Skip to main content

Lieutenant General Frank Maxwell Andrews Collection (MS-440)

Identifier: MS-440

Scope and Contents

Lieutenant General Frank Maxwell Andrews played a key role in preparing the U.S. Army’s prewar air combat forces for war. In 1935 he was selected to be the Commanding General of the newly established General Headquarters Air Force. In this position he orchestrated sweeping changes to the employment of air combat units, creating the conceptual and material foundations for a modern Air Force. At the time of his death in early May 1943, he was in overall command of the U.S. Theater of Operations in Europe directing the air campaign against Germany and planning for the D-day invasion of Europe. The collection is organized into four series and three subseries.

Series I, General Information, is divided into three major sections. The first section contains information about General Andrews and his wife, Jeannette. Included in this section is biographical information about General Andrews and newspaper clippings containing information about his career from 1914 to 1943. Also included is the memorial service for General Andrews in England, along with programs for the dedication of buildings in Andrews’ name. Of particular note is two “Day-to-Day” diaries kept by Jeannette Andrews from 1935 to 1944, which recorded her day-to-day activities and the day she received news of her husband’s death. The second major section contains information about General Andrews’ father, James David Andrews, and the rest of the Andrews family. This section includes Andrews’ family genealogy, information about J. D. Andrews’ real estate business, and other family information. Finally, the third section contains information on Allen Andrews, General Andrews’ son. The section includes Allen’s pilot license, information on his wedding, a speech to the Nashville Exchange Club, and a variety of photographs of Allen Andrews and his family.

Series II, Family Correspondence, is the largest series of the collection and is divided into three subseries. Researchers will note that there is very little correspondence between 1920 and 1930.

Subseries IIA, contains the correspondence of General Andrews and his wife, Jeannette “Johnnie” Andrews. Most of the correspondence is from General Andrews to his parents. There is no correspondence from 1922 to 1929 and there are only a few letters after 1940. Researchers will note that Jeannette’s letters are primarily to General Andrews’ parents where she addresses them as “Dear Mother or Father.” Letters from Jeannette after the deaths of the General’s parents are to his sister, Josephine, or to her children.

Subseries IIB, contains the letters of General Andrews’ parents, James David and Lula Maxwell Andrews, and his siblings, James David Andrews, Jr., William Valery Andrews, and Josephine Andrews Sykes. Researchers will note that there are a large number of letters from James David Andrews and Lula Maxwell Andrews from 1880 to 1883. These are primarily letters between the two when James was courting Lula. The letters from James and Lula become more scattered after 1890. James David Jr. was an U.S. Army engineer, and William Valery Andrews, was in the Air Corps during World War I, both serving in Europe. James Jr., gassed with mustard gas during the war, became a career Army officer serving during World War II as well. Researchers will find a large number of letters from these two from 1916 to 1920 in this subseries. Most of the letters were to their parents. There are also a number of letters from James Jr. to Josephine when he was assigned in Louisiana during WWII.

Subseries IIC, contains letters from friends and relatives of the Andrews family. The letters vary from friends of the Andrews, such as Mattie McCord to letters from family, such as W. B. Andrews, the brother of James D. Andrews Sr., who was a Methodist minister in Texas. Also included are letters from children of the Andrews siblings and their spouses, many of which are addressed to Josephine Andrews Sykes. The letters span a period from 1879 to as late as 1970. The bulk of the letters fall into two time-periods – the early 1880s and the 1930s.

Series III, Photographs and Scrapbooks, contains seven boxes of material. The first box, Box 11, contains a family album of photographs of General (then Lieutenant) Andrews and his family when he was assigned to Fort Ethan Allen in Vermont as a Calvary officer from 1912 to 1915. The album contains photographs of the Andrews children, as well as photographs of the fort and of the General and his wife playing polo. Unfortunately, very few of the photographs are identified. Box 12 in this series contains photographs of the Andrews Field, Maryland dedication on March 31, 1945. Most of the photographs show Jeannette with various dignitaries. Box 13 contains a variety of photographs, primarily of General Andrews during his time as Commander of General Headquarters, Air Force. Towards the back of the box are some earlier photographs of General Andrews in the 1920s. There is also a photograph of his burial at Arlington National Cemetery, several letters, including letters from Dewitt S. Copp to Allen Andrews, and several newspaper clippings. Box 14 contains a variety of photographs, including portrait photographs of General Andrews, photographs of an exhibit about the General, and the general with various individuals. Of note is a photograph of the General with Winston Churchill in 1943. Also included are photographs of Jeannette Andrews, various relatives, children, and some photographs sent by James David Andrews of his camp when he was in Arizona. Box 15 contains a scrapbook put together by Jeannette Andrews. The book contains photographs of her father, mother, her husband and her children. The photographs are primarily from 1913 and earlier. Box 16 contains a scrapbook of primarily newspaper clippings documenting General Andrews’ activities during World War II. Of note is a clipping reporting the death of General Andrews in an airplane crash. There are also a few loose photographs. Finally, Box 17 is a very large photograph album that appears to have been given to General Andrews when he left General Headquarters, Air Force. Because of the size of the album, and poor storage condition, the photographs and other items were removed from the album, placed in folders, and stored in a archival box or map case. Besides containing photographs, the album contained his promotion certificates, appointments to command, service school diplomas, and certificates for awards. Some, but not all, of the photographs are identified. The certificates and diplomas are individually listed in the collection inventory and their location.

Series IV, Memorabilia, is the smallest of the four series and is house in two boxes. Box 18 contains a U.S. Flag, probably General Andrews’ command flag that would have been in his office. Box 19 contains five items, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, a small plaque given to the family when the Andrews Engineering Building was dedicated, Lieutenant General rank insignia (three stars), the National Aviation Hall of Fame Medal awarded to General Andrews posthumously in 1986, and an Inventing Flight medal from 1903.


  • Creation: 1874 - 2003
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1931-1947

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Conditions Governing 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.

Biographical / Historical

Born in Nashville, Tenn., on Feb. 3, 1884, Andrews entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in July 1902. Upon graduating from West Point in 1906, he received a commission as a second lieutenant in the cavalry. Andrews remained in the cavalry for 11 years, and he served at various posts, including the Philippines and Hawaii.

Like many other cavalrymen, Andrews became an ardent and hard-riding polo player. After being detailed to Fort Ethan Allen in Vermont in December 1913, he met Jeanette Allen, the daughter of General Henry T. Allen. She not only liked horses and polo but she also played polo with Army teams. Even though General Allen is reported to have said that no daughter of his would ever marry an aviator, Andrews became interested in flying during their courtship. Despite this negative view of aviators, Andrews bided his time and eventually married Jeannette on March 18, 1914. They had three children: Josephine, Allen, and Jean.

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, Andrews thought his cavalry unit would not be sent overseas, so he transferred to the Aviation Section of the Army Signal Corps. After a short time in the office of the Aviation Section in Washington, D.C., Andrews went to Rockwell Field, Calif., in 1918. There, he earned his aviator wings at the age of 34. Ironically, Andrews never went overseas during the war. Instead, he commanded various airfields around the United States and served in the war plans division of the Army General Staff in Washington, D.C. Following the war, he replaced Brig. General William “Billy” Mitchell as the air officer assigned to the Army of Occupation in Germany.

After returning to the United States, Andrews assumed command of Kelly Field, Texas, and he became the first commandant of the advanced flying school established there. In 1928 he attended the Air Corps Tactical School at Langley Field, Va., and the following year he went to the Army Command and General School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Promoted to lieutenant colonel, Andrews served as the chief of the Army Air Corps' Training and Operations Division for a year before taking command of the 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Mich. After graduation from the Army War College in 1933, Andrews returned to the General Staff in 1934.

In March 1935 General Andrews took command of the newly formed General Headquarters (GHQ) Air Force, which consolidated all the Army Air Corps' tactical units under a single commander. The Army promoted Andrews to brigadier general (temporary) and to major general (temporary) less than a year later. Under his command, GHQ Air Force started the development of air power that became the mighty U.S. Army Air Force.

A vocal proponent of the four-engine heavy bomber, Andrews advocated the purchase of the Boeing B-17 in large numbers. The Army General Staff disagreed with Andrews, believing it better to purchase a large number of twin-engine light and medium bombers like the Douglas B-18 rather than a small number of four-engine heavy bombers. Through his insistence, however, the War Department purchased enough B-17s to keep the program alive.

His tour as the GHQ Air Force commander ended in 1939, and he reverted to his permanent rank of colonel. The Army assigned him to the same position to which Gen. Mitchell had been sent after vigorously advocating the importance of air power. To many, it appeared that the Army was punishing Andrews for advocating the B-17 so forcefully. However, after less than four months, the Army reassigned Andrews as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations with the rank of brigadier general.

In 1941, promoted again to lieutenant general, Andrews became commander of the Caribbean Defense Command, which had the critically important duty of defending the southern approaches to the United States including the vital Panama Canal. In 1942 Andrews went to North Africa, where as commander of all United States' forces in the Middle East, he helped to defeat Rommel's Afrika Korps.

In February 1943 Andrews became the commander of all United States forces in the European Theater of Operations. In his memoirs, General Henry H. “Hap” Arnold, commander of the Army Air Forces in WWII, expressed the belief that Andrews would have been given the command of the Allied invasion of Europe -- the position that eventually went to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Unfortunately, on May 3, 1943, the B-24 carrying Andrews on an inspection tour crashed while attempting to land at the Royal Air Force Base at Kaldadarnes, Iceland. Andrews and 13 others died in the crash, and only the tail gunner survived. He, and his wife Jeannette Allen Andrews who died in 1962, are buried in Arlington Cemetery.

Andrews Air Force Base was named after him in 1945.

(Biography from National Museum of the United States Air Force)


12 linear feet

Language of Materials



Lieutenant General Frank Maxwell Andrews played a major role in building the U.S. Army Air Corps of the 1930s into the powerful U.S. Army Air Forces of World War II. At the time of his death in May 1943, he was the commander of all U.S. forces in the European Theater of Operations. The largest portion of the Andrews Collection consists of family correspondence sent between members of the Andrews family, including letters from General Andrews, his wife, Jeannette, and his parents, siblings, children, and relatives and friends. The collection also contains a variety of photographs of General Andrews and family members, along with newspaper clippings and memorabilia.


The Lieutenant General Frank Maxwell Andrews Collection is organized into four series and three subseries.

  1. Series I: General Information
  2. Series II: Family Correspondence
  3. Subseries IIA: Lt. General and Mrs. Frank Maxwell Andrews
  4. Subseries IIB: James D. Andrews and Family
  5. Subseries IIC: Friends and Relatives
  6. Series III: Photographs and Scrapbooks
  7. Series IV: Memorabilia

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Lieutenant General Frank Maxwell Andrews Collection was deposited at Wright State University Special Collections and Archives by Jan Andrews Clark and Frank Maxwell Andrews III for a period of three years in January 2012. The deposit agreement may be cancelled by either party after January 1, 2015.

Related Materials

MS-439, Major General Henry Tureman Allen Collection

James D. Andrews Papers, Special Collections Division, Nashville Public Library, Nashville, TN 37219

James D. Andrews Papers, Series II. Frank Maxwell Andrews Series, 1908 – c.1950, Special Collections Division, Nashville Public Library, Nashville, TN.

Accession Number 70-042, Frank Maxwell Andrews Papers, 1884-1943, Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN


Additional Sources: Copp, DeWitt S. Frank M. Andrews: Marshall’s Airman. Washington, D.C.: Air Force History and Museums Program, 2003. (See Box 1, File 1)

Processing Information

Due to the poor condition of the scrapbooks found in Boxes 11 through 17, the pages and/or photographs were removed from their enclosures, stored in Mylar sleeves, and in some cases transferred to 3-ring album boxes.

Guide to the Lieutenant General Frank Maxwell Andrews Collection (MS-440)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

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