. The documents reveal that Bleriot stayed with Douglas Aircraft until January 1940, when he came back to Dayton. In November 1939, Bleriot stated that he had received a letter from General Meyers requesting him to come back to Dayton for a better working opportunity at a small company. Bleriot responded, saying he and his wife did not want to leave Santa Monica. Meyers then came to Santa Monica and told him about Aviation Electric Corporation; the job was to be an officer in the company and to protect Meyers' financial interest in the company. The couple decided to return to Dayton because it was a good opportunity. Meyers had told Bleriot that the company had $20,000 worth of contracts and that by the time those were completed, the company would be able to stand on its own feet. Mildred was to have her old job back in his office if they returned to Dayton. Meyers sent them some money to continue their trip home. The testimony provides other details about Bleriot's removing Meyers' name from all entries in the company's books at Meyers' request because Meyers did not want to have any evidence of connection with the company. Other questions reveal other instructions Meyers gave Bleriot to spend the company's profits, such as drawing checks to decorate and air-condition Meyers' Washington apartment, purchasing a $700 radio, and obtaining a $3,000 Cadillac. The document also indicates that Bleriot employed Thomas Eugene Readnower, his brother-in-law, and Ray Curnutt, Meyers' future father-in-law, to work for the company as well. Curnutt was titled vice president in charge of production, but there was nothing for him to do. Bleriot also testified that he wrote several letters to bear out the story that Meyers built up about the company. He also states that he gradually learned not to put so much dependence on Meyers' promises. Bleriot later testified that Meyers had visited the couple at their Dayton home, concocting a story to tell investigators. The theme of the story was that Bleriot had taken large sums of money from the company and wasted it on gambling and other reckless activities. Bleriot admitted that he had twice perjured himself by telling this story before the subcommittee's hearings. Newspaper coverage of the case reported that Meyers testified before the Senate committee that he formed the Aviation Electric Corporation and made Bleriot president because Mildred had been his girlfriend from 1936 to 1940, with her husband's "knowledge, approval and acquiescence." After the proceedings, Mildred Lamarre sued Meyers for slander. On December 19, 1947, Meyers and Bleriot were indicted by federal grand jury in Washington on charges of giving false testimony at Senate inquiry. Meyers was stripped of his decorations and court-martialled. Bleriot received two years' probation. The collection continues with the diary Bleriot kept between 1964 and 1975. In addition to recording daily activities and local, national and international news events, he also provides information on his work with Sohio in the Dayton area. On April 19, 1965, Bleriot records suffering a heart attack, with three weeks in Kettering Memorial Hospital and two months of bed rest at home prescribed, returning to work on July 6. He also records his mother's death on October 9, 1965. In June 1968, he writes of a vacation the couple took to Monterey, Carmel, Yosemite, Fresno, San Francisco, and Muir Woods; he also mentions the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy that occurred during the vacation. In December of that year, he writes of their going to Detroit to see the Dearborn Inn, the Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. In June 1969, he writes of seeing the Kenley production, "Cactus Flower"; by April 1970, the couple are on the road again, vacationing in Charleston, South Carolina; Cypress Gardens; Nags Head, North Carolina; Virginia Beach, Cape Henry, Colonial Williamsburg; and Charleston, West Virginia. He records Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's landing on the moon on July 20, 1969. In December 1969, Bleriot writes about growing awareness of the dangers of environmental pollution; the Montgomery County Grand Jury investigation of the Dayton State Hospital; lunar geography; and water pollution. In January 1971, Bleriot records details of suffering from a ruptured disc, which later required surgery in January 1972. April 1971 brought the death of Mildred's mother, Anna Mae Readnower. President Nixon's trip to China and re-election in 1972, together with President Johnson's 1973 death, are also recorded in the diary. In July 1973 the Lamarres traveled to Hawaii; shortly afterward, Bleriot retired. Reflecting in his diary on December 31, 1973, he writes, "The last five months of 1973 were rather pleasant. Not going to work daily took some getting used to, but the aggravations of the irritating personalities and the trivial details of the job make retirement a distinct pleasure. The nice people are missed very much, and the satisfaction of solving some of their problems leaves a kind of blank spot. The big consolation is that the nice and the aggravating customers have bigger problems of price and supply which I would have been unable to alleviate. It is better to be out. So much for 1973 - at least no hospital stays were necessary, and I was free of physical pain." In April 1974, recording details of President Nixon's visit to Xenia, Ohio to see the tornado damage, Bleriot writes, "He is trying to improve his image, but his attempts at appearing genuinely and sincerely concerned were inept....Lyndon Johnson would have come across with greater sincerity and concern in the circumstance." On July 29, 1974, he makes the final payment on their house; ten days later, he records details about Nixon's resignation and President Ford's address to Congress on August 13. "He appealed for the help of everyone, and he came across as an honest, straightforward, down-to-earth individual who sincerely wants to do a good job. May his efforts be rewarded with outstanding success. The people are entitled to a credible, honest and hard-working administration - and this president wasn't even duly elected to his high office." Throughout the rest of the year, Bleriot records his thoughts about Ford's efforts to remedy the economy. 1975 begins with more discussions of current events. After hearing the president's State of the Union address, Bleriot writes on January 16, 1975, "The shortsightedness of this administration is approaching the ridiculous." On February 24, 1975, Bleriot enthusiastically writes about Amtrak's plans to provide dependable passenger rail service in the northeastern section of the country, and how it would invigorate the rapidly failing, but much-needed transportation system. March 1, 1975 finds the Lamarres celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary with lunch at the Golden Lamb Inn in Lebanon, Ohio. In September, Mildred leaves for her long-awaited, much-desired trip to Europe, after cooking a large supply of meals for him to have while she is gone. The diary concludes on December 31, 1975, with Bleriot reflecting on international events that have occurred during the year. The collection also includes the engraving plate for the invitation to the wedding of Mildred Readnower to Robert H. Goacher, to be held in Elyria, Ohio on February 9, 1935. Negatives of photographs of the couple, presumably taken at Miami University, can be found in the collection. A formal photograph of the couple commemorates their wedding on March 1, 1935. Two scrapbooks can also be found in the collection. One was created by Mildred to commemorate her attendance at the 20th biennial convention of Beta Sigma Omicron in Pasadena California, July 1-4, 1931. The scrapbook includes picture postcards of Kansas City, Salt Lake City, and Pasadena. Another scrapbook includes souvenirs like postcards, programs, matchbooks, and even a bar of Palmolive soap, commemorating the Lamarres' activities in California from June to December 1939 and their trip back to Dayton, Ohio in January 1940. Ephemera in the scrapbook documents the Golden Gate International Exposition; sightseeing in San Francisco; seeing "The World's Fairest" at the Earl Carroll Theatre-Restaurant in Los Angeles; "Symphonies Under the Stars" at the Hollywood Bowl, August 15-18, 1939; a New Year's Eve 1939 performance of "I Married An Angel" at the Biltmore Theatre; Arizona; San Antonio, Texas; New Orleans, Louisiana. The scrapbook also includes a road map showing the route the couple travelled from Los Angeles to Dayton, Ohio in January 1940, together with guidebooks to Los Angeles and California. The collection concludes with a notebook of information that Bleriot prepared about Algeria, Angola, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Djibouti, Egypt, El Salvador, Bioko-Rio Muni, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Honduras, Iran, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Madeira Islands, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Reunion, Rwanda, Sao Tome, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe, military expenditures of NATO countries, lists of members of NATO, Warsaw Pact, Western type neutrals, and communist-type neutrals.

