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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Emile Chourré and Chourré Family Papers

Identifier: 2015-06-17
The Emile Chourré and Chourré Family Papers are comprised of documents and scrapbooks, photographic prints, negatives, and photograph albums, and assorted ephemera pertaining to the life and military career of Lieutenant Commander Emile Chourré (1894-1938). Major topics include Chourré's military service, especially while stationed in Coco Solo, Panama; his service as a U.S. Naval announcer for the 1929-1931 and 1933-1934 National Air Races; and family (immediate and extended) photographs.

Series I, Emile Chourré, 1916-1977 has been broken into three sub-series: Military-related, National Air Races, and Personal. The Military-related subseries is by far the largest and has been further divided by format into textual materials and photographic materials. The textual materials sub-subseries has an accompanying sub-subseries for Chourre's death.

Textual materials include Chourré's pilot logs, jackets [folders of military records] and identity cards, instructional materials, and military orders; correspondence, to and from military personnel and to family members from Chourré; coursework and diploma from U.S. Navy Postgraduate School, and assorted ephemera, such as clippings, Consolidated Aircraft Corporation lithographs, and squadron insignia artwork drawn by Chourré.

Materials in the death sub-subseries include memorial newspaper clippings, and a 1977 inquiry by Jack Chourré, Emile’s son, into the accident that Emile died in. The inquiry materials include an original order, dated January 23, 1938 for Chourré to fly a Curtiss SOC-3 (No. 1069) Seagull to Naval Air Station San Diego, California, a black-and-white 8x10" photograph of a SOC-3 aircraft, an August 16, 1977 letter from the Department of the Navy explaining that Lt. Commander Chourré was on a ferry flight from San Diego to Scott Field, Illinois and fatally crashed into a blimp mooring mast, and a September 2, 1977 letter from Joel Pritchard, Congressman to Jack Chourré advising Jack of the Navy information. It also includes commemorative materials related to U. S. Navy ship USS Chourré named in Emile Chourré's honor. Additional materials indirectly related to Emile’s death can be found in Box Four, Folders 8-9 (condolence and commemorative correspondence sent to Catherine, his widow).

The photographic materials include loose photographs, two negatives, and two photograph albums. Photographs range in size and, in this section, are black-and-white. Many images include captions either near the image or on the image, providing contextual information such as name, year, or location. Some have stamps for "United States Air Force." Duplication occurs. Images include portraits and two negatives of Chourré, photographs of military personnel (with and without aircraft), assorted aircraft, in flight, on the water, and on the ground; assorted naval ships, bases and buildings, and locations, including Washington D.C. and Hawaii. In the two photograph albums are approximately 570 photographs taken from 1918-1920 while Chourré was stationed in Coco Solo, Panama, Canal Zone (CZ). The albums include images that feature aircraft, military personnel, locations, ships, and scenic shots of the area, as well as a few pictures of indigenous people.

The subseries National Air Races (NAR) includes five (5) scrapbooks for the 1929-1931 and 1933-1934 races. The scrapbooks are primarily clippings although most include at least one photograph, depicting either Emile Chourré or naval aircraft and/or squadrons. Materials are affixed with glue, though some have come loose and the pages have begun to ripple. Additional materials include a 1936 NAR program, assorted loose newspaper clippings about NAR events and competitors, and four black-and-white portraits of Chourré, in uniform as the U.S. Navy radio announcer.

The personal subseries contains textual materials such as assorted diplomas, including grade school, high school, and university; membership materials for fraternal organizations, and a life insurance record.

Series II, Family, 1889-1988 has been divided into five subseries: Catherine (Emile’s wife), Jeanne (daughter), Jack (son), immediate, and extended. Each subseries contains photographic prints and most include additional textual materials, with the exception of Jeanne. The photographs vary in size, from 2x2" to 16x20" and are primarily black-and-white with some color images in the extended family section. Many images include captions either near the image or on the image, providing contextual information such as name, year, or location. Duplication occurs.

