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HOWARD HEAD PAPERS, 1926-1991
#589

(11 cubic feet: 17 DB; 7 F/O)

by: Alison L. Oswald, 1998

History

Howard Head was born July 31, 1914 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended William Penn Charter and graduated from Harvard in 1936 with a degree in engineering. From 1939 to1947, Head worked for Glenn L. Martin Company as a riveter and engineer. He left Martin and founded the Head Ski Company in Timonium, MD in 1948. The former aircraft engineer, developed, designed, manufactured, and marketed the first metal laminate skis in 1950 called the "Head Standard" which revolutionized the ski industry. These skis were made of two layers of aluminum bonded around a core of plywood at very high pressure; the outer layer was made of plastic. By 1952, Head introduced skis with edges made of tempered steel. His skis were lighter and faster than wood and earned the nickname "cheaters" by the industry. In 1969, Head introduced a fiberglass/metal ski, but this ski combined with a diversified product line of javelin and aluminum tennis rackets could not strengthen his company nor stop a takeover by AMF in 1970. In 1968, Head formed a tennis division of Head Sports Inc., to develop a metal tennis racket which he introduced at the U.S. Open in 1969. After Head sold his interests in Head Sports Inc., he became chairman of the board for Prince Manufacturing Inc., in 1971. He decided to enlarge the width and length of the traditional tennis racket, more than doubling its "sweet spot." He developed and patented a line of new aluminum rackets and introduced the "Prince Advantage" in 1976. The Prince racket company was sold to Cheesebrough Ponds in 1982. Head, who died in 1991, revolutionized both the ski and tennis industries.

Scope and Content

The Head Papers, 1926-1991, consist of correspondence, calendars, notes, company records (Head Ski Company and Prince Manufacturing Inc.), drawings, sketches, advertisements, product information, photographs, and slides documenting the development and design of both the Head ski and Prince oversized tennis racket. The collection is arranged into eight series: 

Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 1926-1991

This series contains biographical and historical background information about Howard Head and his business interests. Materials include numerous biographical sketches, histories, and chronologies about Head, the Head Family, business interests, and photographs, specifically portraits of Head as a youth.

Series 2: CORRESPONDENCE & WRITING, 1943-1991

Arranged chronologically, this series contains correspondence and writings on a variety of subjects. The majority of the correspondence (June 1943 to May 1950) is ski-related, specifically Head's work on the "honeycomb ski project." The correspondence includes: Glenn L. Martin Company; Department of Commerce; Ski Illustrated; United States Plywood Corporation; The Sixty Sales Corporation; Aluminum Company of America; Rust-Proofing and Metal Finishing Corporation; Bakelite Corporation; and Thompson Wire Company. Later correspondence (1955 to 1991) consists of Head Ski Company and personal business.

The "Honeycomb Ski" journal (May 1947 to March 1948) documents Head's work on the honeycomb ski project . This typescript journal contains detailed notes on the history of the project, testing procedures, drawings and sketches, and annotations by Head. The calendars--personal/daily--are small pocket size documents created by Head to record personal dates, appointments, telephone numbers, and thoughts. The calendars are arranged chronologically and are numbered from 1 to 35. In some instances, calendars are missing. The logs/notebooks are small pocket versions that Head created to record specific information such as his meetings and telephone numbers. The writings contain works by Head and others.

Series 3: HEAD SKI COMPANY RECORDS, 1943-1990

Head was the first person to apply technology to designing skis. Because of this technological application, Head revolutionized the sport of skiing. This series documents that technological revolution and the history of the Head Ski Company through its executive records, employee/personnel records, financial records, tax records, shop specs and notes, drawings and sketches, patents and trademarks, advertising, product information, publicity and clipping, and photographs. Of note are the shop specs and notes, 1947-1948. These specifications and notes for the development of skis contain drawings, sketches, and calculations. The specifications are dated and signed by Head. The advertising materials include a variety of ad campaigns, the largest of which was "And who makes great skis? Head of course!" The photographs 1957-1990 consist of Head skiing in various locations (Europe, Colorado, California, Idaho, Vermont); ski factories in Baltimore and Timonium, Maryland, documenting the first processes of ski manufacturing and stress tests; and various Head ski executives. The slides (color and black and white) contain images of Head, Head Ski Company, Head Ski Company executives and workers, skis being manufactured and used, and advertising examples.

