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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Florence Ragen Douglas World Cruisers Photograph Collection

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: 2007-03-29-C
The Florence Ragen Douglas World Cruisers Photograph Collection contains a single black-and-white photograph taken in March 1924. The image depicts six of the eight fliers from the first round-the-world flight standing in front of a car: (from left to right) Leigh Wade, Erik H. Nelson, Leslie P. Arnold, Lowell H. Smith, John Harding, Jr., and Henry H. Ogden. Two Douglas World Cruisers are partially visible behind the men. A note on the back of the print identifies the right hand plane as the Chicago (No.2), however it is on the left with Boston (No. 3) on the right. Per the caption on the back, the photograph was taken right after landing in Eugene, Oregon en route to the official start point in Seattle, Washington. It is unclear who took the photograph. The front of the print includes a signature: "Sincerely Lt Lowell H. Smith." The photograph is 7 x 10.5 inches.


  • 1924 March

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 letter file folder)

Historical Note: 1924 Around-the-world flight

In 1924 a team of eight men from the United States Army Air Service completed the first around-the-world flight in four Douglas World Cruisers. The attempt began on April 6, 1924, when the Douglas World Cruisers took off from their official starting point of Sand Point in Seattle, Washington.

The aircraft and crew were:
  • Seattle (No.1), Major Frederick L. Martin (1882–1956), pilot and flight commander, and SSgt. Alva L. Harvey (1900–1992), flight mechanic
  • Chicago (No.2), Lieutenant Lowell H. Smith (1892–1945), pilot, subsequent flight commander, and 1st Lieutenant Leslie P. Arnold (1893–1961), co-pilot
  • Boston/Boston II (No.3), 1st Lieutenant Leigh P. Wade (1897–1991), pilot, and SSgt. Henry H. Ogden (1900–1986), flight mechanic
  • New Orleans (No.4) Lieutenant Erik H. Nelson (1888–1970), pilot, and Lieutenant John Harding Jr. (1896–1968), co-pilot

The fliers generally traveled westward, with multiple fueling and maintenance stops in more than 20 countries. After leaving Seattle, the teams headed northwest to Alaska, then across the Pacific Islands to Japan and South Asia, moving across to Europe before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to return to the United States.

The flight was not without difficulties. On April 30, 1924, the lead aircraft, Seattle (No.1), crashed in Alaska, although the crew survived. On August 3, 1924, the Boston (No.3) was forced down and eventually sank near the Faroe Islands. It was replaced by the prototype Douglas World Cruiser, rechristened as Boston II, and rejoined the flight from Pictou, Nova Scotia. The three remaining aircraft landed for the final time in Seattle on September 24, 1924, having successfully completed the first aerial circumnavigation of the world. In total, the flight covered 26,345 miles and took 363 flying hours and over 175 days.

Related Materials at The Museum of Flight

The Museum of Flight holds multiple collections related to the first aerial circumnavigation and the Douglas World Cruisers, including:

  • Donna Hansen Douglas World Cruisers Photograph Collection (Accession 2002-07-18)
  • Joseph Baillargeon Douglas World Cruisers Photograph Collection (Accession 2011-00-00-13)
  • Steven E. Brackin Prints of Leigh Wade Negatives of Douglas World Cruisers (Accession 2018-00-00-183)
  • Virginia Drugg Douglas World Cruisers Photograph Collection (Accession 1995-01-06)

Please contact us for more details.
Guide to the Florence Ragen Douglas World Cruisers Photograph Collection
Completed - Level 2
Jenn Parent
2024 April
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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