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Paul Ayres Rockwell papers

Identifier: WLU-Coll-0301

Scope and Contents

The Paul Ayres Rockwell Papers consists primarily of Rockwell's personal archive and research collection on the history of the French and American volunteer air combat corps, the "Lafayette Escadrille," and the American volunteers of the French Foreign Legion during the First World War. Highlights of this collection include the war period letters to Paul Rockwell from various pilots and related officials of the Lafayette Escadrille, members of the French Foreign Legion and the letters of his brother, the famous American combat aviator Kiffin Yates Rockwell and his mother Loula Rockwell. Another important feature of this collection is the large assortment of related original photographs taken by Paul Rockwell during the war while documenting his and his brother’s experiences in the field. The photographic holdings also include a substantial cache of collected imagery relative to the key subjects. After the First World War, as Lafayette Escadrille historian, Paul Rockwell continued to expand upon the archive to include content related to the lives of the veterans, unit reunions, memorials, reminiscences through about 1980. Lastly, the collection is rich with primary and secondary resources pertaining to Rockwell family genealogy, Paul Rockwell’s biographical history, and general history of both world wars.


  • Creation: Inclusive 1914-1985
  • Creation: Majority of material found in Bulk 1915-1919, 1960-1980


Conditions Governing Use

The materials from Washington and Lee University Special Collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used should be fully credited with the source. Permission for publication of this material, in part or in full, must be secured with the Head of Special Collections.

Biographical / Historical

Paul Ayres Rockwell, of North Carolina, was a member of the Washington and Lee University Class of 1912. At the outset of the First World War, he, with his brother Kiffin, who had also attended Washington and Lee, volunteered for the French Foreign Legion before the United States entered the war. After he and his brother were both wounded in action, Kiffin left the infantry for flight and aerial combat training and became one of the founding members of the Lafayette Escadrille, the French air combat unit comprised primarily of American volunteers. Paul, deemed unfit for further combat became a war correspondent and the unit historian of the Lafayette Escadrille. Paul later served in the Second World War and became a colonel in the U. S. Army.


12 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Kenneth Rockwell and Dale Walker.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Washington and Lee University, University Library Special Collections and Archives Repository

204 W. Washington St.
Lexington VA 24450 USA