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Penn State University Libraries
Christening "Happy Bottom"

Scope and Content

 

The Eighth Air Force Archive consists of approximately 110 cubic feet of records, over 500 audio and videotapes, and hundreds of artifacts.  It is organized into seven subgroups: individual’s collections, veteran’s groups and memorial societies, photograph collection, book collection, audio-visual collection, newsletter collection, and images.  Several series exist within each of the subgroups.  Many individuals have donated their papers and other veteran’s papers to the collection and are listed in the inventory.  Members of the veteran’s groups, the Eighth Air Force Historical Society and Eighth Air Force Memorial Museum Foundation donated papers related to those organizations.  The photograph collection consists of originals and copies of images of personnel, aircraft, base life, and missions during the war, along with reunions, symposiums, and air shows that veterans attended in the years after the war.  The book collection is housed in the Eighth Air Force Reading Room and all the books can be found on the libraries’ online catalog.  The audio-visual collection contains over five hundred titles which include gun camera footage, home movies of base life in England, reunions, symposiums, and documentaries.  The newsletter collection is organized by organization and group numbers.  The organizations include headquarters, ground crews, fighter groups, bomber groups, state chapters, and related veteran’s groups. There are approximately one thousand books housed in the Eighth Air Force Room, adjacent to the Special Collections Reading Room. All of the books in the Eighth Air Force Archive are cataloged and can be found in the libraries' online catalog. Approximately one-third of the collection is devoted solely to the history of the 8th Air Force. Subjects include:

Aircraft Histories
Anthologies
Autobiographies
Combat Group Albums and Histories
8th Air Force Generals
Listings of Aircraft, Combat Units, Personnel, Missing Air Crews and Aircraft Losses
Mission Histories

 

 

bombardier

Other notable topics covered by the collection include:

Allied and Axis Aircraft
Americans in Great Britain
Big Bands
Class and Field Albums
Eagle Squadron
Equipment
European Theater of Operations
Films of World War II
Germany
Great Britain
Humor
Other World War II Air Forces
POW’s
Women
World War II Training Manuals

There are also general aviation books devoted to:

Military Air Strategy and Tactics
Air War Histories
Bibliographies and Reference Sources

Group State Chapter & Related Organization Newsletters and the 8AF News


Many of the bomber and fighter groups, along with their various support groups, are represented in this collection in the 8AF reading room. Newsletters from organizations related to the 8AF and state chapters are included. Some newsletters have complete runs, and many are incomplete.
Command and Associated Ground Groups, 1963-2001 There are sixteen titles from thirteen groups. The Second Air Division, which was organized just after the war in the 1940's started their newsletter in 1963 and continues to this day.
Fighter Groups, 1982-1998 There are thirteen titles from eleven groups.
Bomb Squadrons, 1981-1997 There are three titles from three bomb squadrons.
Bomb Groups, 1977-2001 There are forty-four titles from forty-one bomb groups. Many of the newsletters ran from the mid 1980's to the mid 1990's, when the many of the original 8th Air Force members were too old to continue participating in the nationwide groups. Some newsletters have continued to the twenty first century as the next generation and interested World War II historians have taken over the publications.
State Groups, 1986-2001 There are thirty-eight titles from thirty-six state historical chapters. As the original 8th Air Force members grew older and could not travel great distances for nationwide reunions, state chapters began to grow, enabling those members to still participate in some kind of 8th Air Force veteran's organization.
Related groups, 1981-2001 There are fifty four titles from 8th Air Force and World War II related organizations, such as the Air Force Enlisted Widows Home Foundation, the Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society, the B-17 Combat Crew & Wingmen, the Confederate Air Force, Bombardiers Inc., the Imperial War Museum and Duxford Aviation Society, the Sally B organization, and the Yankee Air Force.
The 8AF News, all issues beginning in 1975 to the present, are located in the 8AF reading room.

390thweather

Collected Papers

The papers in the Eighth Air Force Archive, about fifty cubic feet, include originals and photocopies of World War II orders and reports, individual's logbooks and diaries, and papers from the 8AFHS and 8AFMMF, and the 8AF News editors. There are also newspaper clippings from the war period, as well as clippings from the 1970s to the 1990s on articles about 8th Air Force members and World War II aircraft. There are training manuals dealing with navigation, oxygen equipment for fighter pilots, a handbook for compass use, and training air base booklets. Also contained within the collection are typed manuscripts of several books written about the 8th Air Force, and short stories sent to the 8AF News for publication.


There is correspondence from officers of the 8AFHS and letters received by Ed Kueppers (the Information Officer), requesting research and reference information on 8th Air Force personnel, aircraft, and missions. Among the subjects covered are: D-Day and fiftieth anniversary celebrations of the invasion; the Memphis Belle; cartoons; and songs and poems celebrating combat and wartime aviation exploits.


Two groups donated materials relating to time in the 8th Air Force. The 95th Bomb Group gave materials related to the anthology written by Ian Hawkins, along with veterans' group papers. The 355th Fighter Group also donated materials related to their veterans group from the 1970's to the 1990's.

There are papers on reunions to England from the 1970's to the 1990's, and yearly reunions of the 8AFHS from the mid 1980's to the mid 1990's.

There are materials from the first two editors of the 8AF News, John Woolnough and James Hill, about the production and publication of the magazine and the correspondence relating to each issue. There is material relating to general events of World War II and their relevance in the 1990's, such as the Glenn Miller Band, the Atomic Bomb Stamp, museums in the United States and England, and the CBC Documentary "The Valor and the Horror." The John Woolnough papers relate topics on reunions, financial matters, the board of directors, bomb and fighter group unit contacts, membership and general activities of the 8AFHS.


The Dennis Scanlan papers relate to the board of directors, general correspondence, and membership, of the 8AFHS and the 8AFMMF. Lastly, there are membership lists of some of the Bomber and Fighter Groups from the veteran's associations from the 1970's to the 1990's.

groundcrews

Photographs

The Archive includes a rich photograph collection organized under three main subject headings: bomber and fighter groups, general World War II, and post-World War II. Along with the bomber and fighter groups, such supporting groups as the photo recon group, strategic air depots, and base air depots are represented. There is also a separate folder devoted to the famed Memphis Belle of the 91st Bombing Group. Many of the general World War II photos were aerial shots taken from different heights. They show the coastline, villages and the countryside, targets before a strike, smoking targets and even a low level photo of a V-1 rocket taken from behind. Other photos include plane crews and individuals, scenes from London and the English countryside, allied and axis aircraft, WACs, base life, and nose art. Most of the post World War II photos document bombing group reunions, both in the United States and England. Other photos highlight air shows and museums, state license plates, and some modern Air Force photos.