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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Charles B. D. Collyer Collection

Identifier: 2014-00-00-84
The Captain Charles B. D. Collyer Collection is a small collection of portraits and correspondence related to Captain Charles B. D. Collyer. The bulk of the collection is comprised of correspondence between Collyer's former fiancée Eleanor Waddell, A. Lee Moore, Arizona Senator Carl Hayden, and Secretary of War Harry L. Stimson. The correspondence focuses on Waddell's attempt to have an air field in Arizona named in honor of Collyer. Note that the initial letter from Waddell to Senator Hayden is dated February 24, 1924. However, Collyer did not die until November 3, 1928 so it is likely the date on the letter is incorrect, especially as the bulk of the letters are from 1941.

Other materials include two (2) copies of a black-and-white photographic portrait of Collyer. Both are signed on the front with a fading inscription, "Happy Landings, To Eleanor from 'Colly' 1928." One of the copies is mounted on mat board. There is also a framed drawn portrait of Collyer, signed by Levon Fairchild West, circa 1920s.


  • 1924-1941


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.


0.3 Cubic Feet (2 legal-width folders, 1 oversizefolder)


Charles B. D. Collyer (1896-1928) enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps during World War I. After the war Collyer broke the record for circumnavigation of the globe. On the return trip, Collyer died attempting to break his own record. The collection contains correspondence about naming an airfield in his honor as well as a photograph and drawing of Collyer.

Biographical Note: Charles B. D. Collyer

Charles B. D. Collyer was born August 24, 1896. He grew up in Korea, China, England, and the United States. Collyer attended the Virginia Military Institute and enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps during World War I. He served as a test pilot and instructor at Langley Field (Virginia) for the duration of the War and was honorably discharged from the Army in 1919.

After the war, he served as an air mail pilot and conducted mapping work for the U.S. Army. He teamed up with John Henry Mears to break the record for circumnavigation of the globe, which they completed in twenty-three days, fifteen hours and twenty-one minutes. Captain Collyer died while attempting to break his own record for crossing the United States. The Lockheed Vega he was flying, theYankee Doodle, came down during a thunderstorm outside of Prescott, Arizona on November 3, 1928.

At the time of his death, Collyer was engaged to Eleanor Waddell. He was buried in Arlington Cemetery with full military honors; his grave is #3450 in Section 2.


Biography derived from collection materials.


No further accruals are expected.


Guide to the Charles B. D. Collyer Collection
Completed - Level 3
L. Zaborowski, J. Parent
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement

Revision Statements

  • December 2018: Finding aid migrated to ArchivesSpace.
  • July 2020: Updated related agents, adjusted title for DACS standards.

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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