Overview of the Collection
Special Collections & Archives
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
P.O. Box 4004
105 Garfield Ave.
Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004
Reference Code: USGZE UHC386
Accession Number: 23-029
Collection Number: University Historical Collection 386
Creator: Robinson, Pearl, 1904-1979
Title: Pearl Robinson Papers
Dates: 1917 – 1978
Quantity: 2.5 linear feet (2 archives boxes, 1 flat box)
Location of Collection: B6/4g (Box 1-2), A7/1f (Box 3)
Languages: Collection materials are in English.
Summary: Photographs, letters, diplomas, books, and records of Pearl Robinson, a 1926 Eau Claire State Normal School teaching graduate. Records relate to her education, and during and after World War II her time as an instructor and organizer of Aeronautics courses in Washington D.C. high schools, Before You Fly: Essentials of Aeronautics books she co-authored, Certificate of Merit from the U.S. Navy, and the Trophy Award from the Washington Air Derby Association for her contributions to aviation education in public schools.
Pearl Robinson was born on August 19, 1904, in the town of Stanley, Chippewa County, Wisconsin, to Culver and Minnie Hayes Thurber. Culver Ralph Thurber separated from Minnie just a few years after the birth of Pearl and went on to remarry. Pearl maintained a close relationship with her mother until Minnie’s death in 1945. On April 15, 1922, Pearl married her first husband, George R. Ranow, who she described in multiple letters to her mother. She graduated from the Eau Claire State Normal School with a Teacher’s Diploma in Education in 1926. She graduated from George Washington University in 1927 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a minor in History. She then went on to teach at George Washington High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Around 1931, Pearl separated from George Ranow. In 1939 she graduated from George Washington University with a master’s degree in English and a minor in History. It is estimated that she married her second husband Vernon Lee Robinson in the early 1940s, but she separated from him in 1948. Pearl passed away in 1979.
Pearl was an instructor in Aeronautics in Washington D.C. Public Senior High Schools from 1941-1950. During this time, she helped to organize Aviation Courses that would be used all throughout the senior high schools in Washington D.C. She is also the leading author of the books Before You Fly: Essentials of Aeronautics and published many articles for professional magazines. She received the “Certificate of Merit” from the U.S. Navy in recognition of her work with students surrounding model aircrafts during World War II, as well as the Trophy Award from the Washington Air Derby Association for her contributions to aviation education in public schools. Pearl’s love of teaching aviation in public schools extended to flying, in which she had a license to fly planes and owned her own plane.
Contents in the collection include university diplomas, professional certificates, letters (primarily between Pearl and her mother and aunt), photographs from her career, a high school yearbook, miscellaneous documents, and three copies of Before You Fly: Essentials of Aeronautics, books she co-authored in 1942-1943. Contents of Box 1 were pulled from and replicate the order of Album 1 as it was when it was donated. Contents of Box 2 were pulled from and replicate the order of Album 2 as it was when it was donated.
Note: Within the collection, Pearl is spelled with and without an “e” on the end (Pearl vs. Pearle). “Pearl” appears on her birth certificate, obituary, personal papers, etc. while “Pearle” tends to appear on more of her professional materials. Her mother also went by two names: Minnie Hayes Thurber and also G. C. Kleckner.
Acquisition Information: Donated to the Special Collections & Archives, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire in May of 2023 by Mike Kneer, nephew of Pearl Robinson.
Access Restrictions: Collection is open to the public.
Use Restrictions: Most photographs are copyrighted by the photographer. This is shown on the backside of the photographs.
Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. Copyright not owned by the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.
Processing Note: Processed by Alexis Casares in October 2023.
Arrangement: Flat arrangement.
OCLC #: 1409624918
Kleckner, G. C.
Kneer, Jeanne Marie
Piper, William T.
Ranow, George R.
Robinson, Pearl Thurber
Thurber, Cecil Galvery
Thurber, Culver Ralph
Thurber, Minnie Hayes
Eau Claire State Normal School
George Washington University
Holcombe High School
Naval Air Reserve
Washington Air Derby Association
World War II
Eau Claire, Wis.
Naval Air Reserve Anacostia D.C.
Detailed List of Contents
“The Orange and Black” Stanley High School Yearbook
Photographs of the Washington Air Derby Association Trophy
Teaching Timeline and Certificates
1951 - 1964
Photographs of the Tours of Naval Air Reserve
1948 – 1950s
Photographs of Washington Airport Weather Tour
Photographs of Planes and Tours
Photographs of Teaching and Naval Marine Essay Contest Winners
1949 – 1950
Photographs of Students Working on Planes
Photographs of Naval Reserve Training Unit
Photographs of November Visit and Essay Contest
1949 – 1950
Photographs of the visit of William T. Piper
Names and Schools Envelopes
Photographs of Air Derby Trophy
Cards and Photographs
1923 – 1940
1946 – 1951, 1964 – 1977
Certificate of Insurance
1962 – 1976
1974 - 1978
1919 – 1925
Photographs of Funeral
1950 - 1977
Before You Fly Books (3)
1942 – 1943
Eau Claire State Normal School Diploma
George Washington University Diploma
Eau Claire State Normal School One Year License of Teaching
George Washington University Masters Diploma