M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives


PAPERS, 1918-1966


For reference queries contact Grenander Department Reference staff or (518)-437-3935.

Finding Aid Compiled by
Sara Rohfeld
July 5, 1995

Revised by
Marla Krauss
July 18, 1996

M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives 
University Libraries / University at Albany / State University of New York 
1400 Washington Avenue / Albany, New York 12222 / (518) 437-3935

VOLUME: .17 cubic feet

ACQUISITION: These records were transferred to the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, by the Alumni Association in 1989.  The Potter Papers appear to have been donated to the Edward E. Potter Club by Cordelia Potter Lackey in 1935.

ACCESS: Access to these records is unrestricted except where otherwise noted in the finding aid.

COPYRIGHT: The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.


Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder List

Edward E. Potter Papers
Biographical Sketch

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Edward Eldred Potter was born in Windfall, NY, September 3, 1891, the son of Rose E. Potter.  He was the youngest of four children in a poor, rural family.  He lived in upstate New York until he was eleven, at which point he moved to Ontario, Canada, for five years. He returned to the United States to attend the Plattsburg Normal High School. He had many interests, including outdoor sports, theater, and poetry. He held a variety of jobs to support himself while in high school and in college.

He began studies at Union College after receiving a scholarship. However, he left Union after only a few months to enter the New York State College for Teachers. He aspired to becoming a school superintendent.

Potter enlisted in the army in May, 1917, after the United States had officially been at war for one month. He was sent to the officer's training school at Madison Barracks, NY, where he decided to train for aviation service. He entered the Aviation Ground School in Ithaca, NY, in August, 1917. He was sent to France in October, 1917, where he continued his aviation training. He was eventually commissioned as pilot-aviator.

While completing his training, Potter was chosen as one in fifteen pilots to participate in an emergency ferrying mission which transported new planes to various parts of France and England. He died while completing one of the transports when his plane crashed in Orly Field, near Paris, on August 1, 1918. The crash resulted from a flat turn Potter made to avoid hitting men on the ground while landing. Since Potter understood that the chances of surviving a flat turn were minimal, he has been honored as knowingly risking his own life in order to save the lives of others. He is buried in the American war cemetery in Suresnes, France.

* The information contained in the biographical sketch was taken from "The Memoirs of Edward Eldred Potter", written by Potter's sister, Cordella Rose Potter Lackey. The Memoirs were presented to the Edward E. Potter Club on or around May 27, 1935.

Edward E. Potter Papers
Scope and Content Note

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The Edward Eldred Potter Papers contain correspondence from Potter to his mother, Rose E. Potter, discussing his military service. Rose E. Potter and Cordella Potter Lackey, Potter's sister, both received correspondence related to Edward Potter's death and to the establishment of a club in his name at the New York State College for Teachers. The series also contains family photographs, certificates of honor and discharge from the armed forces, and "The Memoirs of Edward Eldred Potter", written by Cordella Potter Lackey. The Edward Eldred Potter Papers is part of the Alumni Memorabilia Collection. See also Edward Eldred Potter Club and Alumni Association, Inc. Records (UA-901.003).

Photographs of Edward Eldred Potter and Edward Eldred Potter Club and Alumni Association members from the University Archives Photograph Collection are available for viewing online from the University at Albany Libraries' Digital Collections database.

Edward E. Potter Papers
Box & Folder List

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Box 1

Certificate of Death with Honor from United States Army, Feb. 26, 1920
Stored with archives photographic collection.

Correspondence of Cordella Potter Lackey (Edward's sister), 1919, 1934-1936
With Captain J. F. McGough re. the circumstances of Potters death, and Lackey's involvement with and donations to the Edward E. Potter Club

Correspondence of Rose E. Potter (Edward's mother), 1918-1920, 1934
With the State College for Teachers regarding Edward's honorary degree, the Aerial League of American and the American Legion re. honors for Edward, and re. the establishment of the Potter Club.

Diploma of Honor of the Aerial League of America awarded to Edward E. Potter, February 26, 1919

Honorable Discharge from training camp, August 14, 1917

Honorable Discharge from United States Army, June 11, 1918

Letter of Edward E. Potter to Family, June 28, 1918 Re: Army ferrying service.

Letter of Edward E. Potter to Rose E. Potter, January 17, 1918 Re: camp life in France

"The Memoirs of Edward Eldred Potter" by Cordella Potter Lackey (Presented to the Edward Eldred Potter Club in memory of Edward E. Potter), [1 original and 1 photocopy], 1935

Newspaper Clippings announcing radio memorial for Edward E. Potter, November 13, 1935

Poems collected by Edward E. Potter, undated

Photograph of Edward E. Potter in WW I uniform (stored with photographic collection)

Photographs of Edward E. Potter, his family, and his gravesite, undated
War Mothers and Widows Official Certification of Identification,Rose E. Potter, 1930

US Army Certificate for E.E.Potter, "...died with honor," 8/1/1918.

Simmonds, Thomas circa Wood Carving with Suggestions in Chip Carving. London: George Allen and Sons, [ undated] With Edward Potter autograph.

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Last updated August 21, 2007