Series 4: HEAD SKI COMPANY REUNION MATERIALS, August 17, 1986

In 1986, Howard Head organized a 40th anniversary reunion for employees of the Head Ski Company. This reunion celebrated not only Howard Head's contributions to the sport of skiing, but celebrated the many employees who contributed to the excellence of the company. Materials documenting the reunion include party notes, guest lists, employee vignettes, a speech delivered by Head, thank-you notes, and photo albums.

Series 5: PRINCE MANUFACTURING INC. RECORDS, 1971-1991

In 1971, Head became chairman of the board for Prince Manufacturing Inc. In 1973, he proposed a tennis racket design for increased "polar moment of inertia" and a racket that would make one play better, keep the ball in play longer, help one win games, and essentially add a whole new dimension to the game. To do this, Head proposed a racket with a larger head for more hitting room. This series contains historical background, executive records, drawings, financial records, product information, promotional/publicity materials, newspaper clippings, publications, and photographs. Of note are the drawings documenting the process of invention and design for the larger head on the racket and the many celebrities found in the photographs.

Series 6: HEAD HISTORICAL COLLECTION MATERIALS, 1986-1991

Howard Head and later the Administrators of Mr. Head's Estate launched a project to solicit skis and poles from the public in order to develop a collection. Head advertised what models he was seeking for his "definitive museum collection" in various publications. Memorabilia was also sought. The materials in this series include primarily advertisements and correspondence.

Series 7: POSTERS, n.d.

The poster series consists of Prince Manufacturing Inc. promotional posters, a PS Steinbronn Sport Couture poster and a personalized Howard's Head Is All Together poster. The posters are undated and there are multiple copies. Autographed copies are noted in the container list.

Series 8: AUDIO-VISUAL MATERIALS, 1940s-1991

The audio visual materials consist of audio cassettes and moving images. The audio cassettes provide oral history accounts of Howard Head and the Head Family. Other audio casettes include speeches/talks given by Head and interviews with friends/colleagues. The film and video cassettes contain documentation on skiing and tennis and some biographical information. Of particular note are the Head Ski Reunion videos and advertising segments for Prince Manufacturing Inc.

Related Materials

Artifacts donated to the National Museum of American History, Division of Cultural History on May 19, 1997, include downhill skis, ski poles, ski boots, ski bindings, cross sections of downhill skis, competition medals, Prince tennis rackets, and racket covers.

Provenance

This collection was donated to the National Museum of American History by Martha Head on May 19, 1997.

