Collection inventory

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Pan Am Flight 103 Publications Collection

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

Finding aid created by: Cara A. Howe
Date: 2011

Historical Note

At 6:25 pm on December 21, 1988, Pan Am's Clipper Maid of the Seas departed Heathrow Airport in London for New York City's JFK Airport. One half hour later at 7:02 pm London time, as the Boeing 747 leveled off at 31,000 feet just north of the England-Scotland border, an explosion blew a basketball-sized hole in the fuselage. The plane broke apart and plummeted to earth. All 259 passengers of Flight 103 and 11 residents of the town of Lockerbie, Scotland were killed. Among those killed aboard Pan Am Flight 103 were 35 students returning home from a semester of study abroad through Syracuse University.

Before long the world would know that it was not a mechanical failure or foul weather that brought down the plane, but a terrorist bomb: a Semtex plastic explosive planted in a Toshiba radio-cassette recorder packed inside a Samsonite suitcase stowed in the plane's forward cargo hold. Only one man would ever be convicted for committing this terrorist act. Abdelbaset Ali Al-Megrahi and fellow Libyan Intelligence agent Lamin Khalifah Fhimah were indicted by the United States in 1991, formally charged by the Scottish authorities in 1999 and tried by an international court at Camp Zeist, Netherlands beginning in 2000. Al-Megrahi's conviction was handed down in 2001. Fhimah was found not guilty. Al-Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds in 2009, after a terminal cancer diagnosis gave him three months to live. He died three years later. The investigation of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 remains open.

Scope and Content Note

The Pan Am Flight 103 Publications Collection contains general publications related to Pan Am Flight 103 and terrorism. It includes series for: Court cases, including the trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands; Dissertations and scholarly papers; Government publications; Journal articles; articles published in magazines and other Periodicals; and Posters. These items have been combined into one collection from individual donations and purchases.

Publications that are associated with one individual or victim are housed with individual collections.

Alternative Formats

Selected materials from this collection are available in digital format. Please contact the archivist for further information about accessing these materials.


Access Restrictions:

Please note some materials are only available in digital form.

Use Restrictions:

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.

Related Material

Books, select dissertations and journals have been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging. Please refer to the Classic Catalog to locate these items.

Selected Search Terms


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

Journals (periodicals)
Magazines (periodicals)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Pan Am Flight 103 Publications Collection,
Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Archives
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Items in the Pan Am Flight 103 Publications Collection were donated to the Archives by individuals associated with Pan Am Flight 103, or were purchased by Archives staff. These donations and purchases were made at various times and combined into one collection by Archives staff.

Processing Information

Materials were placed in acid-free folders and boxes.


The Publications Collection is arranged by publication type and then alphabetically or chronologically within series and subseries.

Table of Contents

Court cases

Dissertations and scholarly papers

Government publications