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Archives at The Museum of Flight

John Hess Shuman Collection

Identifier: 2015-02-03
The John Hess Shuman Collection is primarily comprised of a World War I diary written by Shuman, who served as a member of the ground crew for the U.S. Army Air Service. The diary covers August 30 through December 28, 1918, describing Shuman's experience traveling to and in France, his duties as a groundsman, and post-war homesickness.


  • circa 1917-1919


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 size folders)


The collection contains the World War I diary of John Hess Shuman (1896-1972), who served as a member of the ground crew for the U.S. Army Air Service.

Biographical Note

John Hess Shuman was born on May 9, 1896 in Columbia County, Pennsylvania. He received a degree in Manual Arts from the Bloomsburg State Normal School in 1915 and met his future wife Rowena Pearl Patterson at the Palmer School of Penmanship in New York in 1916. During this time he also worked as a teacher in Berwick, New York.

Shuman enlisted in spring of 1917 and was assigned to the United States Army Air Service as a ground crew mechanic. His stateside training included time at Kelly Field, Texas. He was appointed acting sergeant major for the overseas journey and departed on September 1, 1918 from New York. They arrived in England on September 13 and traveled by train to Winchester, where they were stationed briefly at a quarantine camp. They then traveled by ship from Southampton to Cherbourg, France in late September, arriving in St. Maixent on October 2 and finally in Latracey on October 14. In mid November they traveled to Romorantin, where Shuman disassembled captured German planes, among other duties. He was promoted to sergeant on December 1. While Shuman does not name his squadron in his diary, it is likely he was with one of the Services of Supply squadrons that shipped overseas late in the war.

After his return to the United States in 1919, Shuman went back to teaching, first as a high school teacher in Roaring Creek Township and Bloomsburg (Pennsylvania) and later as a principal. In 1928 he transitioned to real estate and insurance. In the 1930s he helped establish a small airport near Bloomsburg, which remains in service. Shuman was involved in numerous civic organizations including the American Legion, Kiwanis Club, and the Bloomsburg Town Council. He died on November 2, 1972.

Sources and further reading:

Biographical note derived from collection materials.

F. L. B. Burns. Ace Hand: An RFC Aircraftman in World War One. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Aviation, 2006.

H. L. Rockwood. The S.O.S. in the World War: A Description of the Gievres-Romorantin (France) Camp and Surrounding Territory.


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 collection from the Museum of Flight also relates to the activities of Services of Supply squadrons in France during and after World War I:

Joseph A. Bossi Collection. Collection contains an event program and postcard relating to Bossi's service in Europe with the U.S. Air Service during World War I.

Robert Richmond Aero Squadron Photographs. The collection is comprised of two photographs relating to the 371st Aero Squadron.

Herman J. Sommerhauser World War I Photograph Album. Album of photographs from the World War I career of Sommerhauser in France.

Separated Materials

The following item has been separated from the archival component of this collection and is kept in Objects storage:
  • Leather wallet
Guide to the John Hess Shuman 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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