Auburn University Special Collections & Archives Department

Aviation History On-Line Index

Earl Alexander Jr. Letters, RG 237

Date Span: 1942 - 1945
Size of Collection:
Biographical Sketch: Alexander was a second lieutenant with the 15th Squadron, 61st Group, US Army Air Force during World War II. He was stationed in Belgium, Brazil, North Africa, and France.
Scope / Contents: Collection consists of letters Alexander wrote to his parents during the war. They address flight training, military service, and his duty stations.

Auburn Astronauts Collection, RG 646

Date Span: 1982
Size of Collection:  0.75 cubic ft.
Biographical Sketch: Henry "Hank" Hartsfield and Thomas "Ken" Mattingly graduated from Auburn University and entered NASA's astronaut program.  After distinguished careers in the space program, they served as crew member and commander of the Columbia Four space shuttle mission in 1982.
Scope / Contents: Consists of newspaper clippings of the fourth test flight of the Columbia, documents, photographs of commander Thomas AKen@ Mattingly and Henry AHank@ W. Hartsfield, a NASA handbook, Space Shuttle news reference, press kits, hourly schedules of the space shuttle flight, and three Auburn mementoes that flew in space.

Johnny Bartek Papers, RG 528

Date Span: 1998
Size of Collection:  8 file folders
Biographical Sketch:  Bartek, a flight mechanic during World War II, was aboard the B-17 carrying Eddie Rickenbacker with a secret message from Sect. of War Henry Stimson to Gen Douglas MacArthur. The B-17 had to "ditch" into the Pacific Ocean, causing crew and passengers to be lost at sea for 21 days.
Scope / Contents: Contains audiotapes and transcripts of a speech Bartek gave at Auburn University and of an interview conducted with him by Dr. W. David Lewis and Dr. Dwayne Cox of Auburn University. Occurred November 19 & 20, 1998. Includes newspaper story about Bartek's visit to Auburn.

William R. Bomar Collection, RG 111

Date Span: 1988 - 1991
Size of Collection:  0.5 cubic ft.
Biographical Sketch: William R. Bomar was a veteran of the Army Air Corps from World War II and also a pilot for Eastern Air Lines.
Scope / Contents: Collection contains biographical information, an obituary, and eulogy for William R. Bomar. There is also a biographical sketch of his wife, Birdie P. Bomar, a Delta Air Lines flight attendant. Bomar's Eastern Air Lines Captain's cap is included.

Isham J. Dorsey, III, Papers, RG 832

Date Span: 1929 - 1988
Size of Collection:  1.5 cubic ft.
Biographical Sketch:  Dorsey was a native of Opelika, Alabama, and attended Alabama Polytechnic Institute. He was a combat pilot in the European Theatre in World War II with 44 combat missions. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war he was a commercial pilot and instructor, and later an accountant.
Scope / Contents: Papers include materials from flight school training, photographs, military orders, maps, a diary by Dorsey of D-Day June 1944, correspondence to Dorsey by family and friends during World War II, and miscellaneous items.

James S. Edwards Papers, RG 417

Date Span: 1944 - 1945
Size of Collection:  2 items
Biographical Sketch:  Edwards served as a radio operator in a U.S. Army Air Force bomber during World War II. He bailed out of his damaged plane and became a prisoner-of-war, held by Germans in Hungary.
Scope / Contents:  Collection contains a diary Edwards made from old German postcards, bound with leather thongs and wooden covers, describing his experiences as a prisoner of war and mentioning other P.O.W.s he met during his imprisonment. Also contains fourteen unfiltered cigarettes and a cigarette case Edwards made from scraps of tin formed into strips.

Peter Gushue Papers, RG 245

Date Span:  1928 - 1940
Size of Collection:  5 folders
Biographical Sketch: Peter Gushue was a doctoral student at University of Alabama. PANAGRA, his dissertation topic, was created in 1928 by W. R. Grace & Co. and Pan American Airways. Developed commercial aviation in Peru.
Scope / Contents: Photocopies of advertising material, flying schedules, route maps, articles and photographs. Transcripts of interviews with former employees.

R. L. Green Diaries, RG 412

Date Span:  1917 - 1918
Size of Collection:  2 items
Biographical Sketch:  Green served as a 2nd Lieutenant with the Royal Air Force during World War I.
Scope / Contents: Diaries contain details of Green's life as an aviator near the war zone in France during World War I.

