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Archives at The Museum of Flight

William James World War I Photograph Collection

Identifier: 2001-02-15
The William James World War I Photograph Collection consists of five photographic prints of World War I fighter pilots and aircraft. The pilots pictured are Billy Bishop, Frank Luke, Raoul Lufbery, and Eddie Rickenbacker. The aircraft pictured is a Fokker Dr.I Triplane (F.I).

Please note: The photographs were removed from frames for preservation reasons. The inscriptions on the images described in this finding aid are derived from information on the back of the frame and are not present on the physical prints.


  • Majority of material found within circa 1914-1918


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.


0.1 Cubic Feet (1 letter size folder)


The collection contains four photographs of fighter pilots who served during World War I and one photograph of a Fokker Dr.I Triplane (F.I).

Historical Note: Fokker Dr.I Triplane (F.I)

The Fokker Dr.I Triplane (F.I) was a World War I fighter aircraft made by the Dutch company Fokker-Flugzeugwerke. Development was spurred by the arrival of the British Sopwith Camel triplane in early 1917. In April 2017, Anthony Fokker, founder of Fokker, evaluated a captured Sopwith Camel triplane and set his aircraft designer, Reinhold Platz, to work. After a few prototypes and combat testing, the Fokker Dr.I began production. One of the first two Fokker triplanes was allocated to Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron. Though considered extremely agile and highly maneuverable, it was slower than Allied forces aircraft, had a poor takeoff and landing view for the pilot, and suffered engine failures due to a castor oil shortage. Production ceased in May 1918, after only 320 were manufactured.

Sources and Further Reading:

Guttman, John. Sopwith Camel vs Fokker Dr.I: Western Front 1917-18. New York: Osprey Publishing, 2008.

Imrie, Alex. Fokker Fighters of World War One. London: Arms & Armour Press Lrd., 1986.
Biographical Note: William "Billy" Avery Bishop William "Billy" Avery Bishop was born on February 8, 1894 in Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada to William and Margaret Bishop. He attended the Royal Military College before joining the 8th Canadian Mounted Rifles in 1915. Bishop soon transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) where he was first assigned as a observer-gunner. After just a few months, Bishop applied for training as a pilot and in November 1916, he was assigned to the No. 37 Squadron of the RFC in Essex, England.

Again, after just a few months, Bishop applied for a transfer to France and on March 17, 1917 he was assigned to the No. 60 Squadron near Arras, France. On April 8, 1917, Bishop achieved ace status with his fifth victory, a scant three weeks after his arrival. In April, he claimed 12 victories winning the Military Cross and a promotion to captain for his participation in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. In May 1917, Bishop won the Distinguished Service Order for shooting down two aircraft while being attacked by four others. Early in June 1917, Bishop flew a solo mission behind enemy lines to attack a German-held aerodrome, claiming he shot down three aircraft that were taking off to attack him and also destroying several more on the ground. For this feat, he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

After the Armistice was announced, Bishop was discharged on December 31, 1918 and returned to Canada. By the war's end, Bishop had claimed slightly more than 70 victories. After World War I, Bishop toured and lectured on aerial warfare. Billy Bishop died in his sleep on September 11, 1956.

Sources and Further Reading:

Bishop, William Arthur. The Courage of the Early Morning: a frank biography of Billy Bishop, the great ace of World War I. New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1966.

Bishop, William Avery. Winged Warfare: hunting the Huns in the air. New York : Hodder and Stoughton, 1918.

Cosgrove, Edmund. Canada's Fighting Pilots.Toronto, Vancouver, Canada: Clarke, Irwin & Company, Ltd., 1965.
Biographical Note: Raoul Lufbery Gervais Raoul Lufbery was born in Clermont-Ferrand, France on March 21, 1885 to an American father, Edward Lufbery, and French mother, Madame Annette (Vesieres) Lufbery. His mother passed before his first birthday; five years later his father remarried and returned to the United States - leaving his sons (Raoul's brothers - Julian and Charles) behind and in the care of relatives. In 1908, Raoul traveled as well as joined the American army and served in the Phillipines. He also became a naturalized American citizen.

