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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Harold E. Hartney Collection

Identifier: 2013-07-03
The Harold E. Hartney Collection contains photographs, correspondence, clippings, and paper ephemera relating to Hartney's World War I and postwar career, as well as some family materials. The bulk of the collection was gathered by his wife Irene Hartney and assembled into a scrapbook, then later disassembled for digitization by the family. Copies and inventories of the scans are included. The materials trace Hartney's life from his service as a squadron and group commander in France during World War I; to the interwar period in which he raced aircraft, wrote a book on his World War I experience, and served as an air safety investigator; to his air transport efforts during World War II.


  • circa 1914-1980s (bulk dates 1914-1945)
  • Majority of material found within 1914 - 1945


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.


0.5 Cubic Feet (1 full-width legal size document box and 2 oversize folders)


Harold E. Hartney (1888-1945) rose through the ranks of the Canadian Army to become the Commander of the U.S. Air Service's 27th Aero Squadron in France during World War I. Credited as an ace and recipient of numerous military awards, after the war Hartney went on to train military pilots, advise on air safety, and serve again in World War II. The collection contains photographs, correspondence, clippings, and paper ephemera relating to Hartney's World War and interwar careers, as well as some family materials.

Biographical Note: Harold E. Hartney

Harold Evan Hartney was born in Pakenham, Ontario, Canada in 1888. He enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1914, shipping to France with the 28th Battalion as an infantryman. He was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1915. In early 1918, Hartney traveled to the United States to organize and train fighter squadrons. He became commander of the 27th Aero Squadron upon his return to France, then commander of the squadron's parent group the 1st Pursuit Group, which included such notable aces as Eddie Rickenbacker and Frank Luke. Hartney himself was also an ace and is credited with bringing down six to eight enemy planes according to various sources.

During his military service Hartney was given numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Purple Heart, Legion of Honor, Croix de Guerre, Italian Silver War Medal, and the British War Medal.

After the war, the United States recruited Hartney to train pilots in Texas, becoming the chief of training for the Army Air Service. He also competed in several transcontinental air races, then organized several commercial aviation groups with the goal of trans-Atlantic flight. In 1935, Hartney became a technical adviser for a U.S. Senate committee to investigate air safety, along with fellow World War I aviator Charles Kerwood. Over the course of the next few years Hartney served the early Civil Aeronautics Administration, which would become the Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.). In 1940, Hartney published Up and At 'Em, an account of his World War I experience. Hartney was part of the organization of the Ferry Command (later the Air Transport Command), which organized the transportation of aircraft, equipment, supplies, and personnel during World War II.

Hartney's sons Harold Jr. and James also became pilots, Harold Jr. serving in Germany and James at Perrin Field (Texas) during World War II. Harold Jr. was shot down and killed on May 15, 1944.

Hartney died on October 5, 1945 in Washington.

Further reading:

Harold Hartney, Up and At 'Em. New York: ACE Books, 1971.

Harold E. Hartney. The Complete Flying Manual: A Handbook for Instructors and Pupils. New York: National aeronautics Council, 1940.

Harold E. Hartney & Alan Haemer (illus.). What the Citizen Should Know About the Air Forces. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 1942.

Harold E. Hartney. Aircraft Spotters' Guide. New York: National Aeronautics Council, Inc., 1942.


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

Joseph F. Wehner Collection. Contains materials from a World War I pilot of the 27th Aero Squadron, which Hartney commanded in 1918.

Norman "Jim" Silas Archibald Collection. Contains materials from a World War I aviator of the 95th Aero Squadron, which was part of the 1st Pursuit Group under Hartney's command. Archibald was also later involved in the air safety investigations Hartney headed in the 1930s.

Captain Hamilton Coolidge Collection. Contains materials from a World War I pilot of the 94th Aero Squadron, which was part of the 1st Pursuit Group.

Nancy Harkness Collection of World War I Photograph Albums. Contains images of the 1st Pursuit Group's 94th and 95th Aero Squadrons.
Guide to the Harold E. Hartney Collection
Completed - Level 4
A. Demeter, J. Parent
2017, 2023
Description rules
Language of description
Processing, cataloging and digitization of this collection was made possible by a Council on Libraries and Information Resources (CLIR) "Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives" grant.
Edition statement
2nd Edition

Revision Statements

  • November 2018: Finding aid migrated to ArchivesSpace.
  • September 2023: Updated to include addendum donation materials.

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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