Container List

Box Folder
Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 1926-1991
1 1 Subseries 1: Head History, May 16, 1987
2 Subseries 2: Biographical Sketches, 1986-1991
3 Subseries 3: Business Biography, n.d.
Subseries 4: Chronologies, 1988
4-6 Howard Head Life Chronology, February 18, 1988 (3 c.)
7 Business Chronology, n.d.
8 Subseries 5: Identification card and passports, 1929-1957
Subseries 6: Awards, 1984-1989
9 1986, 1989
F/O-4 1 Oversized, 1984
10 Miscellaneous, 1965
Subseries 7: Photographs-Portraits, 1955-1988
11 Youth, n.d.
12 Howard Head, 1955-1962
13 Howard & Martha Head, 1961-1988
14 Howard Head, n.d.
15-16 Duplicates
F/O-4 2 Oversized
Series 2: CORRESPONDENCE & WRITINGS, 1943-1991
2 Subseries 1: Correspondence-About skis, 1943-1991
1 June 1943-December 1943
2 April 1947-September 1947
3 October 1947-December 1947
4 January 1948-December 1948
5 January 1949-October 1949
6 March 1950-May 1950
7 1955-1957
8 1959
9-10 1960-1991
11 Subseries 2: Correspondence-About John Jay, 1985-1989
12 Subseries 3: Journal-Honeycomb Ski Project, 1945-1948
Series 2: CORRESPONDENCE & WRITINGS, 1943-1991
Subseries 4: Calendars, 1965; 1973-1986
2 13 1965
14 August 1973-December 1974
15 December 1975-September 1977
16 October 1977-January 1980
17 February 1980-October 1980
18 November 1981-January 1984
19 January 1984-March 1986
Subseries 5: Logs/Notebooks, 1978-1984
20 For groups, December 1978
21 Phone number books, 1980; 1984
Subseries 6: Writings, 1926-1963
3 1 The Beehive, June 1926
2 Penn Charter Magazine, May 1928
3 Maneuverable Target Positioning, 1949
4 Aspen Executive Program, reprint 1960
Early Rock Climbing in the Shawangunks. reprint, 1963
The K2 Expedition of 1939 reprint, 1956
Series 3: HEAD SKI COMPANY RECORDS, 1943-1990
Subseries 1: Historical Background
5 Company Chronology, 1947-1990
6 Chronologies of Head Skis, n.d.
7 Head Skis: The Engineered Evolution, 1968
Subseries 2: Executive Records, 1965-1968
8 Annual Report, 1965; 1967
9 Interim Report, November 12, 1966
10 Heads n' Tales, December 1966
11 Headlines Report, November 1968
F/O-1 3 Head mailing envelope, n.d.
Subseries 3: Employee/Personnel Records, 1952-1964
12-13 Earnings, 1952-1953
14 Employee Count sheets, 1962-1964
3 15 Checks of Howard Head, July 21, 1955
16 Monthly records, March 1954
17 Weekly records, March 1954-June 1954
Summary records, 1947-1970
18 1947-1948
19 [1954?]
F/O-1 1 Payroll listing, 1968-1970
3 20 Ledger sheet, [February 1952-September 1952?]
Time Sheets, 1952-1954
21 1952
22 January 1953-December 1953
23 1954
Subseries 4: Financial Records, 1952-1970
24-25 Cash Records, 1952
26 Profit Forecast, April 28, 1962
27 Projected cash flow, April 28, 1962
28 Miscellaneous notes, 1963
29 Sales Statistics, 1950-1965
4 Subseries 5: Tax Records, 1943-1954
1 Correspondence, 1952
2 Tax withheld, 1947-1948
3 Income tax figures, 1950
4 Tax Guide, 1952
5 Federal quarterly returns, 1951-1954
6-8 State of Maryland returns (corporate and individual), 1943-1953
Subseries 6: Shop Spec and Notes, 1947-1948
9 Beam length, May 1, 1947
10 Design mold for constant section samples, May 17, 1947
11 Test program, 6/1/47
12 Recalculation of equivalent stiff formula, 6/3/47
13 Deflection study for bending test, 7/16/47
14 Tool costs, 7/29/47
15 Calculated deflection curve, 7/30/47
16 Production study, 8/30/47
17 Tools and fixture requirements, 9/2/47
18 Comparative yield load, ultimate load, 9/29/47
19 Calculation of thickness for shorter skis, 10/9/47
20 Camber and thickness for shorter skis, 10/9/47
Series 3: HEAD SKI COMPANY RECORDS, 1943-1990
Subseries 8: Drawings & Sketches, 1947-1956
4 21 Procedure 6"9" mold, October 7, 1947-12/7/47
22 Test series, January 1947-July 1948
23 Glue spreader, July 16, 1947
24 Unidentified, June 28, 1948
25 Finished Ski GS drawing, February 18, 1969
F/O-1 2 Sketches of skis, January 20, 1956
F/O-4 3 Pencil sketch of ski exhibit, n.d.
Subseries 9: Patents & Trademarks, 1954; 1961; 1977
26 Correspondence, 1977
27-28 Patents, 1954; 1961
29 Product Information, 1963-1968
30-36 Print Advertisements, 1960-1969
37 Head International, n.d
Subseries 10: Advertising Materials, 1960s
38 Wherever Men Know skis, n.d.
F/O-2 1 This years hot ski/The worlds greatest all around ski
5 1 Point of Purchase advertisements, 1960s
5

