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Vice Admiral Thomas Greenhow Williams "Tex" Settle, US Navy, became world famous in the Golden Age of Flight (the nineteen twenties and thirties) after becoming the first person of his time qualified to pilot a free balloon, blimp, glider, and airplane, and to command a rigid airship. Winner of many races and holder of a number of aeronautical records in endurance and altitude, he was also the first American to fly a pressurized cabin into the stratosphere. He served aboard both the USS Shenandoah (ZR-1) and the USS Los Angeles (ZR-3). Tex Settle twice received the Harmon Trophy for Aeronautics and, for his service in World War II, was awarded the Navy Cross, Legion of Merit and Bronze Star.



Processing Information

Arranged, described, and encoded by Patti Williams, 2020.


Settle, Thomas G. W.


bulk 1932-1998


J. Gordon Vaeth, Gift, 2006, NASM.2006.0014


0.5 Cubic feet ((2 boxes))


This collection consists articles, correspondence, photographs, logs and scrapbooks chronicling Tex Settles' historic balloon flights.


No restrictions on access.


Collection descriptions

Archival materials

Photographic prints



Arrangement note

Arrangement by type.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of the official National Aeronautics Association (NAA) log of the 1933 Gordon Bennett International Balloon Race in which T. G. W. Settle, flying with C. H. Kendall, placed second; correspondence with the NAA regarding records set by Settle; two articles by Settle, "Winning a Balloon Race" and "The Gordon Bennett Race, 1932;" a binder of Settle Flight Reports, 1927-1933; thirteen black and white photographs of Settle, his family, officers of the USS Los Angeles (ZR-3), Roland Mayer, Dr. Karl Arnstein, Wilfred Bushnell, and Ward T. Van Orman at such events as the 1932 and 1933 Gordon Bennett Races and Settle's flight, in a Lippisch Prüfling (Examination) glider, from the USS Los Angeles to Anacostia, Washington, DC. Also included are several photocopies relating to Settle's illustrious career, part of an article on the 1998 Naval Aviation Hall of Honor inductees (of which Settle was one); an article by J. Gordon Vaeth entitled, "When the Race for Space Began;" and two green 16 by 11.5 inch scrapbooks, entitled Stratosphere Flight Scrapbook, First and Second Campaign, that contain newspaper articles, correspondence, photographs and telegrams relating to Settle's historic stratospheric balloon flight.


Photographic prints




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National Aeronautic Association (U.S.)

United States. Navy

ZR-3 Los Angeles (Airship)

Topics Balloons
Aeronautics -- Exhibitions
Aeronautics -- Records


Thomas G. W. "Tex" Settle Collection, NASM.2006.0014, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives