1400 Washington AveAlbanyNY
1400 Washington AveAlbanyNY

Edward E. Potter Papers


PDF Version


Papers of World War I pilot and State College for Teachers student. Potter died in a plane crash Paris, France.


Potter, Edward E. (1891-1918)
Date Coverage:
0.17 cubic ft. (about 0.17 boxes)

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: 2018-03-06 09:15:13 -0500

Revised by Marla Krauss, 1996 July 18

Converted to EAD, 2015 December

Encoded in EAD by Gregory Wiedeman, 2015

Archival materials can be view in-person during business hours in our reading room, located on the top floor of the Science Library on the Uptown Campus.

We can also deliver digital scans for remote research for a fee.

Access to this record group is unrestricted.

Copyright Statement

This page may contain links to digital objects. Access to these images and the technical capacity to download them does not imply permission for re-use. Digital objects may be used freely for personal reference use, referred to, or linked to from other web sites.

Researchers do not have permission to publish or disseminate material from these collections without permission from an archivist and/or the copyright holder.

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming to the laws of copyright. Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) and/or by the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations. More information about U.S. Copyright is provided by the Copyright Office. Additionally, re-use may be restricted by terms of University Libraries gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks.

The Department of Special Collections and Archives is eager to hear from any copyright owners who are not properly identified so that appropriate information may be provided in the future.

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

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).

Contents of Collection



1 1Certificate of Death with Honor from United States Army1920 February 26


1 2Correspondence 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 Club1919, 1934-1936


1 3Correspondence 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 4Diploma of Honor of the Aerial League of America awarded to Edward E. Potter1919 February 26


1 5Honorable Discharge from training camp1917 August 14


1 6Honorable Discharge from United States Army1918 June 11


1 7Letter of Edward E. Potter to Family concerning Army ferrying service.1918 June 28


1 8Letter of Edward E. Potter to Rose E. Potter concerning camp life in France1918 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 10Newspaper Clippings announcing radio memorial for Edward E. Potter1935 November 13


1 11Poems collected by Edward E. PotterUndated


1 12Photograph of Edward E. Potter in WW I uniformUndated


1 13Photographs of Edward E. Potter, his family, and his gravesiteUndated


1 14War Mothers and Widows Official Certification of Identification, Rose E. Potter1930


1 15US Army Certificate for E.E.Potter, "...died with honor,"1918 August 1


1 16Simmonds, Thomas circa Wood Carving with Suggestions in Chip Carving. London: George Allen and Sons, with Edward Potter autograph.Undated