The immediate family subseries includes 138 group portraits and snapshots of a mix of at least two members (i.e. Jeanne and Jack or Catherine, Jeanne, and Jack, etc.). The bulk of the photographs depict Jeanne and Jack together in various settings. Additional materials include family financial records and assorted ephemera, such as a Chourré family bookplate, Christmas card, andThe World Book of Chourres [sic].

The extended family subseries includes primarily photographic prints featuring Catherine’s extended family, including her parents, Jefferson “Jeff” and Carrie (Cornell) Davis; and pen-and-wash drawings of Carrie’s parents, Hiram and Sarah Ann (Haight) Cornell. Other identified individuals include Jack’s children, Clinton and Ceci, and wife, Karen. Additionally, a few photographs that include individuals who are likely family but who have not been positively identified are in this folder. Additional materials relate primarily to Jeff Davis and include fraternal organization materials, including membership certificates and handbooks and his 1902 life insurance policy. Also included isThe Company Commander booklet, a 1988 Naval training yearbook which features a picture of Jack’s son, Clinton.

Series III, General, 1919-1970 includes primarily black-and-white photographs of locations, including Hawaii, which has both black-and-white and hand-colored images; Pacific Northwest mountain peaks, such as Mount Rainier, Mount Hood, and Diamond Peak, and unidentified locations and buildings. There are also souvenir booklets and photographic postcards for Australia, Hawaii, and Mill Valley and Crater Lake, California; assorted aviation-related clippings (non-military or NAR); two panoramic lithographs, one of which is a LZ-130 airship cutaway; postal stamps, including one for the Canal Zone; oversize maps of San Diego and California coastal areas; a 1936-1937 Port of San Diego booklet and a February 1930 issue of San Diego magazine and a 1947 calendar featuring contemporaneous aircraft.


  • 1889-1988
  • Majority of material found within 1920s-1950s


Language of Materials

One piece of ephemera is in Japanese. All other 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.


5 Cubic Feet (4 full-width legal size document boxes, 2 flat boxes, 1 half-width legal size document box, and 4 oversize folders)


The Emile Chourré and Chourré Family Papers is comprised of documents and scrapbooks, photographic prints and photograph albums, and assorted ephemera primarily pertaining to the life and military career of Lieutenant Commander Emile Chourré (1894-1938). Major topics include Chourré's military service, especially while stationed in Coco Solo, Panama; his service as a U.S. Naval announcer for the 1929-1931 and 1933-1934 National Air Races; and family (immediate and extended) photographs.

Biographical Note: Emile Chourré

Emile Chourré was a naval aviator who served in various locations during his military career. Of particular interest is his 1919-1921 time in the Panama Canal Zone and service as the U.S. Navy radio announcer during the 1929-1931 and 1933-1934 National Air Races.

Emile Chourré (also seen as Chourre), was born August 28, 1894 in San Francisco, California to Pierre and Marianne (Mausegne) Chourré. His parents died when he was quite young and he was sent to an orphanage, where he lived until he graduated from Gilroy High School in 1912. He then attended the University of California at Berkeley, California. Chourré transferred to Santa Barbara State in Santa Barbara, California. After graduation he briefly worked as a teacher at Alameda High School in 1917 prior to his enlistment in the United States Navy (USN) in 1917.

Chourré became a naval aviator, serving in various locations throughout his military career including San Diego, California; Miami and Pensacola, Florida; Washington, D.C.; and Coco Solo in the Panama Canal Zone. Chourré was assigned by the U.S. Navy to serve as one of the announcers during the National Air Races for 1929-1931 and 1933-1934.

He married Catherine Davis in 1920 and had two children, Jeanne and Jack. On January 26, 1938, Lieutenant Commander Emile Chourré was killed in a plane crash at the U.S. Army Air Corps' Scott Field, Belleville, Illinois.


