The Personal Collection of Bernt Balchen, 1899-1973 SDASM.002

Finding aid prepared by Natasha Stanbury Harris
San Diego Air and Space Museum Library and Archives
2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park
San Diego, CA, 92101
(619) 234-8291
May 2006


Title: The Personal Collection of Colonel Bernt Balchen, 1899-1973
Identifier/Call Number: SDASM.002
Contributing Institution: San Diego Air and Space Museum Library and Archives
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 0.4 Linear feet 1 manuscript box
Date (bulk): Bulk, 1903-1973
Date (inclusive): 1903-2002
Abstract: This collection contains the papers of Bernt Balchen, a renowned cold-weather aviator.
Location note: San Diego Air & Space Museum
creator: Balchen, Bernt, 1899-1973

Biographical/Historical note

World renowned aviator Bernt Balchen was born in Tveit, Norway on October 23, 1899. Colonel Balchen, a native Norwegian, started flying in 1921. He became a U.S. citizen in 1930. His career spanned 35 years, serving both governments in cold-weather aviation. His many accomplishments include: pilot of the “America” transoceanic flight, searching for Amundsen, Byrd Antarctica expedition, building a secret air base in Greenland, rescues of downed planes, flying arms to Norwegian Resistance movement, rebuilding SAS Airlines, the DEW Line, and many other notable achievements. He retired from the USAF in 1956. He received many honors for his contributions to aviation. Colonel Balchen passed away in 1973 and was buried on his 74th birthday.

Preferred Citation note

[Item name] Personal Collection of Bernt Balchen, 1899-1973, Archives, San Diego Air & Space Museum.

Scope and Contents note

This collection covers Bernt Balchen’s admirable career as a cold weather aviator who made many valuable contributions to the aviation world. This collection contains family photos of Colonel Balchen as a child in the early 1900’s and ranges to articles and letters received by his wife and family in the early 2000’s. The materials cover a wide time span and consist of a variety of materials relating to the life and achievements of this great aviator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Most of the collection was donated by Audrey S. Balchen, Bernt Balchen’s wife, in the early 2000’s. The collection has been organized and is awaiting MARC record numbers from the Library of Congress.

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open to researchers by appointment.

Conditions Governing Use note

Some copyright may be reserved. Consult with the library director for more information.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Cold-weather aviation
Scandanavian Airlines System