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Pulitzer Trophy


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

The Pulitzer Trophy Race was the marquee event of the National Air Races in the early 1920s. The races were meant to be the high point of the air racing year, much as the Indianapolis 500 was for auto racing enthusiasts.

Publishing magnates Ralph, Joseph Jr., and Herbert Pulitzer of the New York World and the St. Louis Dispatch sponsored the Pulitzer Trophy Race to promote aviation. The trophy, crafted by sculptor Mario Josef Korbel, exemplifies early Art Deco style.

The Pulitzer Trophy was awarded to the pilot and airplane with the fastest elapsed time during four laps over a 50-kilometer (32-mile) closed course.

Winners of the Pulitzer Trophy Race

YearPilotServiceRacerTop SpeedLocation

1920 Lt. Corliss C. Moseley, Army ,Verville VCP-R, 157 mph (252 km/h), Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York

1921 Bert Acosta, Civilian, Curtiss, 176 mph (283 km/h), Omaha, Nebraska

1922 Lt. Russell L. Maughan, Army, Curtiss, 206 mph (331 km/h), Selfridge Field, Michigan

1923 Lt. Alford J. Williams, Navy, Curtiss R2C-1, 244 mph (392 km/h), St. Louis, Missouri

1924 Lt. H. H. Mills, Army, Verville-Sperry R-3, 216 mph (347 km/h),Dayton, Ohio

1924 Lt. Cyrus K. Bettis, Army, Curtiss R3C-1, 249 mph (401 km/h), Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


Credit Line

Donated by the National Aeronautic Association


  • Overall: Sterling Silver
  • Base: Cast Bronze


3-D: 88.9 x 61 x 132.1cm (35 x 24 x 52 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Physical Description

Sterling silver trophy; female figure holding a stylized aircraft in her arms.



Inventory Number