Guide to House Records: Chapter 23 Dirigible Disasters
Chapter 23. Records of the Joint Committees of Congress 1789-1968 (Record Group 128)
Records of the Joint Committees of Congress 1789-1989 (Record Group 128) from
Guide to Federal Records in the National
Archives of the United States, 1789-1988
- Introduction to the Records of the Joint Committees of Congress
- Part One: Overview of the Records of Certain Joint Committees
- Part Two: Records of Individual Joint Committees
Joint Committee to Investigate Dirigible Disasters (1933)
JC.072 The U.S.S. Akron, a dirigible designed for the Navy by the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation of Akron, Ohio, made its maiden flight on September 23, 1931. The design of the Akron supposedly had resolved previous safety problems involving rigid airships, but, on April 4, 1933, the Akron crashed just off the coast of New Jersey under stormy conditions. Of the ship's company of 77 officers and men, 74 servicemen, including Rear Admiral William A. Moffett, lost their lives.
JC.073 The Joint Committee to Investigate Dirigible Disasters was created by H. Con. Res. 15, 73d Cong., to investigate the cause of the Akron disaster and the wrecks of other Army and Navy dirigibles and to determine responsibility. The committee was also directed to inquire generally into the question of the utility of dirigibles in military and naval establishments and make recommendations to the Senate and House of Representatives regarding their future use. Its final report was submitted on June 14, 1933 (S. Doc. 75, 73d Cong., 1st sess., Serial 9748). Col. Henry Breckenridge, former Assistant Secretary of War, served as counsel for the joint committee. Senator William H. King of Utah served as chairman, though Representative John J. Delaney of New York was chairman of the subcommittee that gathered the data and facts and arranged a program as to the method of investigation.
JC.074 The records include minutes of committee meetings, correspondence, memorandums, notes, working papers, staff reports, statements and narratives, digests of testimony, and questions for witnesses. There are also many documents used by the committee in its investigation, such as maps, photographs, pamphlets, newspaper clippings and articles, and a bound volume of the nearprint Key to the Development of the Super-Airship Luftfahrzeugbau Schuette-Lanz collated and edited by Frederick S. Hardesty in 1930. Copies of various congressional publications regarding the committee's work and copies of the findings of facts and opinions of the Navy's U.S.S. Akron Court of Inquiry are included.
JC.075 Among the subjects covered by the records are the wreck of the Akron, the history and development of lighter-than-air craft in Germany and elsewhere, airship patents, the merits of various types of rigid airships, the committee's methods of investigation, and administrative matters.
This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1989.
Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States Senate at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-42) by Robert W. Coren, Mary Rephlo, David Kepley, and Charles South (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989), and Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-245) by Charles E. Schamel, Mary Rephlo, Rodney Ross, David Kepley, Robert W. Coren, and James Gregory Bradsher (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989).