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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Nordhoff and Dunnam families papers

Identifier: 1993-05-11
The Nordhoff and Dunnam families papers is comprised of material related to Arthur Alphonsus Nordhoff and his family including military service papers and information on Bellevue Airfield, spanning from the 1910s to the 1980s.

Arthur served as a pilot during World War I, and the collection contains a small amount of material related to this service, including a military leave certificate, Nordhoff's American Expeditionary Forces identity card, and seventeen (17) black-and-white photographs depicting military personnel and aircraft, including Curtiss JN-4D. There is also one (1) rolled copy of a photograph of Nordhoff's squadron, the family retains the original.

The bulk of the collection concerns the Bellevue Airfield, which was founded by Arthur Nordhoff in 1941. There is a small amount of assorted ephemera, including blank letterhead and receipts for Bellevue Airfield, a small map of the field, and a sign from the King County Planning Commission concerning a petition to rezone. Additionally, there are twenty-three (23) aerial photographs, ranging from 1941-1985, of Bellevue Airfield. There are also photographs of the flag circle at Bellevue Airport in 1982, as well as forty-seven (47) photographs of people, including Clayton Scott; aircraft, such as a Grumman G-44 Widgeon, a Piper PA-6 Sky Sedan, and a Mooney M-18; and buildings at Bellevue Airport. Some of the photographs have handwritten captions identifying people, aircraft, and dates on the reverse.

Additionally, there are three (3) scrapbooks which contain primarily clippings from various publications and a few photographs relating to Bellevue Airfield dating from 1962 to 1980. The material are glued and/or taped to the pages and virtually all of the clippings must be unfolded to be accessed. The scrapbooks have been disassembled for preservation reasons, but the content remains in its original order.

At the end of the collection, there is a file of research materials which was produced by The Museum of Flight and is not an original part of the collection. These materials were prepared by the Senior Curator for a presentation in 2014, and they are preserved with this collection for the use of researchers.


  • 1910s to 1980s


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.


1.5 Cubic Feet (1 document box, 1 flat box, and 1 rolled item)


Collection of photographs, scrapbooks, clippings, and assorted ephemera from the Nordhoff and Dunnam families, who served as pilots in World War I and World War II and later founded the Bellevue Airport.

Biographical Note: Arthur Alphonsus Nordhoff

Arthur Alphonsus 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.

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 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. Arthur Nordhoff died in Washington in 1984.
Biographical Note: Nancy (Nordhoff) Dunnam Nancy Anne Boyns Nordhoff was born 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 the war, Nancy married James Dunnam. Nancy and James had two children, Terre Ann and James Arthur.

No further information is known.
Historical Note: Bellevue Airfield The Bellevue Airfield was founded in 1941 by Arthur A. Nordhoff, a World War I Army aviator, though the airfield did not actually open until 1945 due to World War II.

There was no control tower at Bellevue Airfield; landings were coordinated by runway lights, and the airfield was often used in poor weather due to Renton or Boeing Airfields being socked in by fog. The airfield reached its peak in the 1970s when there were on average 51,000 landings and takeoffs a year. As the city of Bellevue began to expand in the late 1970s, however, usage declined and the airfield closed in 1983.

Sources and Further Reading:

Abandoned & Little Known Airfields: Washington State. Accessed September 19, 2014.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Archival Materials at Other Institutions

The Nordhoff family founded the Bon Marche department store in Seattle, and the documents and photographs related to this business are kept at The Museum of History and Industry (Seattle, Wash.).

Bon Marché Collection, 1889-1999. An online fnding aid for the collection can be found here:
Related Materials at The Museum of Flight Nancy (Nordhoff) Dunnam has also donated some of her WASP memorabilia to The Museum of Flight. It is on display in the Personal Courage Wing.
Guide to the Nordhoff and Dunnam families papers
Completed - Level 4
L. Zaborowski, J. Parent
2014, 2018
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
3rd Edition

Revision Statements

  • 2014, 2018: This finding aid was revised to reflect DACS and The Museum of Flight standards.
  • 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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