  • Statement of Arrangement

    Series I: Correspondence Subseries I: Correspondence from Bleriot Lamarre to Mildred Readnower LamarreSubseries II: Correspondence from Mildred Readnower Lamarre to Bleriot Lamarre Subseries III: Correspondence from Bleriot Lamarre to Bennett MeyersSeries II: ManuscriptsSeries III: Newspaper Articles Regarding Bennett E. Meyers TrialSeries IV: Photographs Series V: Objects Series VI: Scrapbooks

  • Related Material

    The following items of Mildred and Bleriot Lamarre are housed in the Miami University Archives: · Scrapbook- Mildred Readnower · Bachelor of Arts Degree, Mildred Readnower, 1933 · Bachelor of Arts Degree, Bleriot Henry Lamarre, 1934 · Delta Sigma Pi, Certificate of Demit for Bleriot Henry Lamarre (June 11, 1934) · Commencement Program, Miami University (June 11, 1934)

  • Restrictions on Access

    This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections, Miami University Libraries.

  • Restrictions on Use

    Reproduction of materials in the collection is subject to the restrictions of copyright law. To use any materials not yet in the public domain, the researcher must obtain permission from the copyright holder.

  • Preferred Citation

    Bleriot Lamarre Collection, Walter Havighurst Special Collections, Miami University Libraries

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