McDonnell, James (Smith)(1899–1980) aerospace industrialist; born in Denver, Colo. After earning degrees at Princeton and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he worked as an aeronautical engineer, pilot, and stress analyst, setting up an airplane company in 1928. In 1939 he founded the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, manufacturer of military and naval aircraft and Mercury and Gemini space capsules.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.