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Huffaker, Edward C.



  • Existence: 1856 - 1937


Edward Chalmers Huffaker was born in Tennessee in 1856, the son of James and Sarah Huffaker. He graduated from Emory and Henry College, in Emory, Virginia in 1880, then went on to earn a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville.

Sometime around 1890, Huffaker moved to Bristol, Tennessee and found work as a surveyor and civil engineer. At this time, he also seems to have become interested in problems of flight and pursued a correspondence with Samuel Langley, Secretary of the Smithsonian. Langley encouraged Huffaker to submit his paper, “The Value of Curved Surfaces in Flight,” to the International Congress of Aerial Navigation in 1893, where it caught the attention of Octave Chanute. Chanute encouraged Langley to offer Huffaker a position at the Smithsonian Institution and he began work there in 1895. Huffaker worked on aviation modeling there until 1898, when disagreements with Langley led to his resignation.

Back in Tennessee, Huffaker continued to work on aviation design, with financial assistance from Chanute. In 1901, Chanute arranged for Huffaker to travel to Kitty Hawk with his glider so that he could test it with assistance from Orville and Wilbur Wright. Unfortunately, the glider was destroyed in a storm before it was ever flown. After this, Huffaker returned to Tennessee and resumed work as a surveyor, then became postmaster of Chuckey, Tennessee in 1915. He continued to be interested in flight and patented an airplane stabilizing device in 1920.

Huffaker married Cora Lyman Fishburn in 1888; she died of tuberculosis later that same year. He remarried in 1894. He and his second wife, Carrie Sue Redding, had two children. Huffaker died in Mississippi in 1937 and is buried in Chuckey, Tennessee.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Edward Chalmers Huffaker Papers

Identifier: AppMs-0554
Scope and Contents

The collection consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence between Edward Chalmers Huffaker of Chuckey, Tennessee and his family members and professional colleagues. Most of the correspondence is either to or from Huffaker’s wife, Carrie Sue Redding Huffaker or other Huffaker family members and discusses matters of personal interest and family affairs with only a few of the letters concerning Huffaker’s interest in aeronautics and manned flight.

Dates: 1882-1934, 1979-1986, undated; Majority of material found within 1882 - 1934

James Kevin Research Collection

Identifier: AppMs-0680
Scope and Contents The James Kevin Research collection consists of research files on Edward C. Huffaker and his work with early aviation in late 19th and early 20th century America. It also includes genealogical information on the Huffaker family. The collection includes Kevin’s in-coming and out-going correspondence, copies of articles written about Huffaker, Samuel P. Langley, research on Octave Chanute, articles written by Steve and Julie Hensley, several versions of the Hensley’s thesis, and genealogical...
Dates: circa 1877-2010 and undated

WCYB-TV 5 Collection

 Collection — Other Boxes 1-2
Identifier: AppMs-0455
Scope and Contents The WCYB-TV 5 Collection consists of videotapes on topics relating to the history and culture of the Southern Appalachian region. The recordings resulted from the WCYB-TV series,"Project Family," which aired early to mid 1990s. According to Wallace, the purpose of the series was to focus on faith, education, and the region, including important people of the southern Appalachian Region. The recordings feature important regional musicians such as Doc Watson, Benny Sims, the Wallin Brothers,...
Dates: 1967-1997

Additional filters:

Aeronautics -- United States -- History 2
Personal papers 2
Correspondence 1
Publications (document genre) 1