Selections from the Willis Collection
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Colonel Robert Henry Willis, Jr., son of Robert Henry and Jessie Willis, was
born in Williston, South Carolina in 1886. He was the first honor graduate of
the Citadel in 1908. Henry Willis became interested in aviation in 1912 and
learned to fly in San Diego, California. In December 1913 he received a Military
Aviator's Certificate from the War Department. In August 1917 Willis was
commissioned by President Woodrow Wilson as Lieutenant in the United States
Signal Corps, and in February 1918 as Major of Infantry.
Henry Willis died by accidental discharge of a pistol near the city of
Remiremont, France, on September 13, 1918. His father received a letter from
General John J. Pershing who had recently appointed Willis to be Chief of Air
Service at the Headquarters of the Seventh Army Corps. General Pershing praised
the service of Henry Willis as an aviator and as an army officer.
Willis Collection Preservation Project
In 2005 Steve Fincher Photography received the Friends of the South Carolina
Libraries Business Award. Steve Fincher Photography was nominated by the Friends
of the Spartanburg County Public Libraries for its contribution in preserving
"the priceless pictorial history of Spartanburg." Steve Fincher and assistant
Carroll Foster were involved in the preservation project for over 2 years.
An exhibit, Willis, "Lost and Found," was presented by Steve Fincher
Photography and the Spartanburg County Public Libraries in June 2005. The firm
donated 70 photographs from the exhibit to the Headquarters Library.
Search the Selections from the Willis Collection
The Willis Collection is kept in the
Kennedy Room vault and may be viewed in person
upon request. Copies from the collection may be
purchased, with certain restrictions.
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