Early Aviation Publicist and Motion Picture Production Pioneer
Editor of Aero Digest, The World`s Greatest Aeronautical Magazine
Frank Aloysius Tichenor was born 22 May 1880 to George W. and Elizabeth Tichenor in Gethsemanie Kentucky. He was a graduate of Villanova College.
The 1905 Burlington New Jersey census listed Frank Tichenor as 25 years old, a photographer living with his parents.
Around this time he came to New York and joined the Motion Picture Industry. He was the president of General Film in its hey day and fought through the bitter patents war which resulted in independants breaking General`s monopoly.
Tichenor formed Eastern Film Corporation from what was left of General Film. From 1919 to 1929 Eastern produced educational and industrial films. Tichenor is credited with producing the first cancer awareness educational film, "The Reward of Courage" in 1921, for the American Society for the Control of Cancer.
He married Lillian Stott 27 Jan 1913. Her Father Alex Stott was born in Scotland and her Mother was Frida Stott born in Sweden. There was one child born, Frank A. Tichenor Jr. July 8, 1913.
|Frank & Frank Jr. , From the Frank Tichenor scrapbook|
|Frank A. Tichenor Jr. while attending St. Thomas` Academy NY|
The 1915 New York census lists Frank Tichenor Sr. as a manufacturer of motion pictures.
|Letter with cartoon to his son on Jaxon Film Corp. Envelope|
|Letter with cartoon to his son on Eastern Motion Picture Co. envelope|
1922 finds Tichenor interested in aviation. He organized the Aeronautical Digest Publishing Company which published Aero Digest, the most respected technical magazine in its field. Other aviation publications include the Revista Aerea, Spanish edition of the Digest circulated in Latin America, The Sportsman Pilot and the Weekly Letter to Airmen. He also published Plumbing and Heating Journal and The Spur.
He was friends with the early fliers Billy Mitchell, Gen. Henry "Hap"Arnold, Gen. Ben Foulois, Admiral John Henry Towers, Charles Lindberg and referred to them as "my boys". He was friends with Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Harding & Coolidge. He was a supporter and friend of Fiorello La Guardia.
|Sept. 14, 1925 Frank A. Tichenor left, President Coolidge & Eddie Rickenbacker center|
July 1925 Tichenor was on committee for the National Air Race at Mitchell Field Long Island Oct. 8, 9 & 10 with Pulitzer Trophy as the prize during the National Aeronautic Association Convention.
|Frank A. Tichenor`s Aero Digest Special Daily Bulletin for New York 1925 Air Races|
|Letter with cartoon to his son on Aero Digest envelope|
|Byrd Arctic Expedition Medal 1926|
Jack Frye, founder of Aero Corp., which became Standard Airlines in 1927 and Standard consolidated with Western Air Express to form Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA). Jack Frye was the first President of TWA.
|Signed by Jack Frye first President of TWA|
In 1927 Tichenor`s wife Lillian hired a private investigator to trail Tichenor and get evidence of his cheating so she could file for divorce.
In 1929, Tichenor married Jessie E. Horsfall in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Jessie Evelyn Horsfall was a 1915 graduate of Randolph Macon Women`s College in Lynchburg Virginia. By 1927, she was an editor at Aero Digest.
|Jessie E. Horsfall 1913, later, editor of Aero Digest|
There was a newspaper article in 1937 which stated that Lillian Tichenor was having an affair with the private investigator she had hired 10 years before and had moved several times to be close to Gerard Luisi. Luisis` wife sued for seperation. Lillian married Gerard Luisi.
July 1939, The Early Birds Eastern Division, aviators who flew before 1916, presented Frank Tichenor a scroll in recognition of his services to aviation and commemorated Peter Carne`s first balloon ascent 150 years ago in Baltimore. Tichenor said he would soon present a collection of 300 items on aviation to the Early Birds Museum at Dearborn Michigan.
The 1941 Associated Press name card index to AP stories lists him as Chairman of Advisory Committee to Federal Civil Aeronautics Authority, criticizes defense factory workers who demand higher wages.
June 1947 Tichenor received the W. J. McGough memorial Award from Air Services Post 501, American Legion for his contributions nto the development of aviation.
May 4, 1950 Frank A. Tichenor dies unexpectedly in his home in Greenwich Connecticut.
Sept. 1950 Aero Digest was sold to Lincoln Press Inc. of Washington.
After Frank Tichenor died at their home in Connecticut, Jessie Horsfall Tichenor moved to Exmore Virginia on the Eastern Shore of VA. She traveled abroad and lived to be 93. She died in 1988 and is buried in St. Georges Episcopal Church Cemetery in Pungoteague Virginia. The Frank A. Tichenor scrapbook was found in her home and sold in an estate sale along with a wealth of historical items from the Tichenor collection.
This man lived in an exciting time and seized every opportunity to do what he loved. He contributed so much to film and aviation and he should be remembered.
I hope that this blog will raise awareness for forgotten history, for those people who were pioneers in the technology that made this country great. Don`t give up on your dreams. Read more, learn more, aspire to be great.
Here is a link to some of the Frank A. Tichenor scrapbook items I have for sale in my ebay store. It is my hope that an aviation museum or a donor would be interested in purchasing the remaining items from the Tichenor scrapbook and putting them on display in a museum.
Reference sources for this blog are from my own research, the New York Times and Ancestry.com