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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Seymour Rutberg World War II Collection

Identifier: 2022-06-16
The Seymour Rutberg World War II Collection documents Seymour Rutberg's World War II service as a pilot as well as his post-war service and veteran activities. A smaller amount of material is personal in nature. Most items are dated 1941-1952 and include military records, flying logs, clippings, correspondence, reports and photographs. The collection has been arranged into three main series, arranged chronologically: Military service materials, Post-war materials and Personal documents.

Series I: Military service materials, 1942-1946, consists primarily of military records and documents, such as identification cards and licenses; flying logs and assorted clippings. Of note are two typed reports about D-Day written by Rutberg. The first, "Invasion of the Continent," describes the atmosphere and military activites just prior to and on D-Day, including Rutberg's experience dropping 101st Airborne paratroopers. The second report, "Dinghy, Dinghy, Prepare for Ditching," details the experience of Rutberg and his crew who had to ditch their crippled Douglas C-47 Skytrain into the English Channel. A clipping and photograph of the group accompany the report. Related to the ditching experience is a small amount of material, including correspondence, pamphlet and membership cards, for the Goldfish Club. Membership is earned when a person is forced to escape an aircraft into water and have been saved by dinghy or flotable device.

Another highlight is a letter handwritten by Rutberg that explains why he named his plane "Satan's Sanctuary." Part of his letter states: "In the 1930s through 1940s, Jews were looked upon as descendants of Satan. Hitler propagandized the world with hatred for anyone Jewish...I named my aircraft 'Satan's Sanctuary,' the implication being Satan is coming to get you because this 'Jewboy' will prevail!!"

The series has a small Photographs subseries with 70 photographs arranged alphabetically by topic. There are four prints that depict the cockpit of a B-24 as well as partial views of the aircraft. One image depicts a Vought OS2U Kingfisher floatplane aboard a ship, circa 1940s. Seven prints focus on buildings and street scenes, however the only identified location is Catania, Siciliy, Italy. Twenty-seven images depict military personnel posing near aircraft, with friends and fellow service members and at social events, including a parade, graduation dance, and what appears to be a party. Rutberg is featured in several images with his mother, Betty; his wife, Marjorie; and with his fellow servicemen identified by last name only: Breckenridge, Gaulding, Lewis, Lightcap, White, and Woods. Locations include Lakeland, Florida; Turner Field, Georgia; Pope Field, North Carolina; Shaw Field, South Carolina; Malta and Nigeria. Finally, there are 32 prints of Rutberg without other people, usually in front of or near to aircraft, including with his aircraft "Satan's Sanctuary" and "Satan's Sanctuary II," which was his second plane after the first was ditched. The photographs are a mix of casual and posed portraits and vary in size. Some include brief captions that provide contextual information such as name, date, or location. Duplication occurs.

Series II: Post-war materials focuses on Rutberg's 1948-1952 reserve status and 1994-2007 veteran activities, mostly related to the commemoration of D-Day. Additional items include materials pertinent to the 78th Troop Carrier association, such as correspondence, roster, and a "memory booklet" from one of their annual meetings. There is also a packet of printed emails discussing the 78th Troop Carrier Association member's displeasure with Stephen E. Ambrose's book, D Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II. There is also a small amount of correspondence between Florida Senator Bob Graham and Marjorie Rutberg, Seymour's wife, that advocate for the Distinguished Flying Cross to be awarded to her husband. Her request was ultimately denied.

Lastly, Series III: Personal documents is the smallest. It includes business cards, financial records, and correspondence, including a draft letter written by Rutberg to actor Jimmy Stewart, whom he met briefly in 1943. Additional materials include a small amount of ephemera and clippings, including a partial February 2009 obituary for Rutberg. There are also 10 photographs of assorted people, most of whom are likely friends and family. Rutberg is included in some images. Identified people include Seymour's wife, Marjorie Rutberg; actress Ann Shirley; and former Massachusetts Governor John Volpe. One image depicts a partial view of an automobile dealership, likely owned by Rutberg. The prints are a mix of casual and posed shots, most are 4x5" and very few include captions. Duplication occurs.

