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Elton Ross Silliman was an airline executive and manager in Latin America for Aerovias Centrales, S.A., Pan American Airways (PAA), Inc. and PAA subsidiary, Compania Mexicana de Aviacion, S.A. (CMA). As an American citizen living and working in this field throughout Central America and Mexico for several decades, he helped develop and expand U.S. commercial air service south of the Rio Grande. During 1931-32, he organized Aerovias Centrales, S.A. in Mexico. He joined PAA in 1933 as the company's special representative in Central America, Panama, Venezuela, and the Dutch West Indies. In 1943, Silliman became general manager for CMA. He retired from this position in the 1960s.



Processing Information

Arranged and described by Mark Kahn, 2002. Encoded by Rena Schergen, 2012. Revised and digital assets attached by Allan Janus, 2020.


Silliman, Elton Ross, 1902-




Mrs. Elton R. Silliman, Gift, 1989, 1989-0050


1.35 Cubic feet (3 boxes)


This collection consists of Elton Silliman's personal and business papers. The material consists of correspondence, photographs, and documents pertaining to airline operations during the period 1930-1960, as well as airport and hotel financial records. The material also includes club and society reports and membership lists.


No restrictions on access


Collection descriptions

Archival materials




Financial records

Arrangement note

Silliman's papers are arranged both chronologically and alphabetically. Correspondence, financial reports, photographs, newspaper clippings, and miscellaneous materials are organized by the former method. Handbooks and directories are grouped alphabetically by title. The following series are recognizable within the collection: Series I: Correspondence - Professional Series II: Correspondence - Personal Series III: Financial Reports Series IV: Handbooks and Directories Series V: Photographs Series VI: Newspaper Clippings Series VII: Miscellaneous Materials

Scope and Contents

[For brevity's sake, Pan American Airways, Inc. and Compania Mexicana de Aviacion, S.A. will be referred to in this finding aid as PAA and CMA respectively.] This collection consists mainly of Elton Ross Silliman's business papers. These papers relate to his career with PAA and its subsidiary, CMA. Both companies had Silliman operating out of Mexico, Central America, northern South America, and the Caribbean and interacting with many Latin Americans prominent in the fields of aviation, government, and industry. Consequently, much of the correspondence, handbooks, and newspaper clippings are in the Spanish language. No attempt was made during processing to translate these materials. Included in these papers are PAA and CMA expense and financial reports, photographs and miscellaneous materials. This collection also includes a small amount of materials (personal correspondence) pertaining to Silliman's personal life – in particular, his interest in hunting rifles and the death of his father in 1950.





Financial records


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Aerovias Centrales, S.A.

CiA Mexicana de Aviacion, S.A.

Pan American World Airways, Inc.

Topics Aeronautics
Aeronautics, Commercial -- Mexico
Aeronautics, Commercial


Elton Ross Silliman Papers, Acc. 1989-0050, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives