Herman Devry
Dr. Herman A. Devry
founder of the world-famous DeVry Corporation,
"Founder of Visual Education"
and co-founder of DeVry Institute of Technology
(now DeVry University).
Courtesy of Diane C. Cumpston, 12-05-05

Tulsa Daily Democrat
June 28, 1911
Transcribed by Kim Jones, 11-12-04
Air Craft May Fly Over Tulsa Some Time Today
DeVry Has Machine Launched on a Sand Bar Across the River
------Flight is Not A Public Affair-----
     Owing to Engine Going Wrong This Morning Intended Flight Was Postponed Until This Afternoon -----English Aviator A.C. Beach of St. Louis Will Fly The Ship On Its Initial Flight-----The Outlook For Success Favorable.
     Probably an air ship flight will take place in Tulsa this afternoon. Herman DeVry, Tulsa air ship builder, has his machine launched on a sand bar south of the road bridge across the Arkansas river ready to begin a flight if the weather conditions are favorable and the machinery is in condition. Owing to the engine going wrong this morning his intended flight was postponed until this afternoon. This flight will not be a public affair. It is being contemplated for the purpose of experimenting with the machine. Mr. DeVry has an English aviator directly here from St. Louis, A.C. Beach by name, who will fly the air craft. Mr. Beach wants to try out the air craft and see how it is balanced. Should the flight prove a success today the machine will be put on exhibition and a public flight made later. Mr. DeVry stated this morning that this is the same machine in which he made one trial flight. The machine is built on the Bleriot airplane plan. It weighs 450 pounds and the dimensions are 25X10. The problem overnight that caused the morning flight to be postponed was not a disappointment to the inventor or the Englishman. Mr. DeVry is not anxious to have an unsuccessful flight on the plane and in view of the fact that he has already experimented with air plane some in the air it is thought he will not be disappointed. Aviator Beach told him this morning that he thinks he can take the machine 100 feet in the air under favorable conditions. If the flight is made it will be started late this afternoon.

Tulsa Daily Democrat
July 3, 1911
Transcribed by Kim Jones, 11-12-04
Beach Soared in Air 20 Minutes
DeVry Machine Demonstrated to Be Success—Eight Hundred Feet
     A. C. Beach arose from the ground near New Taneha yesterday in Herman DeVry's monoplane and soared in the air for twenty minutes reaching an altitude of eight hundred feet. After twice circling around the large aviation ground, distance not estimated, the English aviator descended to the ground as gracefully as a bird. All day long hundreds of Tulsa and Sapulpan's waited at Taneha to see the flight. It did not take place however until late yesterday afternoon. After breaking his engine last week, DeVry went to Sapulpa Friday and secured another engine and announced that he would move his machine to Taneha to make a trial flight. He was supposed to leave terra firma but an aviator doesn't always keep appointments when it comes to risking life and limb several hundred feet above the ground. The flight yesterday was a most successful one from every standpoint. It proves conclusively that Tulsa has an inventor worthy of notice and one who promises to compete in this new form of risk of defying the air currents. Beach is very highly pleased with the flight and says that he can fly DeVry's machine with perfect ease and believes it is the greatest yet built. Other flights will be made soon.

Tulsa Daily World
Tulsa, Oklahoma: July 12, 1911
Courtesy of Kim Jones, 11-9-04
     After waiting patiently for favorable winds and air currents during the past two weeks, Herman DeVry, Tulsa's inventor and birdman, had the pleasure yesterday afternoon of seeing his monoplane make a successful air voyage. The flight was made in a field west of Red Fork. A. C. Beach, the London aviator, operated the craft and raised to an elevation of almost fifty feet. The flight was extended over a half a mile and the machine wa finally brought to the ground voluntairily.
     It developed in this successful flight that DeVry's engine is a trifle too light for the macine, and more powerful one must be installed immediately. De Vry now has several eincouragin offers for flights, but will not be albe to accept any of them for a few days at least, until the new and stronger engine can be shipped here and installed.


