Clarence E. Smalley (1887-1968) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Clarence E. Smalley (1887-1968)
Fuller Form: Clarence Eugene Smalley

Historical Note:

Clarence Eugene Smalley (1887-1968) had a fascinating life.  Before World War I, he was an educator, and Principal of a high school in Crystal Lake, MN.  Sometime in late 1917 or 1918, he joined the aviation branch of the U.S. Army, then formally known as the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps.  For training, he was sent to the School of Military Aeronautics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of six "ground schools" set up at American universities to train aspiring pilots in military operations before their advancement to flight school.

Later, he was stationed in Texas at Camp Dick and Carruthers Field for further training.  It is unknown if he ever served overseas, in France or anywhere else, as a letter from his father puts him still in training on November 1st, 1918, only 11 days before the Armistice. 

After his service, he was an engineer, working as the city engineer for Charles City, Iowa, for many years.  He was married to Ida Treanor Smalley (1899-1985), they had no children.  He died in 1968, following injuries sustained in a tornado, and is buried in Charles City, IA.

Sources: Correspondence from Vicky Selberg Rossander, great-niece and donor of the Clarence E. Smalley Papers. Jordan, Angela. "School of Military Aeronautics," Student Life and Culture Archives Blog, September 29th, 2014,; Letters in Smalley Papers.
Note Author: Spenser Bailey

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