Donald E. Keyhoe Archives

The Donald E. Keyhoe Archives comprises 40 years of correspondence, documents, books, and audiovisual materials related to investigation and research of unidentified flying objects (UFOs). It was established to honor the memory of Richard Hall's mentor and friend, Major Keyhoe, and is made available to scholars, newspaper and TV reporters, and documentary film producers by appointment only. Users so far include the Turner Network (TNT), and the Discovery Channel.

A secondary collection relates to Major Keyhoe's background in Marine Corps and private aviation, and his association with Charles A. Lindbergh as a personal aide during Lindbergh's post-flight tour. It includes the writings of Charles and Ann Morrow Lindbergh, Major Keyhoe's writings on numerous other topics, books and articles about the Lindberghs, aviation history books, photographs, and memorabilia.

Donald Edward Keyhoe 

Donald Keyhoe in Naval Academy uniform, 
circa 1918




Donald E. Keyhoe was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, on June 20, 1897, at the dawn of human flight. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in the Class of 1920, with a B.S. degree and the commission of a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. During his senior year at the Academy, Robert Goddard published his theoretical paper, "A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes" (i.e., rockets), and two years later Hermann Oberth, the famous German space pioneer, wrote "The Rocket Into Interplanetary Space."

The Wright Brothers had flown at Kitty Hawk, N.C., when Keyhoe was a young child. Balloon flights were also much in the news. The young Lieutenant became a Naval aviator, piloting both balloons and airplanes in the period between the World Wars. In the years leading to World War II, Lieutenant Keyhoe commanded a flight of Naval seaplanes being ferried from the U.S. to Guam, and served on that island. After a night crash at Guam, he retired from active duty and began freelance writing.

Joining Government service, he became editor of the Coast and Geodetic Survey publications, then he was appointed Chief of Information for the Aeronautics Branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce. (This agency later evolved into the Federal Aviation Administration.) After Floyd Bennett flew over the North Pole on May 9, 1926, in a historic flight, Keyhoe was assigned to manage his nationwide tour in the "Josephine Ford" North Pole plane. Then when Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh about a year later successfully hopped the Atlantic in the "Spirit of St. Louis" and became a national and international hero, Keyhoe was assigned as his aide, accompanying the flier on his triumphant 48-State tour. Later he wrote the charming and popular book Flying With Lindbergh (New York: Putnams, 1928).

During the 1930s and early 1940s Keyhoe wrote fictional aviation adventure stories for then popular pulp magazines, inventing the heroic fliers "Phil Strange" and "Dick Knight," among other heroes and villains. He also contributed numerous factual articles to major magazines of the day on a wide range of topics, many popularizing aviation. The magazines included Saturday Evening Post, Cosmopolitan, American, Redbook, and True. Other articles and features appeared in the Sunday newspaper supplements This Week and American Weekly.

As war loomed in Europe, Keyhoe published M-Day: If War Comes, What Your Government Plans for You (New York: Dutton, 1940) dealing with U.S. mobilization for warfare. During World War II he was recalled to active duty with the rank of Major and served in the Pentagon in the Naval Aviation Training Division.

After the war he again retired to private life and resumed his writing career.



During the late 1940s and early 1950s, Keyhoe personally test-flew a wide variety of aircraft and evaluated their performance and features for True Magazine. When the first "flying saucer" sightings were reported in June of 1947, Keyhoe, as an experienced aviator was skeptical. But when True asked him to investigate in 1949 and he interviewed numerous fliers as well as military officers in the Pentagon, he discovered that expert observers had seen the unexplained discs, many at close range.

The more he investigated, the more he became convinced that the UFOs were nothing from this planet, apparently coming from outer space. He concluded that the Air Force had to know this and were covering up the truth.

His article "Flying Saucers Are Real" in the January 1950 issue of True became one of the most widely read and discussed articles in publishing history, and caused a sensation. The article was expanded into a paperback book The Flying Saucers Are Real (New York: Fawcett, 1950) and reached an even wider audience. This was followed by the major hardcover books Flying Saucers From Outer Space (1953), Flying Saucer Conspiracy (1955), and Flying Saucers: Top Secret (1960). In January 1957 Keyhoe had become Director of the newly formed National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) in Washington, D.C., which under his leadership gave serious publicity to the UFO mystery through the 1960s and encouraged Congressional hearings.

His last book Aliens From Space was published in 1973. By this time Keyhoe had become convinced that the Central Intelligence Agency was the principal agency behind the cover-up. He spent his later retirement years at "Bluemont" in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley outside of Luray, Virginia, with his wife Helen Gardner Keyhoe, a native of Page County, Virginia. Mrs. Keyhoe was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a prize-winning rose grower.