The Jet Visitor
Jet, Alfalfa County, Oklahoma: August 17, 1911
Courtesy of Kim Jones, 11-9-04
Cessna's Silverwing
Imitates Bird

Start Exhibition Work At
Cherokee Saturday
     The Cessna Brothers, who were here several months ago and returned the last of this week for another tryout, have been successful the past week. Short flights have been made each day since their arrival and several long ones. The machine is in good working order, and the driver, who is an old hand at the bat, understands the entire workings and handles the machine in great style.
     Mr. Beach, who has driven many different kinds of machines, states that this machine does the work as nice as any he has ever tried. He will drive the machine in the flight to be made at Cherokee Saturday afternoon, from the Fair Grounds. A reasonable fee, ...... will be charged.
     H. A. DeVry, of Tulsa, who built the first machine to make a successful flight in the state, is now on the Plains. He has had much experience with flying machines and states that the machine will do first class work under the guidance of the present driver. The Cessnas have joined the Cosmopolitan Aviators and will start Saturday for the first time in exhibition work.
     Mr. DeVry thinks there is no better place on earth to start machines than the present location of the Silverwing, the southeasst side of the Salt Plains, five miles northwest of this place. He states that his company has been considering the advisability of establishing a school for aviators at this place for some time and while it is not definately settled he thinks that this will be done not later than this fall. If the school is located there ......plant will also be established and the machines constructed there.
     This morning, one of the prettiest flights for the week was one by Mr. Cessna, flying a distance of two miles at a height of about fifty feet.

Dr. Herman A. DeVry - Inventor
     After his early experiments in aviation, Dr. DeVry continued on a life of invention and innovation. You can read a copy of the pamphlet which was used at the opening of the DeVry University, Orlando Campus, in the fall of 2000. The pamphlet was provide to the University by Diane DeVry, Herman's granddaughter and shared by Diane C. Cumpston, Executive Assistant to the President, DeVry University, Central Florida. You can begin by clicking on Page 1, Introduction.
  Page 1.
Page 2.
Page 3.
Page 4.
Page 5.
Page 6.
Introduction - Great American Inventor and Educational Pioneer
1894 - Works in Penny Arcade and Silent Movie House
1908 - DeVry Builds First Plane in Oklahoma
1914 - DeVry Produces First Practical Portable Movie Projector
1925 - DeVry Summer School of Visual Instruction.
1975 - National Audio Visual Association Honors DeVry Family

     If you search for "Herman Devry" +aviation , using the Google search engine, (11-23-05), you will find 20 relevant links.
Airplanes and the Riot
by Richard S. Warner
     "There is no question that airplanes were in the air over Tulsa during and after the Tulsa race riot. The question is: what were they being used for?"
     The main purpose of this article is to answer that question. Luckily for us, there is a paragraph which mentions A. C. Beach and helps to understand his flight in the DeVry aeroplane. I have extracted that paragraph and displayed it immediately below.
"The next airplane in Tulsa was designed and constructed by Herman DeVry, who owned a machinery repair business. DeVry hired A. C. Beach, an English pilot then living in Tulsa, to test the airplane. After four tries, it finally took off from a field southwest of Sand Springs and rose to 800 feet, staying aloft for 20 minutes. After several other attempts to fly, the engine blew up and DeVry quit the aircraft business."
     This is a very extensive and fascinating story of the events which occurred during the Tulsa race riot. Many important details of the role of the airplane in the event are discussed at length. In the course of the investigation, many facts which refer to the development of aviation in Tulsa durning that period and highlighted. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.

     I just now looked at the A.C. Beach excerpt that you cited above. Mr. Warner's statements about the Tulsa race riot are about ten years off! Our race riot was on June 1st, 1921 (incidentally the date of my father's birth here in Tulsa) and DeVry flew in 1911. I don't know what his thoughts were on the subject, but it wasn't this airplane that flew during the race riot. Interesting how things get turned around through the fog of time.
William Devry
William DeVry
From the William DeVry website, 12-06-05
      I hope you will be as interested as I was to learn that Herman DeVry's great grandson, William DeVry, is active in the entertainment industry. I suspect his great grandfather would have been very proud of his offspring's successes. You can learn more about his story by visiting his homepage at:
William DeVry

Herman DeVry is reported to have died in 1941.
If you have any information on this pioneer aviator
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

BackBack Home