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Archives at The Museum of Flight

The Julius A. Barr Photograph Album

Identifier: 2018-00-00-6
The Julius A. Barr Photograph Album documents Julius Barr's time in China from 1934 to 1937. The collection consists of a photograph album with three hundred and thirty (339) black-and-white photographs. The album is green leather with "Boeing" embossed in gold on the front and is very fragile, being partially unbound. The first page includes a handwritten inscription by Barr that presents the photograph album as a gift to James Elder in June 1937.

The photographs, likely taken by Barr, are glued to the pages and include brief handwritten captions, which identify locations, aircraft, and people. Many people, especially civilians, are referred to by last name only. Notable people include Julius Barr and his immediate family, Royal Leonard (another pilot for Chiang Kai-shek), Zhang Xueliang (also known as the "Young Marshal" and "Peter Chang"), Chiang Kai-shek, and General Yang Hucheng. Please note that some captions in the photograph album make use of derogatory terms toward certain peoples.

The photographs feature aerial shots of Chinese countryside, cities, and airfields; Chinese government and military officials as well as civilians; and several aircraft, including the Boeing Model 247D piloted by Barr, a Sikorsky S-43W Amphibion (Baby Clipper), and a Junkers Ju 52/3m (Three Engine). Aircraft are shown in flight and on the ground, and a few images feature the offloading of the Boeing 247D from a shipping container. Some images also depict military activities, such as supply drops, troop inspection and movement, and damaged buildings, and points of interest within China, including the Great Wall and tombs, as well as several pagodas and temples. A few aerial images show flood damage to buildings and cities.

The collection also contains a single file folder with photocopies of some images from within the album. There are two photocopied pages that feature the cover and an unnumbered page from Flight in the China Air Space 1910-1950 by Malcom Rosholt. The unnumbered page features a group portrait of fourteen people in evening dress and includes James "Jimmy" Elder and Julius Barr.


  • 1934-1937


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.


0.45 Cubic Feet (1 flat box)


Julius A. Barr (1905-1939) was born in Normal, Illinois and spent time as a personal pilot to Chinese military figures Zhang Xueliang (also known as the "Young Marshal" and "Peter Chang") and General Chiang Kai-shek in the mid-1930s. The collection contains a photograph album with three hundred and thirty-nine (339) black-and-white photographs, most likely taken by Barr, covering his time in China.

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 photograph album was originally a gift from Julius A. Barr to James Elder in 1937. At an undetermined time, it was loaned by Boeing Company employee Robert Elder, presumably a relative of James Elder, to fellow employee Vic Seely. It is not certain who donated the album to the Museum.


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 Other Institutions

There is material related to Zhang Xueliang (also known as the "Young Marshal" and "Peter Chang") in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection of Columbia University:

Peter H.L. and Edith Chang Papers, 1930s-2001. Online finding aid at:
Related Archival Materials at The Museum of Flight The Julius A. Barr Clippings (2018-00-00-3). The collection contains four clippings related to Barr's time at Boeing as a test pilot and his death.
Guide to the Julius A. Barr Photograph Album
Completed - Level 3
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.
  • 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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