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Hans Dam Aviation Collection

Identifier: MS-412

Scope and Content

The Hans Dam Aviation Collection is a wide-ranging collection of aviation material, with an emphasis on the history of aviation in southwestern Ohio, significant aviation events in the United States, and the Bill Sweet National Air Shows of the 1940s to the 1970s. Researchers will note many original or one-of-a-kind photographs in the collection, but the photographs are not always filed in a logical sequence.

Series I, National Air Shows and Air Racing, consists of eight album boxes. Most of the albums contain photographs of Bill Sweet's National Air Shows, including photographs of many of the aviation personalities that performed the aviation stunts in the show and photographs of the stunts being performed. There are also photographs of racing airplanes and their pilots. Intermixed in the 8 album boxes are photographs of a variety of aircraft, not all of which are stunt or racing airplanes.

Series II, Cincinnati and Southwest Ohio Aviation, consists of eight album boxes and is probably the strength of the collection. Hans Dam was very interested in aviation in southwest Ohio. At some point he began research for a book on aviation history in southwest Ohio. Several of the albums in this series contain Mr. Dam's notes about a specific event or events. Of particular interest for researchers are photographs and articles about the many airports in the area, aviation companies such as Triangle Parachute Company and Aeronca, and Charles Lindbergh's visit to Cincinnati in 1927. Much of the material is arranged in chronological order.

Series III, General Aviation, is the most diverse of the three series. The box and folder listing provides a brief description of the contents of each box in this 14-box series. However, because the albums are not organized in an easily identifiable pattern, researchers will need to go through each box to locate a specific photograph. The box and folder list does provide a brief description of the contents of the box. The strength of the series is the photographs of aircraft from the 1920s and 1930s. Unfortunately, the photographs are not grouped according to manufacturer or model number. There are some unique photographs in this series, including photographs of Charles Lindbergh, a photograph of the Korn Brothers of Jackson Center, Ohio, several of Amelia Earhart, and several of the "Three Musketeers of the Air" (Koehl, Fitzmaurice, & von Huenefeld) who made a cross-Atlantic flight in April 1928. Box 30 contains photographs of Hans Dam as a boy and as an adult, several aviation publication, and a 1929 brochure on the "Dayton School of Aviation."


  • 1910-2003


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biography of John J. "Hans" Dam

John J. "Hans" Dam, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was a 50-year collector of aviation memorabilia, especially paper items and photographs. He was particularly interested in air races, air shows, early flight, WACO aircraft, and the history of aviation in southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky. Mr. Dam accumulated more than 2500 aviation photographs and a large number of aviation-related clippings which he stored in large 3-ring binders. At the time of his death in 2007, Mr. Dam was assembling source material for a possible book about aviation history in Cincinnati and southwest Ohio. The materials for this book are included in the collection.


29.2 linear feet

Language of Materials



Hans Dam was a 50-year collector of aviation memorabilia, especially photographs and newspaper and magazine clippings. His primary areas of interest included air races and air shows, early flight, WACO aircraft, and the history of aviation in southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky. At the time of his death he was working on a book about aviation in southwestern Ohio which is included in the collection. The collection consists of twenty-nine albums containing more than 2500 photographs organized into three series.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged in three series:

  1. Series I: National Air Shows and Air Racing
  2. Series II: Cincinnati and Southwest Ohio Aviation
  3. Series III: General Aviation

Acquisition Information

The Hans Dam Aviation Collection was donated to Special Collections and Archives by Thomas E. Kullgren of Midland, MI on July 17, 2008.

Related Material

MS-412, Bill Sweet Collection

MS-223, William F. Yeager Aviation Collection

Processing Information

When received, the collection was stored in 29 3-ring binders ranging from 3 to 6 inches thick. All photographs and clippings were in document protectors. The collection was initially removed from the 3-ring binders and placed in file folders. During processing, the photographs and clippings were removed from the document protectors and placed in archival document protectors and filed in Hollinger album boxes. The identification of aircraft photographs was verified or corrected by two volunteers from the Huffman Prairie Aviation Historical Society. As much as possible, the material in the collection was kept in the original order found in the 3-ring binders. The arrangement of the collection was based on the topics of the binders.


Guide to the Hans Dam Aviation Collection (MS-412)
Finding aid prepared by John Armstrong, 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Wright State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA