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Archives at The Museum of Flight

James Pinger Collection

Identifier: 2000-01-20
The James Pinger Collection contains one signed black-and-white portrait of Eddie Rickenbacker in front of an aircraft, as well as a certificate celebrating the 50th anniversary of United Airlines.


  • circa 1917-1919, 1976
  • 1976


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.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 file folder)


The collection contains a signed black-and-white portrait of World War I pilot and ace Eddie Rickenbacker and a certificate celebrating the 50th anniversary of United Airlines.

Biographical Note: James W. Pinger

No biographical information is known.
Biographical Note: Eddie Rickenbacker Edward "Eddie" Rickenbacker was born in Columbus, Ohio on October 8, 1890 to William and Elizabeth Rickenbacher. He adopted the middle name of "Vernon" and altered the spelling of his last name to "Rickenbacker" due to anti-German sentiment during World War I. In May 1917, Rickenbacker enlisted in the United States Army and arrived in France. Initially Rickenbacker was assigned to be a staff driver for General John Pershing at the rank of Sergeant first-class, but, eager to fly, he managed to get a transfer to the Army Air Service.

After training, Rickenbacker was commissioned as a first lietuenant and was assigned to the 94th Aero Squadron, which was the first all-American air unit to see action during World War I. Rickenbacker had his first confirmed victory on April 24, 1918 and in May, he became an ace and won the French Croix de Guerre by shooting down five German airplanes. He was named commander of the 94th, the "Hat-in-the-Ring" Squadron, on September 24, 1918. The following day, Eddie shot down two more German airplanes, victories for which the U.S. government awarded him a belated Congressional Medal of Honor in 1930. His twenty-sixth confirmed victory occurred on October 30, and the last victory (the 69th) for the 94th occurred on November 10, 1918. World War I ended the next day. Eddie returned home in 1919 as America's "Ace of Aces." In 1919, Rickenbacker was discharged from the Army Air Service with the rank of captain.

After World War I, Rickenbacker started the Rickenbacker Motor Company in 1920, which went bankrupt in 1927. That same year, he purchased the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and ran it successfully for many years, closing it in 1941 due to World War II, and selling it in 1945. In 1935, Rickenbacker was asked by General Motors (GM) to manage Eastern Air Transport. Merging Eastern with Florida Airways, he formed Eastern Air Lines (EAL) and bought EAL in 1938 and remained active with the company for decades. Rickenbacker resigned as the Chairman of the Board on December 31, 1963, at the age of 73.

After his resignation from EAL, he and his wife (Adelaide) traveled. In 1973, while in Switzerland, Rickenbacker suffered a stroke and after contracting pnuemonia died on July 23, 1973.

Sources and Further Reading:

Eddie Rickenbacker papers, Auburn University Digital Library, online finding aid:

Lewis, W. David. Eddie Rickenbacker: An American Hero in the Twentieth Century. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 2005.

Rickenbacker, Edward V. Rickenbacker: An Autobiography. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1967.

Rickenbacker, Edward V. Seven came through: Rickenbacker's full story. New York: Doubleday, 1943.

Ross, John F. Enduring courage: ace pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the dawn of the age of speed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2014.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Archival Materials at Other Institutions

There is material relating to Eddie Rickenbacker at the Auburn University Digital Library:

Eddie Rickenbacker papers, RG 101, Auburn University Digital Library, Auburn, Alabama. Online finding aid:

Additionally, the National Museum of the US Air Force has various materials relating to Eddie Rickenbacker, although there is no single online collection. Researchers can search "Rickenbacker" on the website. [How do I word something like this if I do so?]
Related Archival Materials at The Museum of Flight The following collections at the Museum of Flight relate to the Rickenbacker and/or the 94th Aero Squadron, in which Rickenbacker served during World War I:

Nancy Harkness Collection of World War I Photograph Albums. Three albums of World War I photographs depicting various U.S. Air Service squadrons stationed along the French-German border during and after the war, including the 94th.

Captain Hamilton Coolidge Collection. Collection relating to pilot, ace, and friend of Rickenbacker's who served with Rickenbbacker in the 94th during World War I.

Please note that because of Eddie Rickenbacker's prominence there are many collections that may contain clippings and/or photographs of him, but are not listed individually here. Please contact the archivist for further assistance.
Guide to the James Pinger Collection
Completed - Level 4
J. Parent
Description rules
Language of description
Processing, cataloging and digitization of this collection was made possible by a Council on Libraries and Information Resources (CLIR) "Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives" grant.
Edition statement
1st Edition

Revision Statements

  • 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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