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Archives at The Museum of Flight

The Julius A. Barr Clippings

Identifier: 2018-00-00-3
The Julius A. Barr Clippings relate to Barr's test pilot career at Boeing from 1938-1939. The collection consists of four (4) clippings from unidentified publication. The clippings are glued to a scrapbook page and were possibly curated by a member of Barr's family.

Two (2) clippings are articles with accompanying images:

"Stratoliner in 1st Test Flight" briefly describes the very first test flight of the Boeing C-75 Stratoliner (Model 307) that lasted forty-two minutes, circa December 1938. Test pilot Edmund T. Allen was accompanied by Barr as flight observer and alternate copilot; Earl A. Ferguson, copilot; Harry West, flight engineer; and Arthur Gaylord, representative of Wright Aeronautical Corporation. Barr, Ferguson, and Allen are pictured.

"J. A. Barr, Stratoliner Victim, Flew Madame Chiang's Plane" documents Barr's life, highlighting his time in China as personal pilot for General and Madame Chiang Kai-shek, prior to the fatal crash of the Stratoliner crash which claimed Barr's life on March 18, 1939. Barr is pictured.

Two (2) clippings are images:

One (1) depicts a portrait of Boeing test pilot Earl A. Ferguson, who also died in the March 18, 1939 Stratoliner crash with a brief caption regarding his death.

One (1), unrelated to the crash, shows unidentified passengers seated inside the Stratoliner as a publicity shot. There is a handwritten note on the front of the image, "Ray" with an arrow pointing to a pilot.


  • 1938-1939

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.


0.1 Cubic Feet (1 oversize folder)


Julius A. Barr (1905-1939) was born in Normal, Illinois and spent time as a personal pilot to Chinese military figures in the mid-1930s as well as worked as a Boeing test pilot from 1938-1939. The collection contains four clippings related to Barr's time at Boeing and his death.

Biographical Note: Julius A. Barr

Julius A. Barr had a varied flight career in the 1920s and 1930s, notably spending time as a personal pilot to Chinese military figures and later working as a Boeing test pilot.

Julius Augustus Barr was born on December 6, 1905 to Oren and Margaret Barr in Normal, Illinois. Barr had a varied flight career. He served in the Army Air Corps, completing cadet training at Brooks Field in San Antonio, Texas from 1926-1927. During the late 1920s he was a transcontinental air mail pilot and spent several years flying for United Airlines. Barr then spent time in China, demonstrating military aircraft to the Chinese government. He also performed, either by choice or detainment (reports vary), as the personal pilot for Zhang Xueliang, known as the "Young Marshal", who ruled much of northern and northeast China from the late 1920s-1930s and was one of the instigators of the 1936 Xi'an Incident (the kidnapping and imprisonment of Chiang Kai-Shek to force him to unite with Communists against the Japanese invasion). Barr was released from Zhang's service and immediately joined Chiang Kai-shek, becoming one of five personal pilots for General Chiang and his wife, Madame Chiang. Notably, Barr flew the couple to safety just five days prior to the sack of Nanjing (China) by Japanese forces in December 1937.

Barr returned to the U.S. in 1938, departing from Hong Kong aboard the S.S. Empress of Russia and arriving at Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, on November 14. Shortly thereafter he joined Boeing Aircraft Company as an engineer and test pilot. On March 18, 1939, Julius Barr died during flight test number 19 of the Boeing 307 Stratoliner when the plane suffered engine failure and crashed near Alder, Washington, killing all onboard.

Barr married Effie Hortense on July 1, 1928, and they had two children, Jo Ann and Gene Edward (born 1933). Barr is buried in Mount Olive Cemetery, Pittsburg, Kansas.


Biography derived from collection materials and records on and

Custodial History

The provenance of the collection is unknown.


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 at The Museum of Flight

The Julius A. Barr Photograph Album (2018.00.00.6). The collection contains a photograph album with three hundred and forty (340) black-and-white photographs, likely taken by Barr, covering his time in China as a personal pilot to Chinese military figures 'Young Marshal' Peter Chang (Xueliang Zhang) and General Chiang Kai-shek in the mid-1930s. Online finding aid available here.
Guide to the Julius A. Barr Clippings
Completed - Level 4
J. Parent
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
1st Edition

Revision Statements

  • 2018 November: Finding aid migrated to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2020 May: Updated related agents, added Preferred Citation.
  • 2021 August: Biographical note updated

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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