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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Carol (Nicholson) Lewis Collection

Identifier: 2009-05-07
The Carol (Nicholson) Lewis Collection is one box and one oversized folder of materials related to the Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) career of Carol (Nicholson) Lewis. The collection includes official documents, photographs, correspondence, clippings, and WASP ephemera. A small amount of correspondence and ephemera concerning her marriage are also included in the collection.

The collection is divided by type of material. Folders 1 through 4 contain official documents related to Lewis' time as a WASP pilot, including her flight log, official pay stubs, and military personnel record. Folder 5 contains personal documents, including an immunization record, a medical certificate, and a program for a play that Lewis was part of in 1941 [during high school].

Folders 6 through 8 contain correspondence, both personal and professional, in the form of telegrams, letters, and postcards. Folder 9 contains newspaper clippings about Lewis and the WASP program. There are also some oversize clippings that have been glued to loose scrapbook pages, as well as a July 19, 1943 Life magazine cover that features an article about WASPs.

Folders 10 though 12 contain ninety-nine (99) photographs, eight (8) negatives, and two (2) slides, likely taken during WASP training, circa 1943-1944. The bulk of the photographs are in black-and-white but there are two (2) color prints made from slides. Some of the photographs have captions written by Lewis that identify people, usually only by either first or last name, and locations, including Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas and Moore Field near Mission, Texas. There are many snapshots depicting the WASPs in training, next to and in aircraft, and relaxing. Also included are several portraits of Lewis, some of which are proof prints.

Folders 13 through 16 contain assorted ephemera, such as a flight calculator, the WASP Songbook, an April 1946 WASP newsletter, and WASP patches, including one (1) patch for the 318th Army Air Force Flying Training Detachment. The patch features Fifinella, the cartoon character that the Disney Company allowed the WASPs to use as their mascot during World War II. There is also an illustrated book cover, "A Wharf in Venice," by M. Bradbury.


  • 1941-1946


Language of Materials

All materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research and is accessible in the Dahlberg Research Center by appointment. For more information contact us.

Conditions Governing Use

The Museum of Flight (TMOF) Archives is the owner of the physical materials in the archives and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from TMOF archives before any publication use. TMOF does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.


0.55 Cubic Feet (1 full-width legal szie document box and 1 oversized folder)


Carol (Nicholson) Lewis (1923-1987) joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) in 1943 and was assigned to Moore Air Base (Texas), Class 44-W-7. The collection includes official documents, photographs, correspondence, clippings, and ephemera related to Lewis' 1943-1945 WASP service. A small amount of correspondence and ephemera concerning her marriage is also included in the collection.

Biographical Note: Carol (Nicholson) Lewis

Carol (Nicholson) Lewis was born December 15, 1923 in Oakland, California to Ralph and Patricia (Kirkpatrick) Nicholson. She grew up in Seattle, Washington, and attended the Bush School, Garfield High School, and the University of Washington. She moved among the highest social circles, and was best friends with Nancy Nordhoff of the family who started The Bon Marche department store in Seattle.

Lewis and Nancy Nordhoff drove to Sweetwater, Texas in 1943 to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). They were assigned to Moore Air Base (Texas), Class 44-W-7. Lewis also flew out of Kelly Field (Texas) during her time with the WASPs. She flew several planes during her service, including the North American AT-6 Texan and the Stearman (1927) PT-17 Kaydet.

Lewis married Lester Warren Lewis III on August 15, 1944 in Florida. He was born August 30, 1917 in Seattle, Washington, and served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. They had three children. Carol died January 17, 1987 in Palm Desert, California. Lester died in June of 1995 in Yakima, Washington.


Biography derived from collection materials.


No further accruals are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Materials from this collection have been digitized and are available at The Museum of Flight Digital Collections.

Related Archival Materials at The Museum of Flight

Carol (Nicholson) Lewis was best friends with fellow WASP and Seattleite Nancy (Nordhoff) Dunnam. Dunnam's family founded the Bon Marche Department store and the Bellevue (Wash.) Airport. She has also donated items to The Museum of Flight, and they can be found in the Nordhoff/Dunnam Collection (1993-05-11).

Additional WASP collections include:

The Martha L. (Smith) Bullock Collection (2003-09-08). A small collection of photographs and textual materials associated with Bullock's time as a WASP during World War II.

Dora Jean (Dougherty) Strother WASP Photographs (1986-12-09A). Two (2) photographs WASPs Dorothea Moorman and Dora Dougherty and the Boeing B-29 Superfortress “Ladybird” with Fifnella painted on side, prior to demonstration tour.

Processing Information

The collection formerly held a scrapbook. It appears that this scrapbook was dismantled at an unknown date, and the various contents have been separated out into the collection. There also appears to be two pages of the original scrapbook in with the newspaper clippings in the Oversized folder, which will give some idea of how the original item appeared.
Guide to the Carol (Nicholson) Lewis Collection
Completed - Level 3
L. Zaborowski, J. Parent
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
3rd Edition

Revision Statements

  • 2014, 2018: This finding aid has been revised to reflect updated DACS and Museum of Flight standards.
  • November 2018: Finding aid migrated to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

Part of the The Museum of Flight Archives Repository

9404 East Marginal Way South
Seattle Washington 98108-4097

The Museum of Flight | 9404 E. Marginal Way South | Seattle WA 98108-4097 | 206-764-5874
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