Biography derived from collection materials, donor information and

Note on Arrangement

Arranged in three series: 1. Emile Chourré, 1916-1977. 2. Family, 1889-1998. 3. General, 1919-1970.

The records are arranged in three series, which have been further arranged into subseries. Subseries were determined by topic. Due to size, the Military subseries within Series I has been further broken down into textual and photographic materials. The textual materials sub-subseries has an accompanying sub-subseries for Chourre's death. Materials within subseries are organized in loose chronological order with the undated items being at the rear of dated materials.

Records within the Military-related have been maintained in their original order, as much as possible, espeically in folders where all materials were originally bound together (Box One, Folders 7-10, Box Two, Folders 1-2, and Box Three, Folders 4-7). Original file titles have been maintained whenever possible and are denoted by the use of quotation marks. All other titles have been derived by the processing archivist. The series, subseries, and sub-subseries arrangement is as follows:

  • Series I: Emile Chourré
  • Subseries: Military-related
  • * Sub-subseries: Textual materials
  • * Sub-subseries: Death of Emile Chourré
  • * Sub-subseries: Photographic materials
  • Subseries: National Air Races (NAR)
  • Subseries: Personal
  • Series II: Family
  • Subseries: Catherine Chourré
  • Subseries: Jeanne Chourré
  • Subseries: Jack Chourré
  • Subseries: Immedediate family
  • Subseries: Extended family
  • Series III: General

Custodial History

This collection was donated by Gordon Luecknotte, a friend of Jack Chourré, son of Emile Chourré. Luecknotte recieved the collection when Jack Chourré died.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Materials at Other Institutions

The Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register has additional information on Emile Chourré. Online at

Separated Materials

The following materials have been separated from the archival component and are kept in the Library: Books:
  • The ABC of Flight
  • Air Babies
  • Air Power
  • Airplane Stress Analysis
  • American Practical Navigator
  • The Engineer's Manual
  • Infantry Drill Regulations of the United States Army
  • Japanese in a Hurry
  • Manual of Engineering Instructions and Manual of Engineering Instructions: Uniform Regulations
  • Navigation and Nautical Astronomy
  • Non-Interval Tables
  • Simple Aerodynamics and the Airplane
  • U.S. Navy from Revolution to Date (1918)
  • U.S. Navy War Photographs


  • Arklite (U.S.S.Arkansas), November 11, 1933 and January 20, 1934
  • The Carrier, October 26 and 27th, 1945
  • Consolidator, multiple issues from September 1936-December 1937
  • Insignia, June 1938
  • Our Navy, January 1933
  • Plane Talk (U.S.S.Saratoga), June 23, 1934
  • The Trouble Shooter (Naval Air Station (NAS) San Diego), Volume 4, Number 33, December 19, 1930

Additionally, several items are kept in Objects storage:

  • Three military patches
  • Two black leather wallet
  • Pilot license holder

Finally, a small selection of materials are kept in the Trade Literature collection:

  • Aero-Voughtics booklet
  • Pratt & Whitney Aeronautical Express booklet
  • Pratt & Whitney Turn Wasp Jr. & Turn Wasp Engine Installations booklet

Processing Information

The archivist organized by major themes (see Note on Arrangment) and retained original order whenever possible, most notably in the military documentation. Several folders in this section were in poor condition and disassembled for preservation reasons. Photocopies of the folder covers and any contextual information were made, placed in front of the corresponding materials, and original order was retained. Loose items found within folders, scrapbooks and photograph albums, and other enclosures such as envelopes have been left in situ and have either been interleaved or sleeved.

Original file titles have been used whenever possible and are denoted by quotation marks. All other titles were derived by the processing archivist. Three items were removed from frames for preservation reasons. All loose photographs were sleeved and sorted by topic; those affixed within photograph albums and scrapbooks have been interleaved.
Guide to the Emile Chourré and Chourré Family Papers
Completed - Level 3
J. Parent
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
1st edition

Revision Statements

  • July 2020: Updated related agents.

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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