F/O-2

2-3

3

Publicity and clippings, 1959-1991
6 Head Company binders (3 copies)
Subseries 11: Photographs, 1947-1990
7 1 Howard Head skiing (#1-11)
2 Howard Head skiing (#11)
3 Howard Head with others, 1952-1962 (#1-9)
4 Howard Head with others, 1962-1968 (#10-18)
5 Howard Head with others, 1968-1979 (#19-29)
6 Howard Head with others, 1983-1986 (#30-33)
7 Howard Head with others, no date (#1-10)
8 Ski factory/making first ski, 1947 (#1-6)
9 Ski factory, 1947-1952 (#1-7)
10 Ski factory, 1947-1952 (#8-13)
11 Ski factory, 1947-1952 (captioned set)
12 Ski factory, 1947
13 Ski factory, 1947 (extras)
20 1 Ski factory, 1949 (uncaptioned)
2 Ski factory, 1949 (31-6, uncaptioned)
3 Ski factory, manufacturing and shipping, 1960
Series 3: HEAD SKI COMPANY RECORDS, 1943-1990
Subseries 11: Photographs, 1947-1990
20 4 Ski factory/buildings, 1969-1970
5 Ski factory miscellaneous (#1-8)
6 Ski factory miscellaneous (#1-6)
7 Skis at Museum of Modern Art, 1960s
8 Skis at Harvard, 1989 (includes tennis negatives)
9 Head skis on Mt. Everest, 1963 931-5)
10 New England Winter Show, 1961 (#1-3)
11 New York Ski Show, 1958-1960 (#1-2)
12 Ski groups, (#1-8)
13 Head Ski Company Executives, (#1-9)
14 Ski miscellaneous (#1-10)
8 1-11 Historical picture set, n.d.
12-14 Slides-skis
15-17 Miscellaneous
F/O-2

F/O-5

8-14 Oversized prints, 1977
Series 4: HEAD SKI COMPANY REUNION MATERIALS, AUGUST, 17, 1986
9 1 Party Notes
2 Guest Notes
3 Employee Vignettes
4 "Head Skis: The Engineered Revolution"
5 Speech by Howard Head
6 Thank-you notes
F/O-3 Photographs-Reunion albums
Series 5: PRINCE MANUFACTURING INC. RECORDS, 1971-1991
Subseries 1: Historical Background, 1974
9 7 Early Life of Prince
8 Invention Notes and Notebook, 1974
Subseries 2: Executive Records, 1971-1985
F/O-2 4 Organizational chart-draft, 1977
9 9 Minutes of Board of Directors, 1971-1973
10 Minutes Technical Committee, 1977
11-12 Correspondence, 1971-1990
Subseries 3: Drawings, 1974-1977
O/S Fldr.1 Versions of racket, 1974-1977
F/O-1

F/O-4

4

4

Size comparisons, 1974
Series 5: PRINCE MANUFACTURING INC. RECORDS, 1971-1991
9 13-16 Subseries 4: Financial Records, 1971-1982
17 Subseries 5: Product Information
10 1-3 Subseries 6: Promotional/Publicity Materials, 1973-1991
11 1-5 Subseries 7: Newspaper Clippings, c. 1973-1991
F/O-1 5
Subseries 8: Advertising Materials, 1979-1982
11 6 Print Ads
F/O-2 6 Nekoosa papers ad demo
7 Storyboard art
11 7-8 Subseries 9: Publications, 1982-1983
F/O-4 5 Subseries 10: Photographs, 1969-1989
12 1 Tennis Portraits (#1-6)
2 Tennis Portraits/extras (#1,2,5,6)
3 Howard Head with others, no date
4 Howard Head with others/extras (#7-8)
5 Howard Head with celebrities (#1-13)
6 Monte Carlo Tennis Tournament (#1-8)
7 Tennis miscellaneous (#1-7)
8 Prince Tennis Racket Development (#1-10)
9 Prince Tennis Racket Development (#11-21)
10 Tennis ball tossing machine (#1-12)
11 Tennis ball tossing machine/extras (#1-2)
12 Tennis pros and shows (#1-4)
13 Tennis pros and shows/extras (#1-2)
14 Color slides (#1-2)
15 Miscellaneous (#1-4)
Series 6: HISTORICAL COLLECTION MATERIALS, 1986-1991
13 1 Advertising
2 Baltimore Museum of Industry
3-7 Correspondence, 1989-1991
8 Commemorative Projects
Series 7: POSTERS, n.d.
O/S Fldr.1 Prince Manufacturing, Inc./Vince Van Patten, n.d.
(autographed by several players)
Prince Manufacturing Inc./The Prince Graphite, n.d.
Prince Manufacturing Inc./Pat Cash, n.d. (2 copies)

PS Steinbronn Sport Couture, n.d.
Howard's Head Is All together, n.d. (3 copies)
Series 8: AUDIO-VISUAL MATERIALS, 1940s-1991
Subseries 1: Biographical, 1979-1988
14 OTC 589.1 Jean & Howard Head Family Anecdotes, [5/26/79?]
OTC 589.2-8 Jean & Howard Head, July 8, 1980
OTC 589.

