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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Velda King Mapelli Air Racing Collection

Identifier: 2010-06-11
The Velda King Mapelli Air Racing Collection is comprised of hundreds of photographs and a small amount of negatives; textual materials suchs as brochures, certificates, ID cards, licenses, assorted ephemera, and correspondence; and race booklets from assorted races. The materials were collected by Velda King Mapelli, as well as her daughter Stephanie and husband Gene, during the course of her flying years, approximately 1969-1989.

The photographs, which are both in color and black-and-white, vary in size, from 3x5" to 11x14" and a large amount of the images include a handwritten caption on the reverse providing contextual information, such as date, names, or location. There is a mix of casual snapshots and more formal portraits. The images depict Velda and her family, as well as her various aircraft, including a Piper PA-24-200 and a Cessna 414. Subjects also include race participants, award banquets, and some aerial shots. The bulk of the photographs feature Velda next to or in her aircraft, often with her co-pilot and daughter, Stephanie.

The textual materials include certificates, such as medical, award, and aircraft registration, and two (2) Air France Concorde flight certificates dated June 30, 1992 for Mr. and Mrs. Mapelli; membership and identity cards, including Gene Mapelli's radio station license; flight plans and navigational charts; correspondence and newsletters; race banquet programs; and assorted newspaper clippings.

At the end of the collection are race progam booklets from various races that Mapelli participated in from 1972-1989. Specific races include the Powder Puff Derby, the Palms to Pines, the Air Race Classic, and the Angel Derby.


  • 1969-1989


Language of Materials

All materials in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research but has not been fully processed. Access to the collection may be limited or may require additional processing time. For more information contact us.

Condtions 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.


1.2 Cubic Feet (3 full-width letter size document boxes and 1 oversize folder)

Biographical Note: Velda King Mapelli

Velda King was born in 1926 to Robert Henry King and Bonnie Havens King in Boise City, Oklahoma. Her father passed in 1936 and sometime later, she and her family relocated to Denver, Colorado. King attended West High School and Denver University, where she met Eugene "Gene" Mappelli. They wed on January 2, 1948 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Mapelli had two children; Eugene "Geno" M. Mapelli II born in 1949, and Stephanie D. Mapelli born in 1953. The family was active in all kinds of activities and in 1967 she earned her private pilot's license.

Mapelli went on to earn her commercial, instrument, and multi-engine ratings. She discovered professional women's air racing in the early 1970s. She often teamed with her daughter Stephanie during these events. Mapelli was co-founder of the Air Race Classic and served as its President as well. She retired from flying in the early 2000s.

After her husband passed in 2003, she relocated to Seattle, Washington to be closer to her daughter and granddaughter. She remained active with volunteering and community service. On April 18th, 2010, she was struck by a bicyclist while walking and fatally injured. Velda Mapelli passed away on April 19, 2010.


Biography derived from donor information.

Note on Arrangement

When donated, there was no apparent organization so the inital arrangement upon ingest was to loosely sort into three series; Photographs, Textual Materials, and Race Booklets. Series I (Photographs) and III (Race Booklets) are arranged chronologically, while Series II (Textual Materials) is grouped by format.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by Stephanie Mapelli, in memoriam of her mother, Velda King Mapelli.


No further accruals expected.

Separated Materials

The following material has been separated from the archival component and is kept in Objects storage:

  • Orange vinyl 1975 Powder Puff Derby Portfolio
  • Marble desktop pen holder
  • Over one hundred fifty (150+) pins and patches for assorted race events

Processing Information

This collection has not been fully processed.


Guide to the Velda King Mapelli Air Racing Collection
Completed - Level 2
Archives staff, J. Parent
2010, 2018, 2019
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
3rd edition

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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