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A. Roy Knabenshue Collection, [ca. 1890s-1960s]


Collection Item Summary:

This collection contains approximately three cubic feet of material relating to the life and career of A. Roy Knabenshue The collection includes correspondence, a great deal of photographic material, drawings of aircraft and flight records. The material spans over seventy years, from just before the dawn of the twentieth century to the late nineteen-sixties. An autobiographical manuscript entitled "Chauffeur Of The Skies" is also included in this collection.

Collection Item Long Description:


  • Aeronautics
  • Airships

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum Archives


Knabenshue, A. Roy 1876-1960 (Augustus Roy)


  • Knabenshue, A. Roy 1876-1960 (Augustus Roy)
  • Early Birds of Aviation (Organization)

Physical description

  • 3.60 cubic feet (8 legal document boxes)
  • 3.36 linear feet


  • 1890
  • 1890-1970
  • ca 1890s-1960s


A. Roy Knabenshue (1876-1960) was the first man to fly a powered lighter-than-air craft in America, which he did at the St. Louis exhibition in 1904. He was also one of the last surviving members of a group of noted aviation pioneers known as the "Early Birds." Knabenshue flew the first crude blimp in California at Los Angeles' Old Chutes Park in 1904, raced his dirigibles at America's first air show at Dominquez Field in 1910 and started a dirigible passenger flight service in 1912.


  • Correspondence
  • Collection descriptions
  • Diaries
  • Manuscripts
  • Drawings
  • Photographs

Local number


Finding Aids

Online Finding Aid