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Sarah Susannah Buchanan Philipps Family Collection

An inventory of the collection at the Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Archives at Syracuse University


Creator: Philipps, Sarah Susannah Buchanan.
Title: Sarah Susannah Buchanan Philipps Family Collection
Dates: 1966-2013
Size: 22 boxes, 2 oversized boxes (14.4 linear feet)
Abstract: The Sarah Susannah Buchanan Philipps Family Collection contains materials related to Sarah Philipps, one of the 35 students killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 while studying abroad through Syracuse University's Division of International Programs Abroad (DIPA). Collection materials include photographs, journals, scrapbooks, and correspondence, as well as items related to Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, Inc. (VPAF 103, Inc.) and memorials of Sarah.
Language: English
Repository: Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Archives
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Ave., Suite 600
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010


Photograph of Sarah Susannah Buchanan Philipps

Sarah Susannah Buchanan Philipps was a junior at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She had joined Syracuse University’s Division of International Programs Abroad (DIPA) so that she could take a semester in London. She was survived by her brothers, James (Fritz) and Andrew, and her parents Elizabeth and Ervin.

Sarah was born on August 15th, 1968, in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Newton. She attended Claflin School in Newtonville, F. A. Day Middle School, and graduated from Newton North High School in 1986. Sarah is remembered by her friends and family as being vivacious, creative, and kind. She excelled at field hockey, track, and skiing, was fond of poetry and theater, and spent her summers at Camp Hochelaga, an outdoor all-girls camp in South Hero, Vermont. Her many photographs and letters from friends that she kept are testimonies to the sensitivity and love that she had for others in her life.

An English major at University of Colorado, Sarah aspired to be either a publisher or lawyer. During her semester abroad, Sarah went to fifteen plays and traveled to Scotland and Ireland with friends. Although she seemed to enjoy her time abroad, her journals and letters reveal that she was eager to return home.

Sarah is among the victims of the Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster tragedy buried in Lockerbie at the Dryfesdale Garden of Remembrance in the portion of the cemetery purchased by Pan Am.

After Sarah’s death, Elizabeth and Ervin joined with other families of victims to create the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, Inc. (VPAF 103, Inc.), an organization devoted to ensuring similar acts of terrorism could never happen again. Between 1992 and 1993, Elizabeth served as president and chair of VPAF 103, Inc. and communicated frequently with dozens of U.S. senators and representatives. Elizabeth wrote a number of short pieces about her daughter, one of which, “Elegy for Sarah,” was published by The Boston Globe.

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Scope and Content Note

The Sarah Susannah Buchanan Philipps Family Collection contains information and materials related to Sarah Philipps, one of 35 students killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 while studying abroad through Syracuse University's Division of International Programs Abroad (DIPA). This collection includes series for Clippings, Correspondence, material about Memorials, Personal Belongings, Photographs, Subject Files, and Writings.

Clippings includes articles from newspapers and magazines that the Philipps family collected regarding the Pan Am 103 bombing, Libya, other terrorist attacks, as well as Sarah Philipps, Lockerbie, and memorials.

Correspondence is divided into two subseries. The first includes letters written to and from the Philipps Family . The second includes letters collected and written by Sarah Philipps. Materials are arranged by person or organization when significant, otherwise, they are arranged chronologically.

Memorials contains material related to memorials at Lockerbie, University of Colorado, and Syracuse University, as well as other memorials honoring Sarah Philipps and the victims of the Pan Am 103 bombing.

Personal Belongings is divided into two subseries. The first contains Elizabeth Philipps' journals, as well as her IDs from her visits to Kamp van Zeist, an army base in the Netherlands that served as the location for the trial of the two Libyan suspects. The second series contains materials owned by or related to Sarah Philipps, and includes books and personal effects from her semester abroad, yearbooks and papers from her college and high school years, and drawings and stories from her childhood.

Photographs is made up of photographs taken by or including Sarah Philipps, and photos taken by the Philipps family.

