Colonel Walter Sumpter Smith (1897-1943) was an engineer, Army pilot, government aviation official, and promoter of aviation. He served as an Army pilot and instructor in World War I and afterwards as commandant of Roberts Field in Birmingham, AL, and helped to establish new air mail routes in the South during the late 1920s. In 1935 he was made head of the Airport Division of the Works Project Administration and was later appointed chairman of the Safety Board of the Civil Aeronautics Authority. In January 1939 he was appointed as chairman of the commission to build Washington National Airport. During World War II, he returned to active duty and was made chief of Transport and Facilities Division of Army Air Support in March 1942. On 24 January 1943 his aircraft disappeared over the Caribbean Sea. In 1943 he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.
Smith, Walter Sumpter, 1897-1943
No donor information, Gift, unknown, XXXX-0023, unknown
4.76 Cubic feet (4 records center boxes, 1 flatbox)
No restrictions on access
The majority of the collection was compiled by Mrs. W. Sumpter Smith and consists of newspaper clippings and photos. The clippings come primarily from newspapers in and about the Birmingham, AL region and deal with general aviation news from the time period 1918-1935. There are clippings dealing with Sumpter and his activities throughout the collection. Four volumes were compiled by Sumpter himself and deal with the activities of the Civil Aeronautics Authority (1938-39), Civil Works Administration (1933-39), and Works Projects Administration (1935-36). The collection also contains a scrapbook of a WPA Airport Inspection trip in October/November 1937 containing captioned photographs of the trip's high points, as well as photographs documenting the construction of Washington National Airport (1939-1943).
United States. Civil Aeronautics Authority
United States. Federal Civil Works Administration
United States. Works Project Administration. Airport Division
Washington National Airport
Aeronautics, Commercial -- United States
Aeronautics and state
Aeronautics -- Law and legislation
World War, 1939-1945
National Air and Space Museum Archives