Col. Raynal C. Bolling Papers

1761-1993 (1917-1920 bulk)



Administrative Information

Scope and Content

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 engines and attempts to establish a flight training school for airmen 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 Memorial in Greenwich.


Several gifts from Diana Bolling Carroll (Col. Bolling's daughter) to The Historical Society.

Preferred Citation

Col. Raynal C. Bolling papers. William E. Finch, Jr. Archives. Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich.

Index Terms

Bolling, Raynal Cawthorne, 1877-1918.
World War I, 1914-1918.

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Biographical History

Raynal Cawthorne Bolling was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas on 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 four children Anne Tucker (1908), Raynal C. (1910), Cecelia Raynal (1912, who died 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 on 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.

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Box Folder Contents
1 [Duplicates separated from the rest of the collection]
1 Bolling family genealogy
2 Bolling Hall
3 Field Club Honorary Membership 1919
4 Memorial Donors 1919
5 Personal correspondence - Raynal Bolling to his wife and children 1917-1918
6 Personal correspondence - condolence letters 1918-1920
7 Military correspondence - Bolling/Drexel 1917
8 Military correspondence - February to September 1917
9 Military correspondence - October to December 1917
10 Military correspondence 1918
11 Military correspondence - Military records 1914-1917
12 Military correspondence - Bolling/Phillips/Coffin 1917-1918
13 Military correspondence - Bolling/Pershing/Page - July to December 1914
14 Military correspondence - Death of Bolling 1918-1920
15 Military correspondence - Orders and assignments 1917-1918
16 Notes - types of engines n.d.
17 Notes - unidentified n.d.
18 Special Reports on service in France 1917-1918
2 19 Bolling property 1908
20 Bolling property 1909
21 Bolling property 1912
22 Bolling property 1946
23 Printed material - aircraft production 1918
24 Printed material - fighting instruction data n.d.
25 Printed material - maps of France 1914-1918
26 Printed materila - newspaper clippings 1918-1919
27 Printed material - articles, book 1917-1920
3 28 AEF mission 1917-1918
29 Articles on aeronautics 1910-1991
30 First Reserve Aero Squadron Association 1941-1942
31 Military Honors 1918-1919
32 New York National Guard - notes from Plattsburg 1915
33 Instruction booklets 1917
34 Genealogy publications 1889-1900
35 Bolling Field 1983-1993
36 Bolling Memorial 1922
37 World War I - articles re Bolling 1918-1920
38 Miscellany 1761-1915
4 Decorations, medals and pins [SEE: Small Objects b1/t4] 1915-1923
Newspapers: Greenwich Graphic and Greenwich News 1918-1922
Photographs, maps, publications 1917-1918
Degrees and certificates 1900-1926
Poster: Bolling Air Force Base 1975

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