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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Lewis Paul Bowers World War II Collection

Identifier: 2019-08-09
The Lewis Paul Bowers World War II Collection is comprised of photographs and various textual materials, including military records, orrders, certificates, and correspondence, primarily related to the World War II experience of Lewis Paul Bowers, a flight navigator on a Consolidated B-24 Liberator ("Rude Nude") of the 307th Bombardment Group, 13th Air Force. There are also some items related to post-war activities as well as personal and family materials. The bulk of the collection has been gathered by Bowers, but it is likely some items have been gathered by one of his sons, Barry A. Bowers. The collection has been arranged into two series, Military materials and Personal and Family materials. The military materials has been further divided into two subseries, World War II and Post-war. Materials are arranged chronologically within subseries.

Series I, Military materials, 1942-1945, 1974-2012, consists of two subseries: World War II materials and Post-war materials. The first subseries, World War II, 1942-1945, contains military records, orders, and certificates. There are also letters and v-mail (victory mail) to Bowers' mother, Mrs. Ora E. Bowers, written while Bowers was in training and on active military service. The letters start in January 1943 and run through May 1945. Note that there is a six-month gap from July 1944 through December 1944 that has no correspondence. Most of the letters are from Bowers himself, although some were written by his wife, Mary, and mostly discuss personal news, although some letters do touch on his military activities. There is one additional letter, to Bowers from Montano [illegible], in July 1945, asking for school supplies. It is assumed that Bowers met this person while serving in the Philippines.

Also included are 38 photographic prints. Images are a mix of snapshots and posed shots and range in size from 2x3" to 9x21". All but one are black-and-white. Some images include brief captions that contain identifying information, such as date, location, and names. There are six photographic portraits of Lewis Paul Bowers; one is hand-colored and includes his brother, Harold E. Bowers, with both depicted in their military uniforms. Twenty-one images depict aerial shots of Borneo and the Philippines. There are also five group portraits and six shots showing aircraft in flight and on the ground.

The bulk of the second subseries, Post-war materials, 1974-2012, is assorted documents, rosters, correspondence, clippings, and reunion and news publications related to the 307th Bombardment Group Association. There is also one partially blank Department of Veterans Affairs information release form for Lewis Paul Bowers, circa 2012.

Series II, Personal and family materials, 1932-1965, 2004, is comprised of a 1932 black-and-white group portrait of the "Register and Tribune Carrier Salesmen's Convention," a clipping from an unidentified publication about the 1942 death of Lewis's brother Harold E. Bowers, who died in a Navy aircraft crash, and a World War II ration book for Edna O. Bowers [possibly meant for Ora E. Bowers?]. There are also assorted military documents related to Lewis Paul Bowers' service in the California National Guard, 1949-1954, and one panoramic group portrait, which includes Bowers, of the 49th Division Artillery at Camp Cooke, California, June 1951. At the end of the collection is a 1965 seminar paper by Bowers and assorted ephemera, including a 2004 donor acknowledgement certificate for Bowers.


  • 1932-2012
  • Majority of material found within 1942-1946


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.


1.05 Cubic Feet (2 full-width legal size document boxes and 1 oversize folder)

Biographical Note: Lewis Paul Bowers

Lewis Paul Bowers served in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II.

Bowers was born on December 9, 1922 in Colorado but at some point his family moved to Iowa. He enlisted in the United States Army Air Force on February 16, 1942. He was stationed in Manila, Philippines and served as a navigator on the Consolidated B-24 Liberator ("Rude Nude") with the 370th Heavy Bombardment Squadron, 307th Bomb Group, 13th Air Force during World War II.

Bowers married Mary C. Weidner and the couple had two sons, Barry and Kenny. After the war, Bowers served with the California National Guard, circa late 1940s through the mid-1950s. He also taught high school math in San Jose, California. Later in life, Bowers had a garlic farm in Grants Pass, Oregon. As of 2017, Lewis Paul Bowers was residing in the Pacific Northwest.

Bowers' brother, Harold Eugene (born 1918), served in the Navy starting in 1935 and during World War II but was killed in service in Norfolk, Virginia in 1942. Lewis and Eugene also had two sisters, Alice and Claradee.


Biography derived from donor information, collection materials, and records on

Note on Arrangement

Collection arranged into two series; Military materials and Personal and family materials. Military materials is further divided into two sub-series; World War II related materials and Post-war materials. Series and sub-series are arranged chronologically, with undated materials at end of dated materials.

  • Series I: Military materials, 1942-1945, 1974-2012
    • Subseries: World War II-era related materials, 1942-1945
    • Subseries: Post-war materials, 194-2012
  • Series II: Personal and family materials, 1932-1965, 2004, undated

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection was donated by the family of Lewis Paul Bowers.


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 Materials at Other Institutions

Additional information about the 307th Bombardment Group "The Long Rangers" can be found online here:

Separated Materials

The following materials were separated from the archival component and are kept in the Library:
  • 307th Bombardment Group (HV) Association "The Long Rangers" -- reunion booklets, No. 4-13, 1982-2000 (Note that there are gaps in the run)
  • 307th Bombardment Group (HV) Association "The Long Rangers"-- newsletters, April 1985-April 2004
  • Departure Point 43-13, Army Air Forces Navigation School, San Marcos Army Air Field, 1943 -- yearbook
  • WWII "Jungle" Air Force Veterans Association: News and Information for the members of the 13th Air Force Veterans Association -- newsletters, three issues for Autumn 1999, Winter 1999/2000, and Fall 2000
  • We'll Say Goodbye: Story of the "Long Rangers" by 307th Bombardment Group (HV) Association, 1945
  • From Fiji through the Philippines with the 13th Air Force by Benjamin E. Lippincott, 1948
Additional materials have been separated and are kept in Objects storage:
  • Office of Price Administration (OPA) ration tokens
  • Pins, medals, patches, and wings
  • Flight calculator
  • Dog tags and military uniform items, including a flight helmet

For more information contact us.

Processing Information

Original processing done by J. Parent, 2020.

Collection arrived in minimal order; original order was maintained were found, specifically in Box One, Folders 3-7 and Folders 9-12 and Box Two, Folders, 1, 3, and Folder 10. The items in these folders are arranged primarily chronologically by the donor. Some materials were removed from original folders for preservation reasons. Severely rusted fasteners were removed and materials grouped together by them were placed in acid-free enclosures in the original order. Original folder titles are denoted with the use of quotation marks; all other titles were derived by the processing archivist.

Materials not in discernible order were grouped by topic and arranged chronologically by the processing archivist. Undated materials are at end of each topic. Photographs and some fragile or smaller items have been sleeved and/or interleaved. All of the oversize photographs arrived rolled; these were lighlty humidified, unrolled, flattened, and sleeved for preservation. Clippings have had copies made on acid-free paper.
Guide to the Lewis Paul Bowers World War II Collection
Completed - Level 3
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
1st edition

Revision Statements

  • June 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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