Leo J. Kohn Photography Collection

Digitization and Preservation Project

Leo J. Kohn Photography Collection

Digitization and Preservation Project

#957 Boeing YB-29J, "Pacsuan Dreamboat", 44-84061. New York, NY. Photo by Larkins.

About Leo J. Kohn

Leo J. Kohn was a pivotal figure in Wisconsin aviation history, known for his unparalleled passion for and dedication to documenting aircraft. He played a key role in the formation of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), becoming its fourth member. However, it was his work on the ground as a photographer that truly distinguished him. His extensive photographic coverage of aircraft from the 1940s, 50s, and beyond, encompassing over 34,000 images, coupled with his meticulous notes on each plane, is a testament to his dedication. The collection is truly a treasure trove for aviation enthusiasts.

Read more about Leo and the photo collection in the Summer 2024 Forward in Flight article.

What makes this collection unique?

  • The photos you see here are from Leo's personal and business collection, which was gifted to WAHF for the purpose of sharing and preservation.
  • Most negatives are enclosed in individually numbered envelopes with detailed notes about the aircraft pictured. The envelope notes contain valuable information about locations, owners, engines, serial numbers, tail numbers, and more.
  • Leo took many of the photos. His collection also contains photographs from numerous other photographers.
#17639 Cessna 210, N-9779X. Photo by Kohn.
#22521 Stinson SR-9, N18410, 8/1/1969. Photo by Kohn.

Custom software has been created to digitize and catalog the entire collection.

The negatives are huge. At 4.25" x 2.5" inches, they captured incredible rivet-level details.

#969 Sikorsky R-5D, 4346610. 1947. Photo by Larkins.

Junkers JU-52

Junkers JU-52

#1092 to #1102 Junkers JU-52, CF-ARM, July 1947. Brandon Avenue Seaplane Base, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Photographs by Kohn. A replica was rebuilt and is displayed at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada.

1947 Cleveland Air Races

1947 Cleveland Air Races

Numerous images from the Cleveland Air Races in August 1947. Photographs by Kohn and Trask.

Bill Brennand + Buster

Bill Brennand and Buster

Images of Bill Brennand and Buster in Milwaukee and Oshkosh. Winner of the 1947 Goodyear Trophy Race. Photographs by Kohn. Buster is preserved at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. Read more about Buster and Bill Brennand.

#250 Rearwin 8135 "Cloudster", NC-32445, Feb. 1946. Curtiss-Wright Airport (now Timmerman Field) in Milwaukee, WI. Photo by Kohn.
#962 Lockheed P-80B-1-LO "Shooting Star", 45-8499, 1947. Photo by Larkins,
#19369 Vickers-Armstrong V-745 "Viscount", N-7431.
#972 - Grumman N-F6F-5 "Hellcat", V-72153, 1947, Naval Air Station in Oakland, CA. Photo by Larkins.
#1178 Lockheed P-38L-5-LO, NX-34992, 1946. Photo by Larkins.
#19633 Tupolev TU-104, SSSR-42391.

You Can Help!

You'll be excited to hear about our ambitious plans for this photo collection!

  • We're thrilled to announce that with your help, WAHF will be developing a dedicated public website for the entire collection, which will be accessible to you.
  • The extensive data on the envelopes will make the entire collection easily searchable for you.
  • We're currently working on museum displays, history presentations, and plans to publish a book, all for your enjoyment, education, and personal research.
  • The large size of the negatives allows us to capture and preserve incredibly high-resolution digital images from the source media. These large images are more costly to store and preserve.
Your generosity is much appreciated for this important mission!

Sponsor a Stack of Negatives

Donate $3,000 or more, receive one 8" x 10" printed photo of your choice from the collection.

Donate by Check

Make your check payable to "Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame Inc." Please write "Kohn Collection" in the memo of your check and mail to:

WAHF c/o Colleen Weber
240 Marina Ct #10
Waterford, WI 53185

Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
Our Federal EIN is: 39-1561425. No goods or services were provided to you in exchange for this gift.


Email us if you have questions or comments about the photo collection, digitization project, donations, or media requests:


Thank you for your support!
#974 North American SNJ-5 "Texan", 43068. June 1947. Photo by Larkins.