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.
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
The collection has no series, arranged chronologically.
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 1935.1989
Processed by: Sara Rohfeld
Collection record created by: This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on
Published: 2017-04-14 13:02:27 -0400
Revised by Marla Krauss, 1996 July 18
Converted to EAD, 2015 December
Encoded in EAD by Gregory Wiedeman, 2015
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Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Edward E. Potter Papers, 1918-1966. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Potter Papers).
|1||1||Certificate of Death with Honor from United States Army||1920 February 26|
|1||2||Correspondence of Cordella Potter Lackey (Edward's sister) with Captain J. F. McGough re. the circumstances of Potters death, and Lackey's involvement with and donations to the Edward E. Potter Club||1919, 1934-1936|
|1||3||Correspondence of Rose E. Potter (Edward's mother) 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.||1918-1920, 1934|
|1||4||Diploma of Honor of the Aerial League of America awarded to Edward E. Potter||1919 February 26|
|1||5||Honorable Discharge from training camp||1917 August 14|
|1||6||Honorable Discharge from United States Army||1918 June 11|
|1||7||Letter of Edward E. Potter to Family concerning Army ferrying service.||1918 June 28|
|1||8||Letter of Edward E. Potter to Rose E. Potter concerning camp life in France||1918 January 17|
|1||9||"The Memoirs of Edward Eldred Potter" by Cordella Potter Lackey (Presented to the Edward Eldred Potter Club in memory of Edward E. Potter)||1935|
|1||10||Newspaper Clippings announcing radio memorial for Edward E. Potter||1935 November 13|
|1||11||Poems collected by Edward E. Potter||Undated|
|1||12||Photograph of Edward E. Potter in WW I uniform||Undated|
|1||13||Photographs of Edward E. Potter, his family, and his gravesite||Undated|
|1||14||War Mothers and Widows Official Certification of Identification, Rose E. Potter||1930|
|1||15||US Army Certificate for E.E.Potter, "...died with honor,"||1918 August 1|
|1||16||Simmonds, Thomas circa Wood Carving with Suggestions in Chip Carving. London: George Allen and Sons, with Edward Potter autograph.||Undated|