In 1912, he met the French aviator Marc Pourpe and became his mechanic. When World War I started, Pourpe joined the French Air Service and on August 24, 1914 Lufbery joined the French Foreign Legion. After Pourpe was killed in a crash, Lufbery decided to avenge his friend by becoming a pilot.

From October 1915 to May 1916, Lufbery was assigned to Escadrille VB106 but later was assigned to Escadrille Americaine. On July 30, 1916 he scored his first victory, shooting down a German biplane. Lufbery achieved ace status on October 12, 1916 while protecting Allied bombers. For a time, Lufbery was the commander of the 94th Aero Squadron. His last flight was on May 19, 1918. Engaging enemy aircraft when his aircraft burst into flames, Lufbery tried to jump from his plane to a small creek but did not succeed. He died near the village of Maron (France).

For his service, Lufbery was awarded France's Croix de Guerre, with ten Palms, the Medaille Militaire, the Legion d' Honneur, and the British Military Medal.

Sources and Further Reading:

Franks, Norman. Nieuport Aces of World War I. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2000.
Biographical Note: Frank Luke, Jr. Frank Luke, Jr. was born May 19, 1897 in Phoenix, Arizona and was an American fighter ace during World War I. He was nicknamed the "Balloon Buster" and "bad boy" of aces for his frequent refusals to follow commands and tendency to act as a lone wolf.

Luke enlisted September 1917 and in July 1918 was assigned to the 27th Aero Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group and flew Spads. On August 16, Luke got his first airplane victory and his first balloon on September 12, 1918. He is credited with eighteen victories, four aircraft and fourteen balloons.

Luke often teamed with Lieutenant Joseph Wehner, his friend and wingman, who would protect him, until September 18, 1918 when Wehner was fatally shot down engaging Fokkers in Luke's defense. Shortly after on September 29, Luke defied the order of his commander and flew to front lines, flaming three balloons and German troops in the village of Murvau (France). Wounded and forced to land just outside the village, 2nd Lieutenant Frank Luke was killed by German soldiers when he refused to surrender and opened fire on them with his pistol. After his death, Luke was awarded two Distinguished Service Crosses and the Medal of Honor.

Sources and Further Reading:

Aerodrome: Aces and Aircraft of World War I.

Hall, Norman S. The Balloon Buster: Frank Luke of Arizona. New York: Arno Press, 1972.

Whitehouse, Arch. Hun Killer. New York: Award Books, 1966.
Biographical Note: William James 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. His 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, he 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 in 1941 due to World War II, and selling 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). He 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.

Sources and Further Reading:

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

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.

Wooley, Charles. The Hat in the Ring Gang: The Combat History of the 94th Aero Squadron in World War I." Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2001.


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 Archival Materials at The Museum of Flight

The following materials relate to the pilots pictured in this collection and the squadrons in which they served:

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 Aero Squadron, in which Rickenbacker and Lufberry served.

F. Wehner Collection. This collection relates to Lieut. Joseph F. Wehner, who was a friend and frequent wingman of Frank Luke until he was killed in action on September 18, 1918.

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

Because of the significance of several of these men, there are many collections which include clippings or photos of them, but that are not individually listed here. Please consult the archivist for more details.
Related Archival Materials at Other Institutions The following materials relate to the pilots pictured in this collection and the squadrons in which they served:

Billy Bishop Museum, Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada.

94th Aero Squadron Photographs [Sierun], 1917-1919, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C. Online finding aid:

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

Separated Materials

The following materials are housed in Objects storage:

  • One (1) leather fighter jacket (World War II-era)

  • One (1) wooden propeller



Guide to the William James World War I Photograph 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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