Display Status This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

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


Collection descriptions

Archival materials




Scope and Contents

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).






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United States. Civil Aeronautics Authority

United States. Federal Civil Works Administration

United States. Works Project Administration. Airport Division

Washington National Airport

Topics Aeronautics, Military
Aeronautics, Commercial -- United States
Aeronautics, Commercial
Aeronautics and state
Aeronautics -- Law and legislation
Air pilots
World War, 1939-1945

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

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