Subject Files includes papers, press releases, and testimonies related to the Pan Am 103 bombing, Lockerbie, and Kamp Zeist trial collected by the Philipps family. The series also includes Sarah Philipp’s vital records.

Writings contains copies of Elizabeth Philipp’s “Elegy for Sarah”, along with letters written to her from students. This series also contains writings by Phil Haigh and Bill Parr, two first responders who worked in Lockerbie retrieving and identifying the remains of victims.

Note: Some materials within this collection contain graphic subject matter.

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Access Restrictions

Some materials in the Sarah Susannah Buchanan Philipps Family Collection are restricted at the donor's request. Folders containing restricted material are noted in the inventory below. Please contact the archivist for further information regarding the access to these materials.

Use Restrictions

The files relating to Kreindler & Kreindler may be viewed but not cited or reproduced until 2028. Written permission must be obtained from the Pan Am Flight 103 Archives and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

TruthQuest newsletters and other materials related to the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, Inc. have been separated, and placed in the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, Inc. Collection.

The Pan Am Flight 103 Archives contains additional materials and information related to the Sarah Susannah Buchanan Philipps Family Collection. Related collections include:

On Eagles' Wings Collection

Syracuse University: Individuals Collection

Syracuse University: Remembrance Quilt Collection

Syracuse University: College of Law Collection

Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, Inc. Collection

Shannon Davis Family Collection

Alexia Kathryn Tsairis Family Papers

Richard Paul Monetti Family Papers

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Selected Search Terms


Philipps, Elizabeth.
Philipps, Sarah Susannah Buchanan.
Syracuse University -- History.
Syracuse University.


Pan Am Flight 103 Bombing Incident, 1988.
Terrorism -- Government Policy -- United States -- Case Studies.
Terrorism -- Government Policy -- United States -- History.
Terrorism -- Government Policy -- United States.
Terrorism -- History -- 20th Century.
Lockerbie (Scotland)

Types of material

Clippings (information artifacts)

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Sarah Susannah Buchanan Philipps Family Collection,
Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Archives
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Dr. Ervin and Elizabeth Philipps donated The Sarah Susannah Buchanan Philipps Family Papers between 2011 and 2016; Tom Lyons and Edith Godfrey donated additional materials in 2013.

Processing Information

This collection is fully processed and is housed in acid-free folders and archival boxes. Scrapbook materials have been removed from acidic bindings and placed in folders.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: Vanessa L. St.Oegger-Menn, Tim Carter, and Jenna Bossert
Date: March 2015
Revision history: 2016 - inventory added (THC); 2016 - Errors corrected, finding aid updated, rehoused and consolidated materials (JNB)

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Material in the Clippings section are arranged chronologically, and all other series are arranged alphabetically.

