Midwestern State University Archive

The Moffett Library contains few sources regarding the history of Wichita Falls during World War One. The collection only contains documents from the Call Field Air Force Base. Primary sources include editions from The Call Field Engineer, The Call Field Stabilizer, and assorted military correspondence detailing The Orders and Letters Received during the Erection of Call Field. Both The Call Field Engineer and The Call Field Stabilizer were monthly publications that addressed news stories and technical issues regarding aircraft and equipment. These publications also displayed the literary talent of the base personal through writing and poetry contests. Such works can be used to analyze the cultural characteristics of both Wichita Falls and the greater war effort. The military correspondence documents letters between base personal, The Department of War, and contractors. The source contains bills of sale, inventory manifests, and negotiations regarding equipment. Although unexciting, these letters provide insight into the inner workings of Call Field and may inspire further research.

The special collections also included two secondary materials. The History of Wichita Falls by Jonnie Morgan was published in 1931 and provides a sketch of Wichita Falls history including Call Field. The book was published by a local publisher, Nortex, which has been absorbed into the Wild Horse Media Group. The source should be used with caution. Morgan’s book contains a limited biography and was published by a press that specialized in business and organizational material. The proximity between the publication date of 1931 and the designated research parameters also presents issues regarding possible historical partiality. However, the book contains photographs of Wichita Falls through the World War One era and may lead to further research endeavors. The Moffett Library also possessed a published master’s thesis by Clint Leland Smith titled Call Aviation Field. The source may once again provide further insight into Call Field. However, due to time constraints I was not able to access this document. My next visit to the MSU special collections and archives will include a more thorough examination of Smith’s work.

 

Hanger Six

Laura and I visited the Museum of North Texas, which serves as the Wichita County archive. The archivists were helpful by suggesting possible research materials and providing space to study the documents. The city directories proved to be valuable sources in starting the research. Within our time allotment, Laura and I outlined several research opportunities to explore later. We were not aware that Wichita Falls once had several different newspapers and three hospitals. Wichita Falls also produced ten percent of the total wheat crop of Texas and possessed what was thought to be the largest natural gas reserve in the United States. These facts will help us better investigate the historical documents and contextualize the information. The archivists also granted Laura and me the freedom to utilize their facility free of charge, Tuesdays through Thursdays.

On January 16, Laura and I visited the new airplane exhibit at the Wichita Falls Municipal Airport. This display contains a World War One Jenny airplane that was once stationed at the Call Field Air Force Base. A local artist, Kim Ward, who was working on the mural, introduced us to her associate, John W. Zimmerman. Zimmerman conducted the visual research for the artists to recreate the authentic appearance of Call Field. He shared his research discoveries and accumulated knowledge of Wichita Falls to Laura and me. The art team had geographically pinpointed the location of the base and the various buildings. I was surprised to learn that my parent’s house is located on what was known as Hanger Six. Zimmerman also shared the contacts that he had acquired while conducting his investigation and the primary sources that he used. Laura and I were very fortunate to meet this art team.

Greetings

My name is Joseph Hadwal. I am a senior History major with a double minor in Business Administration and International Studies at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. My “blog” will focus on World War One history regarding Wichita Falls in accordance to the COPLAC’s Century America digital course.