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MS-223 William F. Yeager Aviation Collection 1
MS-223, WILLIAM F. YEAGER AVIATION COLLECTION
Collection Number: MS-223
Title: William F. Yeager Aviation Collection
Creator: Yeager, William F., 1915-1990
Summary/Abstract: William F. Yeager was a military and commercial pilot, as well as an aviation photographer and
collector who owned an aviation photography business. The collection consists of information
about Yeager’s WWII experience as a B-25 pilot in North Africa and his post-war flying
experience as an Air Force and commercial pilot. The collection also contains flight training
books, flying tools, correspondence, and aircraft history and design information. The bulk of the
collection is more than 25,000 aviation photographs and negatives that have been organized
according to make, model and type of aircraft.
Quantity/Physical Description: 69.2 linear feet
Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, Wright State University, Dayton, OH
45435-0001, (937) 775-2092
Restrictions on Access: There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.
Restrictions on Use:
Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.
Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright
[Box #, Folder #], MS-223, William F. Yeager Aviation Collection, Special Collections and
Archives, University Libraries, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio
The collection was donated to Special Collections and Archives by Yeager’s wife, Helen, in
1991. An addition was received in January 2011.
This collection was initially processed by a series of graduate students in Public History during
their Advanced Archives class. Initial processing was completed in spring 1992 with additional
MS-223 William F. Yeager Aviation Collection 2
processing completed in spring 1997. Additional processing was completed by Archivist John
Armstrong in June 2007 and May 2011, including updating the finding aid to the EAD standard.
Alternative Form Available: A selection of aircraft images from the William F. Yeager Aviation Photographs are available
online in Wright State University’s Campus Online Repository (CORE Scholar):
The digitized Yeager Collection photographs, as well as aircraft photographs from other
collections held by Wright State University Special Collections & Archives, can also be found
online in CORE Scholar in the Aircraft gallery: http://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu/aircraft/.
Related Material: MS-344, Walter Matthews Jefferies Aviation Collection
MS-353, Robert L. Cavanagh Aviation Collection
MS-378, Cleveland Air Races Collection
Beginning in 1992, volunteers from the Huffman Prairie Aviation Historical Society (previously
known as Huffman Prairie Chapter of the American Aviation Historical Society) began
identifying the more than 25,000 photographs and negatives in the collection. Without their
expertise, and more than 15 years of dedicated effort, the photographs and negatives in this
collection would not be available to the public in the current detailed form.
Richard R. Wirz, spring 1992. Steve Hausfeld, Joe Greer, and Tony Wright, spring 1997. John
Armstrong, 2006-2007 and May 2011.
The collection is arranged into six series and three subseries:
Series I: William Yeager Personal Information & Memorabilia
Series II: Publications
Series III: Flight Training Books, Records and Tools
Series IV: Correspondence
Series V: Aircraft History, Design, and General Information
Series VI: Aircraft Photographs and Negatives
Subseries VIA: General Aircraft Photographs
Subseries VIB: Photographs
Subseries VIC: Negatives
Biographical/Historical Note: William Francis Yeager was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 1, 1915. His early interests
concerned aviation and railroad trains, but by the time he reached adulthood, aviation had
become his primary interest.
MS-223 William F. Yeager Aviation Collection 3
Yeager’s high school graduation was delayed by his having to take various jobs to support his
family during the Great Depression. Yeager finished his high school education and graduated
from West Technical High School in Cleveland, in August 1937 at the age of 22. Following his
graduation, Yeager spent the next several years working primarily for The Higbee Company and
the George Worthington Company in Cleveland. During this time, Yeager worked as the official
photographer for the National Air Races, which were held in Cleveland.
In October 1939, Yeager got a job with the Fish and Wildlife Service as an administrative
assistant in Hebron, Ohio and La Crosse, Wisconsin. Yeager qualified for the Civilian Pilot
Training Program at this time and received flight training in late 1940 and early 1941. He
enlisted in the Army Air Corps on June 10, 1941.
Yeager’s first few months in the Air Corps were spent as a crew chief on various aircraft. He
took a College Qualification Examination to qualify for Aviation Cadet training and began his
training at Gardener Field, California, in 1942 as a member of the Air Corps Reserve.
Afterwards, Yeager was assigned to the 443rd Bomb Squadron in North Africa, as a B-25 co-
pilot where he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. After his combat career, Yeager was
assigned to fly for Air Transport Command. He was released from the Army Air Forces in
In September 1947, Yeager was recalled by the Air Force. In the interim, he had returned briefly
to the Fish and Wildlife Service and had worked as an Air Traffic Controller in Cleveland. Over
the next two and a half years, Yeager served in various capacities, as an instructor pilot and flight
examiner, flying passengers and cargo, and fulfilling administrative duties. In January 1950,
Yeager was made a member of the Inactive Reserves.
From January 1950 through October 1951, Yeager was employed as a corporate pilot by various
companies in the Cleveland area. In April 1951, Yeager took flight courses from American
Flyers, in Fort Worth, Texas, resulting in his receiving an airline transport pilot rating.
In October 1951, Yeager was recalled to active duty by the Air Force. He worked for Strategic
Air Command in Morocco throughout 1952 and into 1953. After this assignment, Yeager flew
search and rescue missions in Alaska until early 1955. From 1955 until 1963, Yeager served as
an Air Force Logistics Command Ferry Pilot and as a flight test maintenance officer, stationed at
Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. Yeager retired from the Air Force on December 31, 1963.
Yeager spent 1965-1967 working for World Wide Helicopters in Libya. There he flew
DeHavilland Beavers and various other aircraft on survey flights.
Yeager returned home in 1967 and began working for Air Commuter, Inc., which was absorbed
into Wright Air Lines in 1968. Yeager was dismissed from Wright Air Lines in 1969.
In the late 1970’s, Yeager became active in the 320th Bomb Group Association. Yeager passed
away in 1990 at the age of 75 and was buried in Arlington Cemetery in Washington D. C.
MS-223 William F. Yeager Aviation Collection 4
Scope and Content: The William F. Yeager Aviation Collection is divided into six series. The bulk of the collection
is more than 25,000 photographs and negatives that were part of Mr. Yeager’s aviation
Series I, William Yeager Personal Information and Memorabilia, is grouped into four major
groups of material. The first group contains photographs of Mr. Yeager ranging from a
photograph of him as a child to his 1990 funeral at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington,
D. C. Researchers should especially note the photographs of Mr. Yeager during World War II
while he was flying with the 320th Bomb Group. In particular, there are a number of
photographs taken of the bomb groups operations in North Africa, Sardinia, and France. The
grouping also contains a number of photographs of Mr. Yeager after World War II, including his
official U.S. Air Force photograph used for promotion boards.
The second major group of Series I is personal information. Of particular note is a letter, which
was used for a 1943 Look Magazine article, entitled “An Account of My First Raid Over North
Africa.” Also included is the General Order awarding him the Air Medal on September 13,
1943, membership certificates, resumes’ of his experience, and his Last Will and Testament.
The third major group of Series I is Mem