(Aviation, military affairs, transportation safety, public policy, espionage)

"The Cruise of the `Josephine Ford'." U.S. Air Services, January 1927.
"Lindbergh Tells the Future of Aviation." Popular Mechanics, November 1927.
"Seeing America With Lindbergh." National Geographic, January 1928.
"Dresssing Up Avaition: A Discussion of Showmanship as Applied to Aircraft Operation and How it Will Increase Public Confidence." Aviation, Nov. 10, 1928.
"Aeronautics Branch of the Department of Commerce." Aviation, April-June 1929.
"Short Sketches of the Aeronautics Branch Personnel." Aviation, July 1929.
"Has Fame Made Lindy `High Hat'?" Popular Science Monthly, July 1929.
"Is Air Travel Safe?" Saturday Evening Post, Oct. 5, 1929.
"Flying Blind." Saturday Evening Post, November 1929.
"Lindbergh Four Years After." Saturday Evening Post, May 30, 1931.
"To Paris By Rocket." This Week, Apr. 10, 1938.
"Living in a Spotlight [airline pilots]. American Magazine, July 1939.
"The Spies Are Laughing" [with John Jay Daly]. American Magazine, October 1939.
"If War Comes, Uncle Sam's Plans for You." American Magazine, December 1939.
"Rehearsal for Death [safe driving]." American Magazine, August 1940.
"You Can't Sink This Admiral [Adm. J. Land]." American Magazine, March 1940.
"Hitler's Slave Spies in America" [with John Jay Daly]. American Magazine, April 1941.
"Straight Up to Hell [flight 8 miles above earth]." This Week, May 28, 1941.
"The Navy's Gun Man [Adm. Blandy]." This Week, Apr. 19, 1942.
"Look Out, Axis! [U.S. Marines]." This Week, June 7, 1942.
"Man Your Planes." This Week, July 29, 1942.
"Take Off!" This Week, Aug. 30, 1942.
"Peril On The Bottom." This Week, Jan. 10, 1943.
"Death to the U-Boat [Civil Air Patrol]." This Week, Feb. 7, 1943.
"Commandos on Wings." This Week, Nov. 1, 1943.
"Adventure in the Desert [first atomic bomb explosion]." TRUE, November 1945.
"Secret Mission [O.S.S. in World War II]." TRUE, January 1946.
"Look Out Below! [ballooning]." TRUE, October 1946.
"Flying Spooks [remote-controlled aircraft]." TRUE, December 1946.
"Why Do They Crash? [airliner accidents]." TRUE, May 1947.
"Are you on the Communist Slave List?" Redbook, November 1948.
"If War Comes...What Are Your Chances?" Redbook, January 1949.
"I Escaped From Russia [Lt. Anatol Barsov with DEK]." TRUE, May 1949.
"Beware of Hitchhikers." This Week, Mar. 13, 1949.
"Danger in Pretty Packages [FDA, food & drugs]." Redbook, October 1949.
"What Makes a Safe Motorist?" Redbook, April 1950.
"The Ex-Stepchildren of the Air [AOPA/private pilots]." TRUE, September 1951.
"Train Your Reflexes To Save Your Life [automobile accidents]." Cosmopolitan, June 1952.
"They're Out To Clear the Air [FCC/radio interference]." TRUE, September 1952.
"If Your House Catches Fire." Rotarian, October 1952.
"The Secret Gamble That Can Kill You [propeller failures/crashes]." TRUE, October 1952.
"One Second From Eternity [railroad grade-crossing accidents]." TRUE, February 1953.

June 1934 flying adventure fiction
by Donald E. Keyhoe

During the 1930s Donald E. Keyhoe wrote highly popular
aviation mystery and adventure stories for such newsstand
magazines as Flying Aces and Dare-Devil Aces. See a sample here
from the June 1934 issue of Flying Aces.

(In the Donald E. Keyhoe Archives Collection)

Charles A. Lindbergh

We (1927)
The Culture of Organs with Dr. Alexis Carrel (1938)
Of Flight and Life (1948)
The Spirit of St. Louis (1953)
The Wartime Journals of Charles A. Lindbergh (1970)
Boyhood on the Upper Mississippi (1972)
Autobiography of Values (1976)

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

North to the Orient (1935)
Listen! The Wind (1938)
The Wave of the Future (1940)
The Steep Ascent (1944)
Gift From the Sea (1955)
The Unicorn & Other Poems (1956)
Dearly Beloved (1962)
Earth Shine (1969)

[The following all subtitled Diaries & Letters]:
Bring Me a Unicorn (1972)
Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead (1973)
Locked Rooms and Open Doors (1974)
The Flower and the Nettle (1976)
War Within and Without (1980)

For more information related to Charles A. Lindbergh, click here.

See also the Donald E. Keyhoe Archives Photo Gallery
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