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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
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).
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