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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Samuel E. White Collection

Identifier: 2014-02-15
The collection contains materials from the World War I career of Samuel E. White, who served with the balloon companies of the American Expeditionary Force. The diary documents White's training in the United States and service in France as a balloon observer, with details on fellow servicemen, daily movements and activities. Additional materials include various military documents relating to his service, as well as a few photographs of balloons and other scenes.


  • circa 1918-1919


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.


0.03 Cubic Feet (2 legal width folders)


Samuel Elbert White served in various balloon companies of the U.S. Army Air Service during World War I. The collection documents his training in the United States and his service overseas.

Biographical Note: Samuel E. White

Samuel Elbert White was born in Virginia. He served in the U.S. Army Air Service with balloon companies during World War I. White enlisted on September 21, 1917 at St. Louis, Missouri, and began his training at balloon and flight schools in Missouri, Texas, and Nebraska. He received his commission on January 31, 1918. He was stationed at Kelly Field, Texas for the early part of the year then received orders to travel to the Aviation Concentration Camp and Supply Depot in Morrison, Virginia. He left for Europe from Newport News, Virginia on April 23, 1918 aboard the U.S. Transport Siboury. They arrived at Brest, France on May 7 and from there traveled to Co√ętquidan. White moved about the country extensively for the first few months, completing additional training before being stationed near Raulecourt (Meuse), France. According to his military record, White served with the 3rd, 5th, and 9th Balloon Companies in France from April 1918 to June 1919. He participated in the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives toward the end of the war, and appears to have remained after the armistice as part of the occupation forces. In August 1919, White was honorably discharged from service at Camp Dodge, Iowa, having attained the rank of second lieutenant in the Air Service.

He later married Alma Gertrud Grundman. White worked as a west coast sales manager for the Dobeckmun Company, including selling plastics that were used to cover Boeing aircraft. He died sometime around 1967.

Sources and further reading:

Biographical note derived from collection materials.

S.W. Ovitt and L.G. Bowers, eds. The Balloon Section of the American Expeditionary Forces. London : A.H. Stockwell, [1939].

Center of Military History, United States Army. Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War - Zone of the Interior: Directory of Troops, vol. 3, pt. 3. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1988.


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

The following collections at the Museum of Flight are also related to World War I-era balloons:

Marc A. Lagen Collection. Collection contains military documents, photographs, correspondence, and ephemera relating to the World War I career of Captain Marc Aloysius Lagen in the Balloon Section of the U.S. Air Service.

James George Burton Photographs. Two panoramic photographs relating to the Balloon School at Ross Field, Arcadia, California.

Separated Materials

The following items have been separated from the archival component of this collection and are kept in Objects storage:
  • Two (2) identification bracelets
Guide to the Samuel E. White Collection
Completed - Level 4
A. Demeter
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
1st Edition

Revision Statements

  • 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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