9-13

Howard Head Chronology, February 19, 1988

(See transcript.)

OTC 589.14 Howard Head Family History, n.d.
OT7 589.15 Howard Head Interview, n.d.
Subseries 2: Skiing, 1986
OTC 589.15-17 Roger Brown, Head Ski History, September 25, 1986
Subseries 3: Miscellaneous, 1976-1988
OTC 589.18 Howard Head, May 2, 1972
OTC 589.19 Howard Head, [1976?]
OTC 589.20 Howard Head Newsmakers, March 28, 1979
15 OTC 589.21-24 Conference on Entrepreneurship at Stanford University, April 4, 1982
OTC 589.25 Harvard Distinguished Speaker Address, 1986
OV 589.1 Harvard Distinguished Speaker Address, 1986 (8 mm)
OTC 589.26-28 Speech Session 1, June 1986 (Howard Head, Chris Hartman, and Hal Donofrid)
OTC 589.29 Howard Head Interview, October 22, 1987
OTC 589.30-31 Mike Ericson Interview, November 4, 1987

Series 8: AUDIO-VISUAL MATERIALS, 1940s-1991
Subseries 3: Miscellaneous, 1976-1988
15 OTC 589.32 Mitzie Keimig Interview, November 11, 87
OTC 589.33 Edward P. Keimig Interview, December 29, 1987
OTC 589.34 Clifford V. Brokaw, III Interview, April 29, 88
OTC 589.35 [Howard Brody?], n.d.
OTC 589.36 Unidentified cassette, n.d.
Subseries 4: Moving Image, 1940s-1991
16 OV 589.2-4 Glen Martin Films
18 RV 589.1-2 Great Skis for Great Skiing, 1979 (2 copies)
OF 589.1 Great Skis for Great Skiing, 1979 (16 mm, 177 feet)
MV589.1 Great Skis for Great Skiing, 1979
OV 589.5-7 Head Ski Reunion, 1986
RV 589.3-4 Head Ski Reunion, 1986 (2 copies)
RV 589.5 AT & T Skiing Award Presentation, 1987
RV589.
6-7
Wilderness to World Class, 1988 (2 copies)
16 OV 589.8 Head Reunion The Gang That Wouldn't Delaminate, 1988
OV 589.9 Slalom in Vail, Colorado/ESPN Tribute to Howard Head, 1991
OF 589.2 Governor's Cup in Teluride, Colorado, n.d. (16 mm, 1000 feet)
OF 589.3 Tennis Lesson, 1979 (16 mm, 400 feet)
18 RV 589.8 Warwick, Welsh, Miller, Inc. Prince Manufacturing Tennis Rackets "Be the Best," 1981
RV 589.9 R.M. & D Advertising Prince Rackets, 1981
RV 589.10 "Prince" by Threshold Productions, 1990
RV 589.11 Waring & La Rosa, Inc. Prince Tennis Rackets, n.d.
RV 589.12 National Kidney Foundation "Gift of Life" Celebrity Tennis Pro Am, n.d.
16 OV 589.10 Prof. Howard Brody, University of Pennsylvania, n.d.
17 OV 589.11 Howard Head Ad/Interview Mix (by Prince), n.d.
19 RV 589.
13-16
Harvard Distinguished Speakers Address, 1986
17

OV 589.12 Howard Head Film Archives (Artifacts), 1987
17 OV 589.13 Howard Head Film Archives (Ski and racket Video effect)
OV 589.14 Howard Head Film Archives (Lecture film transfer)
OV 589.15 Andy Barth (WJZ) Baltimore, MD, 1989
OV 589.16 Head Skis/ Tennis Lessons (film transfer), n.d.
19 RV 589.
17-19
Howard Head Story: Head Skis & Prince Tennis (3 copies)
Subseries 5: Transcripts, 1982-1988
13 Stanford University, 1982
Howard Head Chronology, 1988

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E-mail: archivescenter@si.edu
Revised: February 14, 2002