Barbara L. Sellers - Author/ Speaker/Philanthropist


Barbara's First Aviation History Book in 2010 
About her Grandfather Matthew B. Sellers, II 
  Barbara Sellers visits Veterans at the VA Hospital in Huntington, WV
and donates a book to each of them on Christmas Day 2009

 As a child, Barbara Sellers would look up at the sky in fascination of flight and astronomy. As she grew older, she learned more about her grandfather, the inventor of retractable landing gear, who took the first powered flight in the commonwealth of Kentucky.
"Every time I was at an airport I would look at the planes noses, and it looked like they were smiling," Sellers said. "I wish that Matthew was alive to see what has come of aviation."
Matthew B. Sellers was her grandfather and the subject of her book, "A Moment in Time". Matthew was born in Baltimore and spent most of his life in Kentucky pursuing his studies and inventions in aviation. Sellers said not only did she learn more about her grandfather's work through writing the book but she also learned more about him as a person.
Barbara's first book "A Moment in Time" 

 "He was very quiet. In his diaries, when he was going to meet a girl, he would draw a big empty circle because he didn't want people to know about that kind of stuff," Sellers said. "He suffered from migraines. There are days where his diaries will say, 'Headache today."
Through her travels for book signings and other events, Sellers has used the book's profits to help others in need. "It's been a really big opportunity to give back," Sellers said. "I gave to The Grahn Community Center, near my grandfather's home.  Kids on average were only having one meal a day. They were just ravaged last year by all of the floods, and it's really bad down there."
Over Christmas of 2010, Sellers visited Kentucky again and donated to the Olive Hill Historical Society. Her donation will cover the insurance costs of her grandfather's artifacts.
In addition to monetary and book donations, Sellers says she enjoys spending time with children from the area and teaching them the history behind aviation. 
"In May, I may be traveling to Holland for a kite workshop where I'll give a talk about some of the work Matthew did," Sellers said. "My book is selling in Germany, England and the Netherlands."
She has been named a Kentucky Colonel by the Commonwealth of Kentucky by Governor Beshear and an Admiral by the Department of Energy.
Barbara L. Sellers and Governor Beshear, Commonwealth of Kentucky,
June 2010, accepting the honor of being made a Kentucky Colonel

 Since her childhood, Barbara Sellers, granddaughter of Matthew B. Sellers, II, has been fascinated with flight and about her grandfather, one of America’s well respected aviation pioneers, whom she never got to know. Over the last decade she has spent her spare time collecting information on Matthew. In 1969, when she was a child, most of the artifacts on Matthew B. Sellers were donated to theSmithsonian Institute, in Washington, D.C., by her father and uncle.

Barbara states that there is mounting evidence that the Wright Brothers did not take the first powered flight and has dedicated one chapter to the other aviation pioneers.

In this chapter you will see just how many did in fact fly before the Wright’s. Barbara states that there was a “cover up”, as she explains about that period of time stating that “certain persons” kept things quiet and pushed the Wright Brothers into the limelight with the help of the press. “It is my hope that Matthew’s contemporaries of that time will soon be recognized for their efforts and achievements and the readers are just as surprised as I was finding out the real truth about all the other aviators in the late 1800’s”.

“My grandfather did not have the first powered flight in America, but did have the first powered flight in Kentucky on Dec 28, 1908, which is well documented in his lab and diary notes”. He was the inventor of the retractable landing gear, which he invented in 1908 and patented in 1911.

In this book you will find one of the most comprehensive compilations of original laboratory notes, diaries, diagrams, over 100 pictures of his gliders and quadraplanes, engines, propellers and other interesting artifacts. She talks about his childhood up through to his death in 1932. Included are numerous articles on the “The Lift and Drift of Arched Surfaces”, which he was the first to prove, and other articles he authored for three different magazines of that time.

Barbara is a Vice Regent with the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Signal Hill Chapter in Barrington, Illinois. This is where she learned about Honor Flight Chicago and is very involved with them in writing letters to our veterans who take the trip to Washington, D.C to see the WWII Memorial.  

Barbara frequently travels down to Carter County, Kentucky to visit Matthew’s Estate “Blakemore” and to visit her many new friends. You can visit her website at for more information on upcoming events and a recently published documentary on Matthew’s life, available on DVD, created and produced by Tony Collier of Grayson, Kentucky.

"My grandfather on my mother's side, Clark Robinson, was in both World War I and World War II," Sellers said. "He was a prisoner of war in Germany and escaped. My great uncle, Albert A. Robinson, wrote a series of journals chronicling the experiences of the war along with collecting letters written to their wives at home." I hope to publish this in the near future.
Sellers also plans to compile a portfolio of her mother's watercolor paintings.  Her mother, Gail Sellers, painted in southern California where she was a well known local artist until she died of colon cancer in 2004.  Seller says she will donate a portion of the  proceeds from the watercolor compilation to colon cancer research. 
In addition to writing, she is a licensed and practicing real estate agent who also spent time as a licensed paramedic for four years. She also is an Executive Assistant at a major Corporation here in Chicago since 2008.



December 3, 2010 "Christmas on the Hill" event. Barbara donated $5,000 to the Olive Hill Historical Society. It was a very tearful event, as they had just shown a slide show of the destruction that the terrible floods in the spring had caused in that town.


December 2010 - Barbara donated $5,000 to the Aviation Museum of Kentucky
to help restore her grandfather's quadraplane replica. 


Linda Lowe, President of the Olive Hill Historical Society, Libby Smith and Barbara.

Libby donated back to Barbara and the Olive Hill Historical Society one of Matthew's propellers.  


Senator Robin Webb, Barbara Sellers and Starlene Harris of the Grahn Community Center. Barbara donated a check for $1,000 which the corporation that Barbara works for matched it 3:1 making the total donation to them at $4,000. 

"So now it is February of 2011 and my dream of realizing this book on my mother's watercolors has become a reality. I am so proud of her work and she was so well known in the Newport Beach area of California for her works.  All proceeds of this little book will go to help colon cancer research minus the printing costs. If you have any questions please email me at


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