Hampton Aviation Book Company Collection, RG 831

Date Span: 1789 - 1970
Size of Collection:  3 cubic ft. + ca. 6000 serials and monographs.
Biographical Sketch: Ben Hamilton founded the Hampton Aviation Book Co. at Hampton Bays, Long Island, NY in 1946. He collected books and archival materials on aviation history to resell. The business later moved to Newberry, SC.
Scope / Contents: Includes postcards, clippings, still photographs, posters, artifacts, brochures, and specification manuals related to aviation in the U.S. and Europe, particularly Germany. Bulk of the material pertains to twentieth century, World Wars I and II. Contains information on commercial aviation and pre-airplane manned flight.

Stanley G. Ivins Papers, RG 355

Date Span:  1942 - 1944
Size of Collection:  7 file folders
Biographical Sketch:  Ivins served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. He worked his way through the ranks from private to lieutenant, and was stationed in Jefferson, Mo., Lincoln, Neb., Wayne, Penn., Boca Raton, and Orlando, Fla.
Scope / Contents:  Consists of letters Ivins wrote to his wife, Greta, and parents, about his life on various duty stations. Also contains a photograph of Ivins in uniform.

General Robert Knapp Papers, RG 835

Date Span: 1971 - 1987
Size of Collection:  1.5 cubic ft.
Biographical Sketch:  Knapp had a 36 year career in the U. S. military, beginning with the 92nd Bombardment Squadron in World War I. He held a number of assignments between the wars, and in World War II commanded the 321st Bombardment Group. In 1943 the 321st saw service in North Africa, and Knapp won a Silver Star for an unescorted attack on an Axis ship convoy. In 1944 he commanded the 57th Bomb Wing and was promoted to brigadier general.
Scope / Contents: Collection includes newspaper clippings and photographs of Knapp, veterans' newsletters of the 57th Bomb Wing, and Knapp's tape recorded recollections of his life as a military aviator.

Mary Krakora Papers, RG 420

Date Span:  1942 - 1944
Size of Collection:  12 file folders
Biographical Sketch:  Mary Krakora became pen pals with 12 U.S. Army Air Forces service men during World War II. She lived in Cleveland, Oh.
Scope / Contents:  Consists of letters from each of Krakora's pen pals about their lives on U. S. Army bases during World War II. Some of the correspondents discuss airplanes, mechanics, and accidents.

Charles Lindbergh Letters, RG 189

Date Span:  1970 - 1971
Size of Collection:  2 letters
Biographical Sketch: Lindbergh achieved fame by flying "The Spirit of St. Louis" nonstop from Long Island to Paris in 1927. Within 2 years, he took "The Spirit" on several promotional flights around the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Islands. Auburn University history professor Wesley P. Newton corresponded with Lindbergh about these promotional flights while researching his book, "The Perilous Sky," published in 1978.
Scope / Contents: Collection contains 2 letters from Lindbergh critiquing and explaining specific ideas and passages in Newton's book draft.
Inventory  [Duplication restricted]

Colonel George E. Lovell Jr. Papers,  RG 204

Date Span:  1916 - 1972
Size of Collection:  0.25 cubic ft.
Biographical Sketch:  Lovell became a U.S. Army Air Corps cadet in 1916. He served during the punitive mission to Mexico, World War I, and World War II.
Scope / Contents:  Documents Lovell's training and service through his pilot's log book (1916-26), acrobatic flying certificate, and AEF pilot's identification card. Also contains correspondence and photographs from his military days, and an obituary.

E. T. Maksin Letters, RG 421

Date Span:  1951 - 1953
Size of Collection:  14 items
Biographical Sketch:  "Max" Maksin served as a sergeant in the 307th Bomb Group, 371st Bomb Squadron of the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. He trained in Omaha, Neb., and Topeka, Kan., and was stationed in Okinawa. In 1952 he participated in the bombing of North Korea.
Scope / Contents:  Consists of letters Maksin wrote to Arlene Smick of South Euclid, Ohio, about his training and service during the Korean War.

