In December 1990, James Hill, editor of the 8th AF News, the newsletter for the Eighth Air Force Historical Society (8AFHS) contacted the head of Historical Collections and Labor Archives, inquiring about the donation of materials to the archives. Mr. Hill had retained manuscripts, books, and photographs that were submitted to the 8AF News, that he felt needed to be preserved for historical research and posterity. A former instructor at Penn State for ten years, Mr. Hill decided on the University Libraries' Historical Collections and Labor Archives as the designated repository for establishing an archive devoted to the history of the 8th Air Force. On October 28, 1991, an agreement was reached to formally establish the Eighth Air Force Archive, along with a gift for preservation and maintenance of the collection. The agreement provided for 8th Air Force members to forward their materials to Mr. Hill, who then delivered them to the archives, until his death in 1998.
The Eighth Air Force Memorial Museum Foundation (8AFMMF), the educational arm of the 8AFHS, currently coordinates the acquisition and transfer of historical materials from veterans to the Eighth Air Force Archive at Penn State. The Foundation provides gifts toward the preservation and growth of the collection. In 1998, donors George and Sherry Petska Middlemas established the Albert M. Petska Libraries Endowment to honor the memory of their respective fathers, both 8th Air Force veterans. The Petska Endowment provides for new book acquisitions and defrays processing and preservation costs associated with the Eighth Air Force Archive.
Through the years, associated organizations and individual members of the Eighth Air Force have contributed their own books, memorabilia, scrapbooks, photo albums and other holdings to the archive.