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Henry Fairfax Ayres papers

Identifier: MS-0528
The papers consist of six leather bound diaries containing a record of Ayres life from 1928-1944. Three volumes, 1928-1938 contain detailed information about his activities as a pilot, including a record of flights completed; record of hunting trips; and comments about life in New York City.

The subsequent three volumes (1943-1944) contain a record of his World War II service supervising convoys. They include detailed diary entries for this period; descriptions of London life during the war, records of specific convoys.


  • 1928 - 1944


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

Manuscript Collections in the VMI Archives are made available for noncommercial educational and research use. The VMI Archives should be cited as the source. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright holders. Materials from our collections may not be redistributed, published or reproduced without permission from the VMI Archives. Contact the VMI Archives for additional information.


6 items ; Each diary measures 3.25 x 5.75 inches

Biographical / Historical

Henry Fairfax Ayres was born on April 23, 1886 at Oak Hill, Loudoun County, Virginia. His parents were Charles Greenleaf Ayres and Elizabeth Fairfax. He attended the Virginia Military Institute as a member of the Class of 1906 and subsequently graduated from the United States Military Academy, Class of 1908. He served as Lieutenant Colonel in the field artillery of the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I. After the war he worked as an investment banker in New York City, trading on Wall Street during the boom years of the 1920's, and pursued his avocation as a pilot. In 1937 he moved to Vermont. There he was the legal committee chairman of the Vermont Sugar Makers Association, and was an inventor, environmentalist, and civic leader. He reentered military service as a Colonel in the Air Force following the outbreak of World War II, overseeing the convoying of pilots and flight crews to the Pacific and European theaters of operation. He served at Milne Bay, New Guinea in 1944 and in Rome and Anzio, Italy in 1945. In 1945 he was injured in a PT boat reconnaissance raid in the Dover Strait. Ayres died in Vermont on January 9, 1979, aged 92, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Physical Location

Manuscripts Stacks

Online Access

The World War II diary covering the period September - November 1943 is available online.

VMI owns a portrait of Colonel Ayres, painted by Norman Rockwell in 1941. View portrait online.

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Military Institute Archives Repository

VMI Archives
Preston Library
Lexington VA 24450