The Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH), in Montgomery, has a temporary exhibit, Penrose Stout’s Illustrated War. The exhibit features large-scale reproductions of sketches, photographs, letters, and diary entries by Alabamian Penrose Vass Stout, a decorated WWI Military Aviator.
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 earned 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.
The exhibit is on display through the end of 2018 and can also be viewed online at