To view items in this collection, use the Online Finding Aid

The Zeppelin Company, founded in 1908 in Germany by Ferdinand von Zeppelin, was a pioneer company renowned for its airships and transoceanic commercial air service. Ferdinand von Zeppelin had been experimenting with rigid airships since the late 1800s and the Zeppelin LZ 1 made its first flight in 1900. Further models followed until the LZ 4 was introduced in 1908. The LZ 4 crashed during a test flight which led to an outpouring of support and monetary donations from the public and made possible the founding of the Zeppelin Company (Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH). Beginning in 1909, Zeppelin airships were used for passenger transport by the Deutsche Luftschiffahrts Aktiengesellschaft (DELAG). In 1934 Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels offered two million marks of his ministry's funds for the Zeppelin Company. This infusion of money led to the virtual takeover of the company by the state. The new company, Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei, was formed 22 March 1935 with Air Ministry General Field Marshall Herman Goering the president of the company



Processing Information

Arranged, described, and encoded by Chris King, 1989.


bulk 1928-1938




1.74 Cubic feet ((6 boxes))


The German Commercial Zeppelins Collection documents German commercial Zeppelin travel during the 1930s.


No restrictions on access.


Collection descriptions

Archival materials




Arrangement note

The German Commercial Zeppelins Collection is arranged by content type.

Scope and Contents

This collection highlights German commercial Zeppelin travel during the 1930s, and includes the following: a history of flights; route maps; photographs, including interior shots of the accommodations and fittings of the LZ 127 "Graf Zeppelin;" a schedule of sailings and fares; a description of the four medals struck to honor the LZ 127 "Graf Zeppelin;" magazine and newspaper articles, including an account of the explosion of the LZ 129 "Hindenburg" in 1938; and the 1933 book, Zeppelin-Weltfahrten. Note: The digital images in this finding aid were repurposed from scans made by an outside contractor for a commercial product and may show irregular cropping and orientation in addition to color variations resulting from damage to and deterioration of the original objects.






Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests


Graf Zeppelin (Airship)

Zeppelin (Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH) (Germany)

Topics Airships
Zeppelin LZ 129 Hindenburg
Aeronautics, Commercial
Zeppelin LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin


German Commercial Zeppelins, Accession XXXX-0252r, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives