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Col. Raynal C. Bolling Papers Edit


Finding Aid Author
Processed by Susan Richardson, 1997; Finding Aid prepared by Lucille Lagerloef, 2002; edited by Amy Braitsch, 2006; converted to Archives Space by Ashley Aberg, 2023
Finding Aid Date
November 10, 2023
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Finding Aid Note
Part of the Manuscript Collections, Greenwich Historical Society Contact: Christopher Shields, Curator of Library and Archives 47 Strickland Road Cos Cob, CT 06807 United Stated


  • 1761-1993 (Creation)


  • 2.5 Linear Feet (Whole)
    3 document boxes, 1 photo box, plus flat file items, small objects collection



  • Scope and Contents

    This collection consists of correspondence regarding Bolling's attempts to organize the Zone of the Interior, including ascertaining which types of planes were needed, obtaining the rights to manufacture them, coordinating with the Aircraft Board in Washington, the Air Service, the English, French and Italian air boards, and coordinating U.S. production with that of the Allies. Detailed information about types of airplanes and genines and attempts to establish a flight training school for airment at Issouden in France is also included.

    There are a limited number of letters to family members and former business associates and newspaper clippings covering his business career, military service and the circumstances of his death. Printed material includes aircraft production specifications, fighting instruction data, memorial books, maps and the establishment of Bolling Field. Also included are the proposal for and creation of the Bolling Memorail in Greenwich.

  • Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], The Col. Raynal C. Bolling Papers, Greenwich Historical Society

  • Related Materials

    Town History Collection: World War I Ephemera Collection: World War I Photograph Collection: World War I

  • Biographical / Historical

    Raynal Cawthorne Bolling was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas in September 1, 1877. He graduated from Harvard University in 1900 and Harvard Law School in 1902. Shortly after graduation, he joined U.S. Steel and rapidly rose to general solicitor. On June 24, 1907 he married Anne Phillips of Boston. They had five children, Anne Tucker (1908), Raynal C. (1910), Cecelia Raynal (1912, died in infancy in 1913), Diana (1914), and Patricia (1916).

    The Bollings moved to Greenwich in 1909. Bolling became involved in civic affairs and was responsible for the organization of the Public Health Association in Greenwich and served as Chairman of the Board of Health. He developed an interest in flying and organized the first National Guard flying unit.

    In 1917, convinced that the United States would (or should) enter the hostilities, he joined the U.S. Army. He became Assistant to the Chief of the Air Service Line of Communication and was assigned to attend to "all matters in connection with industrial relations between the Air Service, A.E.F., Aircraft Board in Washington and English, French and Italian air boards." Although he did not report directly to General Pershing, he was in frequent contact. From his office in Paris, he tried to build up the physical plant of the Air Service. He traveled extensively in France, England and Italy inspecting equipment and narrowed acquisition goals to two or three types of planes. He then tried to establish a production schedule. After much study, he recommended that components be manufactured in the United States and assembled in Europe. He was also involved in establishing and equipping a school (Issouden) for the training of pilots.

    In addition to the frustrations he encountered in dealing with a lack of material, shipping facilities and numerous other problems, he became increasingly discouraged by the petty infighting "games" of the military. Bolling asked that he either be assigned to the front or returned to Washington, where he felt his hard-earned expertise would be of value. He was assigned to the British Royal Flying Corps in March 12, 1918. He was on an inspection tour of the front when he was killed on March 25, 1918. Details of his death were unknown until after the Armistice when his chauffeur (Paul Holder) was released from a prisoner of war camp.

  • Arrangement

    This collection is arranged in a single series.

    Series I: Col. Raynal C. Bolling Papers