Documents in this collection use outdated and offensive terms to describe Jewish people.


  • 1929-2009
  • Majority of material found within 1941-1952

Language of Materials

One certificate is in French. 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.


.78 Cubic Feet (1 full-width legal size document box, 1 half-width legal size document box, 1 oversize folder (16x20"))


Seymour Rutberg (1919-2009) was a Jewish American World War II pilot. The collection documents Seymour Rutberg's World War II service as a pilot as well as his post-war service and veteran activities. A smaller amount of material is personal in nature. Most items are dated 1941-1952 and types of material include military records, flying logs, clippings, correspondence, reports and photographs.

Biographical Note: Seymour Rutberg

Seymour Rutberg (1919-2009) was a Jewish American World War II pilot.

Seymour Rutberg was born on May 17, 1919 in Boston, Massachusetts to David and Bessie Lebb Rutberg. In 1942 he graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor's in Sociology. Immediately after graduation, Rutberg enlisted as a flying cadet in the Army Air Forces. He received his wings and commission in 1943.

During World War II, Rutberg served as a pilot with the 9th Troop Carrier Command, 53rd Troop Carrier Wing, 435th Troop Carrier Group, 78th Squadron which was based in England. On D-Day he flew two missions, first dropping 101st Airborne paratroopers, then towing a glider. During the glider flight he had to ditch his crippled Douglas C-47 Skytrain in the English Channel thus earning membership in the Goldfish Club. Rutberg also flew in Operation Dragoon (France) and Operation Market Garden (Netherlands), as well as many supply missions to troops in France and Germany. He left active military service in November 1946 at the rank of Captain. Rutberg remained in the Reserves from approximately 1948 to 1952.

In July 1945, Rutberg married Marjorie Caroline Fisher (1922-2004) in Boston, Massachusetts. The couple had two children. During the 1940s-1970s, the family lived in various cities in Massachusetts. Post-war, Rutberg owned multiple automobile dealerships and later held management positions in investment firms. In 1978, the Rutbergs retired to Sarasota, Florida. Rutberg remained active, serving on various boards and as a mentor to young entrepreneurs. He was also a member of the Jewish War Veterans of America. Seymour Rutberg died on February 4, 2009 in Sarasota, Florida.

Biography derived from collections materials and records on


No further accruals are expected.

Related Materials at Other Institutions

For additional materials related to the Jewish American homefront and veteran experience in World War II:

The National World War II Museum. Online at

Library of Congress, Serving: Our Voices, Jewish Veterans of World War II. Online at

Separated Materials

The following items were separated from the archival componenent and are housed in the Library:
  • Dakota, January 2007 (Dutch language)
  • Jewish Veteran, November 2007, Volume 60, Number 5
  • Preflight, September 1942
  • 78th Troop Carrier Association -- newsletters, 1993-2007 (multiple issues)
  • High Pitch 43-B and 43-C -- yearbooks
  • Abstract: Physiological Aspects of High Altitude Flying by Low Pressure Chamber Unit, Maxwell Field
  • History of 9th Troop Carrier Command, 435th Troop Carrier Group by Keys Printing Company, 1946

There is also a large number of items kept in Ojects storage, icluding flight helmets, goggles, headphones, medals, oxygen mask, patches, ribbons, and a scarf made from Rutberg's parachute, among other items. For more information contact us.

Processing Information

The collection arrived with minimal order. Upon review, the Processing Archivist further refined the arrangement to group related materials. Photographs were placed in protective enclosures. Items were removed from non-archival envelopes and placed in acid-free folders. Oversize and fragile materials were interleaved.
Seymour Rutberg World War II Collection
Completed - Level 3
Jenn Parent
2023 March
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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