Lewis Selwyn Webster was born in 1892. After graduating from high school, Webster enrolled in the University of Illinois but left college to join the U.S. Army Air Service during World War I. Webster completed Ground School at the University of Illinois in January 1918 and then went to flight training at Rich Field in Texas which he completed in June of that year. Webster then completed a flying instructor's course at Brooks Field, Texas before being ordered to Call Field, Texas and subsequently to Langley Field, Virginia. In October 1919, Webster participated in the first mass transcontinental air race, dubbed by the Air Service the "Transcontinental Reliability and Endurance Test," which was organized by General William "Billy" Mitchell. Webster finished seventh. Webster served under Mitchell with the 1st Provisional Air Brigade and, in June and July of 1921, participated in the sinking of German battleships in an area off the Chesapeake Bay under a program of aerial bombing tests operated jointly by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy. Under this same program, Webster participated in the sinking of the USS Alabama (BB-8) in September of that year. From 1922 to 1925, Webster served at France Field in the Panama Canal Zone in the capacity of engineering officer of the 7th Observation Squadron. Webster returned to Langley Field in November 1925 and completed Air Corps Tactical School there in 1939. From 1942 to 1944, Webster was the Commanding Officer of the 36th Fighter Squadron in Australia and New Guinea, and from 1945 to 1948 he commanded the 4832nd Specialized Depot in Topeka, Kansas. In 1948, Webster retired from military service as a Colonel and was active in civic and social service organizations in Lakeland, Florida until his death in 1957. A small portion of the collection pertains to Lewis Selwyn Webster's son, Lewis Frazer Webster, who served with the U.S. Air Force and was killed in action in Korea in 1952.
Arranged and described by Jessamyn Lloyd, encoded by Melissa A. N. Keiser, 2020.
Webster, Lewis Selwyn, 1892-1957
Eric Webster, Gift, 2010, NASM.2010.0041.
0.79 Cubic feet
This collection consists of material relating to the long military career (1918-1948) of aviator Lewis Selwyn Webster, including five of Webster's pilot's log books as well as numerous photographs, letters, news clippings, and other documents. A small section of the collection pertains to Webster's son, Lewis Frazer Webster, who served with the U.S. Air Force and was killed in action in Korea in 1952.
No restrictions on access
The collection is divided into two series. A small number of items in the collection have been digitized and attached to this finding aid.
This collection consists of material relating to the military career of Lewis Selwyn Webster, including five of Webster's pilot's log books, covering the dates 1918-1932, as well as numerous photographs (including two panoramic photographs), letters, and news clippings, and other documents gathered into a scrapbook binder. One of the panoramic photographs is 19 by 7.75 inches and shows the Station Supply Department at Duncan Field, San Antonio Texas, 1929. The second panoramic photograph is 40 by 8 inches and shows the commissioned officers of the 1st Provisional Air Brigade, who were gathered to take part in the Bombing Maneuvers at Langley Field, June 1921. The scrapbook binder contains photographs of Webster during flight training and subsequent military service; Webster's military records; photographs of various U.S. Army facilities; aerial photographs of various locations; a copy of the rules and regulations, Webster's flight log, and Webster's report pertaining to the 1919 Transcontinental Reliability and Endurance Test; news clippings; numerous photographs of the 1921 German battleship bombing trials; photographs and correspondence pertaining to the Panama Canal Zone, a 1924 memo from Mason M. Patrick to Commanding Officers regarding aircraft accidents; a program for the dedication of Randolph Field; and news clippings pertaining to Webster's participation in an aerial search for a gang of kidnappers. Aircraft depicted in the photographs include Dayton Wright DH-4, Curtiss JN-4D Jenny, de Havilland (Airco) D.H.9, Martin (Glenn L.) MB-2, Curtiss F-5L (PN-5), Curtiss O-1E Falcon, Douglas O-38, Douglas O-2, Boeing P-12, and the Handley Page H.P.42. Other photograph subjects include General William "Billy" Mitchell and aerial views of the 1933 Century of Progress exposition (World's Fair) in Chicago, Illinois. The collection also contains a copy of the publication A List of Airplane Pilot Officers of the United States Army Air Service Commissioned Prior to November 12, 1918. A small portion of the collection pertains to Lewis Selwyn Webster's son, Lewis Frazer Webster, who served with the U.S. Air Force and was killed in action in Korea in 1952. This series contains military records of Lewis Frazer Webster, photographs, and news clippings. Aircraft depicted in the photographs in this series include Republic P-47 (F-47) Thunderbolt, Lockheed (F-80) P-80A Shooting Star, North American F-86 Sabre, and the Gloster Meteor.
Mitchell, William, 1879-1936
Webster, Lewis Frazer, 1920-1952
World War, 1939-1945
Korean War, 1950-1953
Boeing P-12 (Model 102)
Curtiss F-5L (PN-5)
Curtiss JN-4 Jenny Family
Curtiss O-1E Falcon
Dayton Wright DH-4
de Havilland (Airco) D.H.9A
Gloster Meteor Family
Handley Page H.P.42
Lockheed (F-80) P-80A Shooting Star
Martin (Glenn L.) MB-2
North American F-86 Sabre Family
Republic P-47 (F-47) Thunderbolt Family
Lewis Selwyn Webster Collection, Acc. NASM.2010.0041, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
National Air and Space Museum Archives