Military at Auburn Collection,  RG 317

Date Span:  1917 - 1960
Size of Collection:  1.5 cubic ft.
Biographical Sketch: Because it is a land-grant university, Alabama Polytechnic Institute and its successor, Auburn University, required all male students to enlist in military training until ca. 1968. The military has a long tradition at Auburn as a result.
Scope / Contents:  Consists of materials relating primarily to World War II and its effects on Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University), but covers other aspects of miltary training at API, 1917-1960. Contains correspondence, official releases and directives, reports, bulletins, memoranda, newspaper clippings, photographs, and pamphlets.

George Augustus Miller Collection,  RG 919

Date Span:  1940 - 1991
Size of Collection:  2 items
Biographical Sketch:  Miller was an armorer during World War II. A graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology who received his master's from Auburn University, Miller designed inexpensive manganese molybdenum bullet cores for the U.S. Government, as well as inexpensive tracers for aerial .50 caliber machine guns. Commissioned a lt. colonel in 1942, then colonel in 1945, to oversee the Small Arms Department of the Frankford (Ct.) Arsenal. He received the Legion of Merit for his work.
Scope / Contents:  Collection contains a display box of bullets designed by Miller, including cutaway and intact views, as well as casings. There is also an article written about Miller by David O. Whitten.

John Herbert Orr Papers,  RG 717

Date Span:  1940 - 1984
Size of Collection:  180 cubic ft.
Biographical Sketch:  Orr, a native of Lee County, Ala., was a significant figure in the sound recording industry. He worked at radio station WAPI while in high school during the 1920s, and founded WJHO in Opelika, Ala., in 1940. Orr served in the U.S. Army Psychological Warfare Division during World War II and was responsible for capturing German magnetic recording equipment and personnel.
Began producing magnetic tape under name of ORRadio Industries after war, then merged with Ampex Corp. in 1959. Pioneer in "electronic church" of 1950s, advocated use of radio and television by Methodists. Lay leader in Alabama-West Florida Methodist Conference during turbulent civil rights era.
Scope / Contents: Very diverse collection includes correspondence, legal and financial documents, business records, copies of patents and scientific journal articles from North American and Europe, technical notes, recording equipment and blueprints, pamphlets, scrapbooks, church records, tape recorded sermons and speeches by Orr and others.

Henry Stanford Persons Collection,  RG 936

Date Span:  1938 - 1992
Size of Collection:  0.33 cubic ft.
Biographical Sketch: Henry S. Persons was a career sailor in the U.S. Navy who rose to the rank of Admiral. He saw combat and received a number of citations for actions in World War II and the Korean War. He received military and civilian citations into the 1970s for his ongoing contributions.
Scope / Contents: Consists of military and civilian citations and medals; correspondence; photographs of Persons, the crew of Gemini 8, and Admiral Chester Nimitz signing the Japanese surrender documents that ended World War II (autographed); Person's identification card as a member of the UN Armistice team in Korea, and his short autobiography.

Fred Pfeiffer Letters, RG 354

Date Span:  1918 - 1919
Size of Collection:  65 items
Biographical Sketch: Pfeiffer served as the top sergeant in the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War I. He spent the war training soldiers in aviation signal work from bases in Texas, Nebraska, and California.
Scope / Contents: Consists of letters Pfeiffer wrote to his wife, Genevieve Pfeiffer of Brooklyn, NY, describing his life and work in the army.

Benjamin A. Pierson Letters,  RG 276

Date Span:  1942 - 1943
Size of Collection:  148 items
Biographical Sketch: Pierson served as a corporal in the U.S. Air Force, 63rd Air Service Group, 376th Air Service Squadron during World War II.
Scope / Contents: Consists of letters Pierson wrote to his wife from air bases in Galena, Wash., Oakland, Cal., O'Fallon Field, Ill., and other bases.

Donald Piper Letters, RG 402

Date Span:  1951
Size of Collection:  52 items
Biographical Sketch:  Piper served as a private in the U.S. Army's 11th Airborne Division during the Korean War. Chronic asthma and a broken leg kept him in the Fort Campbell, Ky., hospital until his discharge in June 1951.
Scope / Contents:  Consists of letters Piper wrote to his parents in Ithaca, NY, providing insights into army hospital life.

Robert G. Pitts Papers, RG 763

Date Span:  1916 - 1982
Size of Collection:  0.25 cubic ft.
Biographical Sketch: Pitts served forty-four years on the aerospace engineering faculty at Auburn university from 1935-1979. This included the position of head Professor of Aerospace Engineering, and Director of the Auburn School of Aviation.
Scope / Contents: This principally includes clippings related to his career, and a small selection of related photographs. No correspondence or other personal materials are included.

Eddie Rickenbacker Papers, RG 101

Date Span: 
Size of Collection:  26.5 cubic ft.
Biographical Sketch:  Eddie V. Rickenbacker was an early car racer and salesman who became famous as the American "Ace of Aces" for his aviation exploits in World War I.  His fame allowed him to move inside important business, social, and political circles.  In 1922 he and Adelaide Frost Durant married, and they adopted sons David and William before the end of the decade.  Rickenbacker was a principal in the Rickenbacker Motor Car Company, owned the Indianapolis Speedway, and was CEO of Eastern Airlines until 1963.  He performed important national security duties during World War II.  Rickenbacker died in 1973.
Scope / Contents: Collection documents the lives of the Rickenbacker family, particularly Eddie Vernon Rickenbacker.  Contains scrapbooks and newspaper clippings, photographs, sound recordings, 16 mm motion pictures, correspondence, diaries, legal documents in original and copies, condolence letters upon Eddie's death, maps, declassified reports to Army Air Force in World War II, other various reports of travels, affidavits taken by movie studio regarding loss of Eddie at sea, publications by and about members of the Rickenbacker, material relative to the Rickenbacker Motor Car Company, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Eastern Air Lines.

Marcia Rickenbacker Collection, RG 344

Date Span:  1942 - 1998
Size of Collection:  14 items
Biographical Sketch:  Marcia Rickenbacker is the granddaughter of Capt. Eddie and Adelaide Rickenbacker.
Scope / Contents:  Contains 9 photocopies of photographs of Eddie Rickenbacker's rescue after being lost at sea in 1942. Also contains one film print and a videotape copy of the movie "Captain Eddie," and two audiocasettes and a transcript of an interview with Marcia conducted by Dr. David Lewis of Auburn University. Interview discusses last days of Eddie and Adelaide Rickenbacker and a general family history.

Willy O Rossel Collection, RG 570

Date Span:  1920 - 2000 (bulk: 1965 - 1985)
Size of Collection:  6.5 cubic ft.
Biographical Sketch:  Willy Rossel, a native of Switzerland, was a professional chef who spent the bulk of his career in the United States. He served as a consulting chef to a number of organizations and Executive Chef and Director of Food Service Planning for Pan American World Airways in Miami, Florida (1982-1985) and Braniff Airways in Dallas, Texas (1965-1980). He was also involved in a number of professional organizations including the American Federation of Chefs and the American Culinary Federation.
Scope / Contents:  Includes menus, business files, correspondence, and photographs, most of which concern the feeding of airline passengers. The bulk of the material covers the years 1965-1985.

Self-Indexing Photograph Collection, RG 713

Date Span: ca. 1950 -- Present
Size of Collection:  ca. 5000 items
Historical Sketch: Artificial collection of modern photographs that have arrived in the repository with little or no provenance.
Scope / Contents: Photographic prints of people and places associated with Auburn University and east Alabama.  Includes aeronautics and aviation related prints.

Selleck Family Papers, RG 281

Date Span:  1916 - 1920
Size of Collection:  8 folders
Biographical Sketch:  Three Selleck brothers served in World War I: Laurence in 1st Army (aerial) Observation Group, Melville in U.S. Navy, and Norman in 311th Infantry, AEF. Norman may have been killed in combat.
Scope / Contents:  Five folders of Laurence's letters from front describing his job as an aerial observer and his view of the war, one folder of Melville's letters describing naval life and German U-Boat warfare, one letter from Norman about trench warfare, and one folder of miscellaneous letters.

Stillwell / Summers Family Letters, RG 401

Date Span: 1942 -- 1944
Size of Collection: 30 items
Biographical Sketch: Nelson Stillwell and Ralph Summers served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Recipients of these letters were Nelson's sister, Grace Summers, and her husband, Ralph's brother Leonard Summers, of Towanda, Penn. Nelson completed basic training at Keesler Field, Miss, then shipped to Illinois, Washington DC, and Atlantic City en route to England. Ralph was in Denver then traveled through the southern U.S. en route to India.
Scope / Contents: Contains 26 letters w/ covers, postcards, and V-mails sent by Stillwell and Summers to family members. Pertain to life and training in the Air Corps and to the places they traveled through. Four other letters are from a family friend and two other family members.

