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Drury A. McMillen Papers

Call Number: MS 2107

Content Description

The Drury A. McMillen Papers consist of photographs, albums, reports, and a magazine from McMillen's career as an explorer and pilot in Brazil. The papers document his exploration of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso and include photographs of the Xingu tribe, as well as photographs of the Brazilian state of Amazonas and the city of Manaus. There are also reports written by McMillen to the Brazilian government regarding defense strategy for the Brazilian Air Force.


  • 1943-1960


Language of Materials

The materials are in Brazilian Portuguese and English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by Drury A McMillen was transferred to Yale University in 2019. These materials may be used for non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from Yale University as the copyright holder. For other uses of these materials, please contact Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Michael McMillen, 2019.


The material is arranged in two groupings: Central Brazil exploration and Military defense. Materials within these groupings are organized chronologically.


.75 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Persistent URL

Biographical / Historical

Drury Albert McMillen (1888-1961) was born in Alton, Illinois and graduated from the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University (1909). He was trained as an aeronatical engineer, specializing in improving safety conditions for flight. He moved to Brazil after graduation and worked in exploring and mapping air routes in rural Brazil.

He published several books, including Spherographical Navigation, written with Yale professors Dirk Brouwer and Frederic Keator, on improving celestial navigation techniques. He continued his research on sextants and improving navigation for pilots, which led him to exploration.

In 1949, he participated in a project to map out travel routes over a portion of Brazil that was owned by the Fundação Brasil Central (Central Brazil Foundation). This portion of Brazil consists of roughly a quarter of the country by land size. McMillen surveyed and created maps for commercial aviation.

In 1958, Brazilian president Juscelino Kubitschek requested a report regarding the defense of Brazil and the South American continent based on McMillen's work on the Serra do Cachimbo (Cachimbo mountain range). This work was completed in 1959.

McMillen was the recipient of many awards and commendations, including the Medal of Honor of the city of São Paulo and the Medal of Merit Santos Dumont. He was also a member of several aeronautical associations, including the Royal Geographical Society and Institute of Navigation.

Information in this biographical note was drawn from the collection, specifically the material in box 1, folder 3.
Guide to the Drury A. McMillen Papers
compiled by Camila Zorrilla Tessler
November 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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