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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Nordhoff and Dunnam Families Collection

Identifier: 2018-08-13
The Nordhoff and Dunnam Families Collection contains papers, photographs, and assorted ephemera spanning 1916-2012 and relating to Arthur Nordhoff (World War I pilot); his wife, Thelma Miller Nordhoff (Signal Corps); their daughter, Nancy Nordhoff Dunnam (WASP); and her husband James Joseph Dunnam (World War II Battalion Commander). The collection is organized by family member.

The Arthur Nordhoff series of the collection consists of three black-and-white photographs of Arthur in uniform and with his military unit. Two of the three photographs have no annotations, but one is labeled "At M.I.T. 1916."

The Thelma Miller Nordhoff series consists of two black-and-white photographs of Thelma in her Signal Corps uniform and one black-and-white photograph of Thelma in uniform with a cousin who was serving in the Navy (also in uniform).

The James Dunnam series consists of a black-and-white photograph of James in uniform at his desk, his flight class yearbook, and diplomas for Army training courses he completed. Also filed in this series are items relating to Bellevue Airfield. There are two business cards citing Dunnam as president, a survey prepared for "A.A. Nordhoff," and one black-and-white aerial photograph.

The Nancy Nordhoff Dunnam series is the largest series in the collection and concerns her work as a WASP during World War II. It includes black-and-white and color photographs of Dunnam in uniform, posing with aircraft, and from the WASP Congressional Medal Ceremony. There are also official military paperwork, newspaper clippings, and a roster of women who served as WASPs. The roster includes Nancy's annotations (such as address changes for friends), and pieces of ephemera found loose in the roster include correspondence, an obituary, and more address changes. There are two short snorters that were removed from a wallet containing Nancy's ID cards. These short snorters belonged to her brother, Arthur E. Nordhoff, but have been left with the other wallet items to preserve context.


  • Majority of material found within 1916-2012

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.


.4 Cubic Feet (1 full-size letter width document box)


The Nordhoff and Dunnam Families Collection contains items relating to the World War I and II service of the Nordhoff and Dunnam families.

Biographical Note: Arthur Nordhoff

Arthur Alfonsus Nordhoff was born July 29, 1895 to Edward and Josephine Nordhoff. His family founded the Bon Marche department store in Seattle, Washington. His father died in 1899, and he lived above the department store with his family until his mother remarried. He attended Queen Anne High School and the Univeristy of Washington in Seattle, and then Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Nordhoff joined the Army Air Service in 1917 and was commissioned as a second Lieutenant. He was then assigned to the 168th Aero Squadron, which traveled to the Western Front during World War I but never saw much action. He returned home and worked for his family's business. In 1941, Nordhoff founded the Bellevue (Wash.) Airport, though it did not become active until after World War II ended. Nordhoff served as President of Puget Sound Air Service, Inc., which operated out of the Bellevue Airport.

In 1920 he married Thelma Miller, and they had three children: Nancy, Maria, and Arthur E. Following Thelma's death in 1940, Arthur married Alice E. Sargent in 1942. Arthur Nordhoff died in Washington in 1984.
Biographical Note: Thelma (Miller) Nordhoff Thelma Miller was born in Virginia circa 1896 and served as a member of the Signal Corps in World War I. In 1920 she married Arthur Nordhoff and together they had three children: Nancy, Maria, and Arthur E. Thelma Nordhoff died on August 15, 1940.
Biographical Note: James Dunnam James Joseph Dunnam was born March 29, 1919. He served as a Battalion Commander in World War II. He was the commanding officer of Nancy Nordhoff, who would later become his wife. They had two children, Terre Ann and James Arthur. James Dunnam died March 7, 1995.
Biographical Note: Nancy (Nordhoff) Dunnam Nancy Anne Boyns Nordhoff was born in Seattle to Arthur and Thelma Nordhoff on April 16, 1923. After school, she travelled to Texas in 1942 with her friend Carol Nicholson to join the Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). During World War II, Nancy married James Dunnam. Nancy and James had two children, Terre Ann and James Arthur.

Biography derived from collection materials and records on


The collection is arranged into four series, one for each family member represented in the collection and the series are in chronological order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by the Dunnams' daughter.


No further accruals expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Materials from this collection have been digitized and are available at The Museum of Flight Digital Collections.

Related Materials at The Museum of Flight

The Museum also has The Nordhoff and Dunnam families papers (1993-05-11).
Guide to the Nordhoff and Dunnam Families Collection
Completed - Level 3
H. Kolesar
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
1st edition

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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