The Dave Abrams and Gene Banning Pan Am Research Grant

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  • Application deadline: Sept 21, 2023
Wings over the world
Wings over the world

The Pan Am Historical Foundation announces the sixteenth annual Dave Abrams and Gene Banning Pan Am Research Grant competition. Up to $3,000 will be awarded to support a research or creative project using the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records held by the University of Miami Libraries’ Special Collections. This grant honors two of Pan Am’s most avid historians, Dave Abrams and Gene Banning.

Since its first international flight in 1927, Pan Am positioned itself as a world leader in American commercial aviation. The Pan Am records date from 1927 to the 1990s and include administrative and financial files, technical and research reports, public relations and promotional materials, internal publications including newsletters, journals and press releases, and thousands of photographs.

The grant is open to independent or affiliated scholars or artists, advanced graduate students, and faculty across disciplines. Consideration will be given to applicants from within and beyond academia, and priority will be given to research proposals that will result in publication in any media.

Now Accepting Applications

Application deadline: Sept 21, 2023

Application Procedures

Applicants must submit a proposal of no more than two pages describing their project and must include a curriculum vitae, résumé, and/or bio. Pan Am Historical Foundation Board Members and UM librarians sit on the selection committee.

Please send inquiries and applications to:

The Dave Abrams & Gene Banning Pan Am Research Grant
c/o Robin Potter Nolasco
University of Miami Libraries
1300 Memorial Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33146-0320

(note: the recipient will be announced one month after the deadline and the successful applicant will have until May 2024 fulfill their grant requirement. Please be reminded that this is a travel grant, if the chosen applicant is unable to travel to Miami between October 2023 and May 2024, the award will have to go to the next person).

About Dave Abrams and Gene Banning

After graduating from the University of Miami, Dave Abrams (1919-2005) joined Pan American Airways and worked for 42 years as a meteorologist, navigator and Director of Flight Operations for Latin America. Abrams was instrumental in the formation of The Pan Am Historical Foundation after the company shut its doors in 1991, and in finding a home for the Pan Am’s archives and memorabilia.

Gene Banning (1918-2006) was one of the longest serving pilots for Pan Am. His aviation days started with the infamous flying boats in 1941 and ended with Boeing 747s in 1978. An avid researcher, Banning was a guiding member of The Pan Am Historical Foundation from its inception and the author of Airlines of Pan American since 1927 (McLean, Va.: Paladwr, 2001).

About the Pan Am Historical Foundation and the University of Miami Libraries

The Pan Am Historical Foundation is a group dedicated to preserving the heritage of Pan American World Airways. For more information about the Foundation, visit The Special Collections of the University of Miami Libraries preserves and provides access to research materials focusing on the history and culture of Florida, the Caribbean and Latin America. The Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records consists of hundreds of boxes of materials and reigns as the most avidly consulted single resource in Special Collections. For more information about the Special Collections of the University of Miami Libraries, visit

Past Winners

  • 2019: Elizabeth Manley, “Imagining the Tropics: Women, the Professionalization of Caribbean Tourism, and the Conjuring of Island Fantasy, 1890 – 1980”
  • 2018: Henry Knight Lozano, “The Flights That Bind: Pan Am’s California-to-Hawai’i Route & Hawaiian Promotion and Statehood, 1936-1966”
  • 2017: Bryce Evans, “Pan Am: A Gastronomic History”
  • 2016: Sean Seyer, “Independent Internationalism in the Air: Pan American Airlines, the Pan American Union, and the 1928 Havana Convention”
  • 2015: Josue Sakata, Boston Public School Primary Source Sets
  • 2014: Hadassah St. Hubert, “Visions of a Modern Nation: Haiti at the World’s Fairs”
  • 2013: Ken Fortenberry & Gregg Herken, “Point of No Return: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Clipper”
  • 2012: Felipe F. Cruz, “Flight of the Toucans: Technology and Culture in the Brazilian Airspace”
  • 2012: Gordon H Pirie examined Pan Am’s role in civil aviation to, and from, in post-colonial Africa
  • 2011: Jonathan Ruano, “Pan American Airways, the South Atlantic Route and Rise of the American Empire”
  • 2010: Houston Johnson, “Taking Off: The Politics and Culture of American Aviation, 1927-1929”
  • 2009: Augustine Meaher “Pan Am Arrives Down Under: A Diplomatic and Aeronautical Accomplishment”
  • 2009: Roger Turner, “Pan-Am’s Contribution to the Development of Aeronautical Meteorology”
  • 2007: Jennifer Van Vleck “No Distant Places: Aviation and American Globalism, 1924-1968”