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Eighth Air Force archive

Identifier: 01538

Scope and Contents

The Eighth Air Force archive acquires and preserves original primary source documentation and reference materials devoted to the history of this strategic bombing group and the role its veterans played in defeating the Axis powers. The archive also collects records of the Eighth Air Force Historical Society and other World War II era combat, aviation and support organizations active in preserving the historical legacy of "The Mighty Eighth." Through donations and gifts provided by veterans and their families, state and local Eighth Air Force veteran's associations, private collectors and independent researchers, the Eighth Air Force archive collects a wide variety of materials, including: original documents and manuscripts; veteran's correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks and oral histories; filmed combat sorties; maps, photographs and original graphic art and ephemera; newspaper clippings, books and periodicals; as well as veteran's organization newsletters and publications.

The Eighth Air Force Archive consists of approximately 130 cubic feet of records, more than 500 audio and videotapes, and hundreds of artifacts. It is organized into eight series: Individual collections; veterans groups and memorial societies; photographs; books; audio-visual; newsletters; images and exhibit. Photographs document personnel, aircraft, base life and combat missions, as well as reunions, symposiums, and air shows attended by veterans in the years after the war. All books are individually cataloged and bibliographies may be found online with the University Libraries' catalog search. The audio-visual series contains over five hundred titles, including gun camera footage, home movies of base life in England, reunions, symposiums, and documentaries. The newsletter series is organized by organization and group numbers. The organizations include headquarters, ground crews, fighter groups, bomber groups, state chapters, and related veteran’s groups. Many of the bomber and fighter groups, along with their various support groups, are represented in this series.


  • Creation: 1939-2022

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies of original materials may be made available for research purposes at the discretion of the Eberly Family Special Collections Library. Photocopies or reproductions of original materials may be subject to fees as outlined by the Pennsylvania State University Libraries reproduction policies.

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Patrons seeking advice on the availability of unpublished materials for publication should consult relevant copyright law and laws of libel.

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections staff.


127.86 Cubic feet (670 items)


The Eighth Air Force archive documents both the fighter and bomber groups that served in Europe and Africa during World War II and the Eighth Air Force veterans organizations nationwide. It contains books, photographs, audio-visual materials, oversize graphic materials, artifacts, memorabilia, microfilm, and organizational records donated by veterans and their families.


This collection is arranged in eight series: Veterans' papers; veterans groups and memorial societies; photographs; books; audio-visual; newsletters; images and exhibit.

Physical Location

For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Penn State University Libraries catalog via the link above. Archival collections may be housed in offsite storage. For materials stored offsite, please allow 2-3 business days for retrieval.

Biographical / Historical

The Eighth Air Force was organized January 28, 1942. Dedicated to the strategic bombing of Germany, the Eighth Air Force's daylight strikes and the Royal Air Force's night bombardment led to the dislocation and destruction of Germany's infrastructure and economy.

The Eighth Air Force archive is the result of the efforts of James Hill, the editor of the 8th AF News. In 1990, Mr. Hill began collecting papers, audiovisual materials, and memorabilia from members of the 8th Air Force. Mr. Hill passed away in 1998, and the 8th Air Force Memorial Museum Foundation (8AFMMF) currently coordinates the acquisition and transfer of historical materials from veterans of the 8th Air Force to the archive at Penn State.

In 1998, donors Sherry Petska Middlemas and George Middlemas Jr. established the Albert M. Petska Libraries Endowment to honor the memory of their fathers, both Air Force veterans. Albert M. Petska served in the 8th Air Force, and George M. Middlemas Sr. served in the 15th Air Force. This endowment provides for acquisitions and preservation.

Guide to the Eighth Air Force archive
Prepared by Special Collections Library faculty/staff.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2013: Additions + GCSNew addition also added May 2013: Robert O'Toole --BMG
  • 2021: Lexy deGraffenreid revised standardized notes to current standard.

Repository Details

Part of the Eberly Family Special Collections Library Repository

104 Paterno Library
Penn State University
University Park 16802 USA