Andrew W. Stohrer Papers,  RG 247

Date Span:  1942 - 1946
Size of Collection:  290 items
Biographical Sketch: Stohrer, an accountant from Syracuse, NY, in civilian life, served as a captain in the US Marine Aircraft Group 23 during World War II.
Scope / Contents: Papers consist of various official personal documents and 255 letters Stohrer wrote to his wife and family from Quantico, Vir., and the Pacific Theater during his Marine service.

Donald R. Taggart Letters, RG 234

Date Span: 1944 - 1945
Size of Collection:  385 items.
Biographical Sketch: Lt. Donald R. Taggart, from New Jersey, served with Staff, Fleet Air Wing 2, US Naval Air Force, during World War II.
Scope / Contents: Contains long, intelligent letters from Taggart to his family describing his life in the service and describing his duty stations during the final year of World War II.

James S. Thomas Family Papers, RG 284

Date Span:  1939 - 1946
Size of Collection:  ca. 250 letters
Biographical Sketch:  James Thomas left college in March of 1941 to enter the army as an aviation cadet.  By August 1945, he was a corporal in Squadron C in the 554th Army Air Force Unit.  Throughout his army career, James held various positions such as a truck driver, auto mechanic, airplane mechanic, and finally as an aerial engineer.  He lived on numerous U.S. bases such as Fort Warren, Wyoming; Santa Ana, California; Fort Stockton, Texas; Bakersfield, California; Fort Sumner, New Mexico; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Memphis, Tennessee.
Scope / Contents: Letters written by James and Anita Thomas to their parents, Allen and Anna Thomas of Scotch Plains, New Jersey, from the University of Wyoming (1939-1941) and from military bases (1941-1946).  His letters contain knowledgeable detail about how airplanes work, what he did during flight, and life on U.S. Army bases during World War II.

United States Air Force Oral History Interviews,  RG 250

Date Span:  1974 - 1988
Size of Collection:  42 items
Scope / Contents: Transcripts (42) of interviews with Air Force senior commanders covering topics in military history from World War I through the Vietnam War era. Interviewees discuss their experiences in these eras and their rises through the chain of command. Some interviews are general, covering military, industrial, and political issues. Others are more specific; they deal with military medicine, family life, and the POW experience in World War II and Vietnam.

University Aviation Association Records, RG 675

Date Span: 1947 - 1979
Size of Collection:  2 cubic ft.
Organizational Sketch: In 1947 the National Association of University Administrators of Aviation Education was founded as a non-profit organization to promote university aviation education. The name changed to the University Aviation Association in 1949.
Scope / Contents: Collection documents history of association from 1947 founding through 1979. Includes correspondence, curriculum research, board and annual meeting minutes, membership information, newsletters, financial reports, governing documents, association histories, and photographs.

John W. Wilkey Jr. Papers, RG 236

Date Span:  1942 - 1946
Size of Collection:  1 cubic ft.
Biographical Sketch: Wilkey, a native of Camden, NJ., served with the 9th Photo Tech Squadron of the Army Air Force during and immediately after World War II.
Scope / Contents: Contains letters to Wilkey from his brother and a soldier, and from Wilkey to his wife, written during World War II. They discuss home life, and life in the Army, as well as post-war plans. Wilkey's letters home are posted from Chanute Field, Ill., Fort Dix, NJ., Keesler Field, Miss., Greensboro, NC., Camp Shanks, NY., and Erlangen, Germany. Also contains photographs and negatives of base life.

Hank L. Winand Diary, RG 413

Date Span:  1944
Size of Collection:  Diary (33 pages) + Photo identification pin.
Biographical Sketch: Winand served with the US Army Air Force, 445th Bomb Group, 700th Bomb Squadron in World War II. He flew thirty missions over France and Germany as a waist gunner on a B-24.
Scope / Contents: Diary describes bombing missions over France and Germany between June and September 1944.

Walter Zygmond Diary, RG 415

Date Span:  1936 - 1945
Size of Collection:  Diary (365 pages)
Biographical Sketch: Diary contains entries for 1936 describing civilian life in New Jersey, and entries for 1943-1945 describing military life and action.
Scope / Contents: Zygmond served with the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. He was stationed in Tunis, Algeria, and Italy.

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