Penrose Vass Stout’s Illustrated War

May 31, 2018 – December 31, 2018
Milo B. Howard Auditorium and First Floor Corridor

This temporary exhibit featured large-scale reproductions of sketches, photographs, letters, and diary entries by Alabamian Penrose Vass Stout. Stout left a richly illustrated history of his service as a World War I aviator through his sketchbook and letters home.

Born in Montgomery in 1887, Stout completed engineering and architecture degrees at Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University) in 1907 and 1909. A member of the 1st Pursuit Group, 27th Aero Squadron, Stout was shot down near Charny during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in September 1918. He received the Distinguished Service Cross for attacking a German artillery installation and battling numerous enemy pilots. After the war, Stout returned to practicing architecture in New York and became well known for his designs of country homes.

In 2014, Nathaniel Stout donated his grandfather’s sketchbook, letters, and wartime diary to the ADAH. Stout’s writings were meant only for himself and his family. But a century later, his collection offers the public an unvarnished view of the often-romanticized life of a World War I aviator. Combining artistic talent and comedic wit, Stout describes the monotony of camp life, the thrill of combat, and the joy of flight. To see selected documents and images from the papers, visit the Archives' digital collections.

Press Release