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Box 1 Newspaper about Sarah's first birthday 1969
Box 24 Oversize Clippings 1988-2000
Box 1 "Remember Sarah Philipps" 1989
Box 1 Pan Am 103 Clippings 1989-1999
Box 1 Pan Am 103 Clippings 1989-1995
Box 1 Syracuse Memorial 1991
Box 1 Clinton/Gore Cabinet 1992
Box 1 Barringer Institute 1992
Box 1 "Elegy for Sarah" 1992
Box 1 November 1992
Box 1 December 1992
Box 1 January 1993
Box 1 February 1993
Box 1 March 1993
Box 1 April 1993
Box 1 May 1993
Box 1 June 1993
Box 1 July 1993
Box 1 August 1993
Box 1 September 1993
Box 2 October 1993
Box 2 November 1993
Box 2 December and January 1993-1994
Box 2 TWA 800 1993-1998
Box 2 August and September 1994
Box 2 Clinton, Hillary 1994-1995
General Clippings
Box 2 1990-1999
Box 2 1994, 2000
Box 2 Swiss Air 111 1998
Box 2 Libya and Lockerbie Trial 1991, 1994, 2000
Box 2 Lockerbie - Memorial 2000, 2003, 2005
Box 2 Sarah Philipps 1989-2003
Elizabeth and Ervin Philipps
Box 7 American Consulate General / Dumfries & Galloway 1989-1990, 2001
Box 7 Brickner, Balfour 1974, 1989-1990, 1996
Box 3-4 1988 (10 folders)
Box 5-6 1989 (13 folders)
Box 6 1990 (2 folders)
Box 4 Rice, John P. 1988
Box 7 Fatal Accident Inquiry 1989-1991
Freeto, Peterson, and Scoll 1989-2004
Box 7 Government Officials and Lockerbie Friendship Group 1989-1990, 1999
Box 7 Gregge, Bonnie 1992
Box 7 1991-1997
Box 7 1998-2004
Box 7 Kamp van Zeist 1999-2001
Kreindler & Kreindler
RESTRICTED: The files relating to Kreindler & Kreindler may be viewed but not cited or reproduced until 2028.
Box 9 1989
Box 9 1990
Box 9 1991
Box 9 1992
Box 9 1993
Box 9 1993-1994
Box 9 1995
Box 10 1996
Box 10 1997
Box 10 1998
Box 10 1999-2002
Box 10 2003
Box 10 2004-2006
Box 10 Miscellaneous 1989-1990
Box 10 Settlement 1995, 2000, 2003
Letters about "Elegy for Sarah"
Box 10 1992
Box 10 1992-1993
Box 7 Lyons, Tom 1988-2005 (2 folders)
Box 8 MacTaggart, Bill and Jess 1989, 1992-1998, 2000-2003
Box 8 McFadden, Jean 1992-2003
Box 11 Pan Am 103 Letters 1989-1996
Box 8 Sarah Philipps Scholarship Winners 1995-2005
Box 11 Sarah Susannah Buchanan Philipps Estate, etc. 1989-1992
Box 11 Sarah Susannah Buchanan Philipps Travel Grant Scholarship at University of Colorado 1998-2003
Box 11 Syracuse Correspondence 1989-1995 ( 2 folders)
Box 8 United Kingdom, General 1992-2004
Box 8 Wilson, June, and Jim 1991-1999
Box 11 VPAF 103, Inc. Members 1991-1993, 2000-2001
Sarah S. B. Philipps
Box 11 1975-1985
Box 11-12 1986 (3 folders)
Box 12 1987 (2 folders)
Box 12-13 1988 (3 folders)
Box 13 Undated (2 folders)
Box 13 Borelli, Noelle 1995, 2010
Box 13 Borelli, Noelle 1981-1986
Box 13 Borelli, Noelle 1987, undated
Box 13 Cray, Anna 1986
Box 13 Gaasch, Heidi 1987-1988
Box 11 Lyons, Professor Tom 1988
Box 13 Needham, Roger and Anne 1969-1987
Box 13 Philipps, Ervin 1983-1984
Box 14 "Dark Elegy" Sculpture 1992-1996
Box 14 Flower from Wendy Giebler 1992
Box 14 Memorial Service 1989-1990
Box 14 Memorial Service at University of Colorado 1989
Box 14 Memorial Service for Sarah Susannah Buchanan Philipps 1988-1989
Box 14 Remembrance Convocation Packet with Sketch circa 1990
Box 21 Sarah S.B. Philipps Memorial Scrapbook (I) circa 1978-1990 (3 folders)
Box 21 Sarah S.B. Philipps Memorial Scrapbook (II) [1969-2003], undated
Box 22 Scrapbook 1985-1987 (2 folders)
Box 22 Scrapbook 1988
Box 21, 23 Scrapbook - "Memories" 1985-1990 (3 folders)
RESTRICTED: Please note that some materials in this scrapbook are restricted in accordance with the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Syracuse University policy.
