Scott Skinner
From Discourse 12

How long does it take to curate a collection and put it up online? The Drachen Fo u n d a t io n c a n n o w s p e a k f r o m experience, and the answer is not pretty – almost 10 years!

In a small organization it takes a fair amount of prioritization to make sure things get done. So it was with the Cody Collection, purchased for the Foundation at the Sotheby’s auction in 1996 (see the Drachen Foundation Kite Journal #25 [2]). Taking care of the glass-plate negatives, photographs, papers, and actual kites has been an ongoing priority from which we

have learned many of our archival practices.

But making the collection truly useful has been another problem completely. The Foundation has traveled several of the kites for study, it has shipped copies of the paper archive, and it has offered Cody kite plans for sale. All these efforts have been appreciated, but have been aimed at a few recipients. Putting the archive online would drastically increase the number of people worldwide with access to this information.

It is with great pride that I announce that the Cody Collection is now online at the Drachen Foundation website.

Circumstances contributed to the success of this project. Simon Bond was our almost- full-time summer intern, there was a break in Drachen projects, and new computer capacity was added. With Simon driving the train, documents were scanned, photos digitized, and kites photographed. Simon also traveled to England to work with Cody experts Jean Roberts and Paul Chapman to annotate the photo collection. This was a massive job which will be a continuing work-in-progress as more information surfaces from Cody enthusiasts worldwide.

So now it’s up to you, the user, to give us feedback on the archive. If you have additional information about any pictures or documents, we’d like to hear it. The Foundation will post its policy on the use and reproduction of all archival items.


  1. FRMS stands for Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society. Cody was made a Fellow in November of 1902, following his meteorological kiting experiments in Newcastle that same year.
  2. “Cody Collection Coup“in the Drachen Foundation Kite Journal: