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Northport, Long Island World War I airplane photographs

 Collection — Folder: SP175
Identifier: SP175

Scope and Contents

This collection includes 6 black-and-white photographs taken at or near Northport on Long Island, New York on August 3, 1918 and circa 1918 depicting airplanes, military pilots, and other personnel during World War I. The photographs belonged to an unidentified soldier, probably a pilot stationed at Brindley Field in Commack based on the descriptions he wrote on the back of the photographs.

The photographs were originally arranged in a frame that once hung on a wall before it was donated. The images were removed from the frame in 2022 due to preservation concerns.


  • 1918/08/03, undated

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Historical Note

Northport is a historic maritime village on the northern shore of Long Island, New York. Originally named Great Cow Harbour by 17th-century British colonists, it was renamed Northport in 1837. Long Island is known as the "Cradle of Aviation," as it is the site where the first recorded flights and many subsequent aeronautics milestones took place.

Upon entry into World War I in 1917, the United States armed forces lacked military-grade aircraft. They tried several European aircraft before deciding to build their own De Haviland 4 (DH-4) airplanes modeled after the British versions, with Liberty engines, which were V-12, 400 horsepower motors. The armed forces aviation service operated 5 airfields on Long Island during the war: Hazelhurst Field in Mineola; Damm Field in Babylon; Brindley Field in Commack; Lufberry Field in Wantagh; and Mitchel Field in Hempstead.

On Long Island, Chapman Field, located on a leased 90-acre farm in Commack, opened as a military airfield for tha Aviation Section of U.S. Army Signal Corps on June 15, 1918. It was renamed Brindley Field in August, in honor of the late Major Oscar A. Brindley, the primary instructor of American military pilots who died in a plane crash 3 months earlier. For the first 6 weeks, military personnel slept in tents, then moved into 20 newly constructed, long barracks that August. Mess halls and 5 steel hangars were also completed in that time.

Military pilots received advanced pilot training at Brindley Field before shipping off to Europe. The airfield had several Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" training planes, as well as DH-4s. The population of the airfield fluctuated between a few hunderd and 1,000 as soldiers cycled through training before deployment. The airfield was closed in May 1919, a few months after the end of the war.


American Air and Space Museum. "De Havilland DH-4." Smithsonian Institution. Accessed June 24, 2022.

"Aviation Fields of Long Isl. Brigaded." Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 19, 1918. Accessed June 24, 2022.

Egan, Rita J. "Commack History: Shopping Center Stands on the Site of a Former Airfield", June 27, 2011. Accessed June 24, 2022.

Hughes, Robert C. "What Huntington Did in the Great War." Huntington History, November 6, 2018. Accessed June 24, 2022.

Wikipedia. "Northport, New York." Accessed June 24, 2022.,_New_York.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


No further additions are expected.

Related Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN:

OBF024: United States military panoramic photographs

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2022/06/24 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid created 2022/06/24 by Brittany Kropf.
Northport, Long Island World War I airplane photographs
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.