Box 22 Syracuse Memorial Service Scrapbook 1989
Box 14 Tenth Anniversary Service Materials 1998
Box 14 YWCA - Sarah Philipps Memorial Cabin 1997-1999
Personal Belongings
Elizabeth and Ervin Philipps
Box 15 Elizabeth Philipps' Identification Badges 2000-2002
Elizabeth Philipps' Journals
Box 14 1988-1990
Box 15 2000
Sarah S. B. Philipps
Box 15 Books from Carry-on Luggage 1988
Box 21 Camp Certifications and Health Record 1968-1975, 1979
Box 15 Childhood Artwork circa 1975
Box 15 Clan Buchanan 1988
Box 15 F. A. Day Junior High Materials 1980-1983
Box 20 Hat from Hard Rock Cafe London 1988
Box 15 High School Materials 1983-1986
Box 15 Journal 1986-1988
Box 16 Journals with Memorial Notes from friends 1982-1988
Box 16 Newton North High School Diploma 1986
Box 20 Newton North High School Varsity Letter 1986
Box 16 Passport 1988
Box 16 Personal Effects Returned from Lockerbie 1988
Box 16 Plane Tickets 1988
Box 16 Sarah's School Journals 1978
Box 16 Swimming Certificates 1982-1984
Box 16 University of Colorado Transcripts 1986, 1988
Box 20 Yearbook - Newton North High School 1985
Box 20 Yearbook - Newton North High School 1986
Box 16 YWCA - Camp Hochelaga 1979-1982, undated
Box 16 Amsterdam 1986
Box 16 Anna Cray and Sarah Philipps 1987
Box 16 Beach Party on Vineyard 1988
Box 16 Collage circa 1986
Box 16 Family Photographs circa 1986
 Photograph of Philipps Family before Sarah left for London, 1988
 Photograph of Philipps Family on Ski Vacation
Box 23 Framed Photograph of Sarah 1985
Box 16 Framed Photograph of Sarah at Prom 1986
Box 16 Friends and Sarah 1986-1988
Box 16 General 1986-1988, undated
Box 16 Graduation, Prom, and Start of Euro Trip 1986
Box 16 Parties, Clown Outfits circa 1984
Box 16 Sarah and Friends circa 1984
Box 16 Sarah Skiing with Friends 1984-1988
Box 16 Unlabeled circa 1984 (2 folders)
Box 16 5 Girls in Kensington 1988-1991
Box 16 78 Hull St., Sarah's Friends, Fritz, and M +D 1984
Box 17 Pan Am 103 Memorials 1999
Box 17 Passport Photos 1988
Box 17 Phil Haigh with Dog 1988
Box 17 Photographs Developed by Police 1988
 Photograph of Sarah Philipps, Suzy Ziegelbaum, and Alexia Tsairis in London, 1988
Box 17 Photographs Taken by Sarah 1985-1988 (3 folders)
Box 17 Prom Photo 1986
Box 17 Sarah and Liz Photos - June 1985
 Portrait of Sarah Susannah Buchanan Philipps, 1985
 Portrait of Sarah Philipps and her mother, Elizabeth Philipps, 1985
Box 17 Sarah Graduation and Prom 1986
Box 17 Sarah's High School Friends 1986
Box 17 Sarah's January 1985
Box 17 Sarah S.B. Philipps 1986-1988 (2 folders)
Box 17 Sarah Philipps' Personal Effects 1988
Subject Files
Box 18 Indictment of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah 1991-1993
Box 18 Kamp Zeist 1989-1990, 1992, 1999-2000
Box 18 Lester Coleman 1993
Box 18 Lockerbie Air Disaster Trust 1991-1992
Box 18 Map - Location of Bodies 1989
Box 18 Testimonies to Senate and House Committees 1989, 1991, 1993
Box 18 Vital Records 1988-1989 - Contains graphic subject matter
Box 18 Vital Records - Sarah Susannah Buchanan Philipps Final Arrangements 1989-1990
Box 18 White House and Senate Press Release / Briefings 1990, 2000, 2002
Box 18 Elizabeth Philipps' "Elegy for Sarah" with Letters from Students 1992
Box 19 Elizabeth Philipps' Writing 1992-1993
Box 19 "Lockerbie - A Rescuer and Victim's Perspective" by Bill Parr 1991
Box 19 "Six Days with a Dog, December 1988, Lockerbie," by Phil Haigh 1990

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