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

Humphrey Toomey (1900-1974) graduated from the Naval Academy in 1922 as an aeronautical engineer. Following his training and service as a naval aviator, Toomey resigned from the Navy in 1929 to pilot a Sikorsky S-38 on a flight from Bridgeport, Connecticut to Buenos Aires. This flight laid the groundwork for the commercial routes to South America for the New York, Rio and Buenos Aires Line (NYRBA). Toomey was a pilot for NYRBA from 1929 until it was acquired in 1930 by Pan American Airways (PAA). Toomey then worked for PAA as Chief Pilot and Operations Manager for their Brazil-Argentina sector. In this capacity Toomey established a series of airports for PAA and organized the Brazilian national airline, PAA do Brazil. In 1933, Toomey made the first official survey flight up the Amazon River, which won him membership in the New York Explorers Club. During World War II he managed the Military Contact Division of PAA, and from 1946 to 1952 he served as Manager of the Latin American Division in Miami , Florida. In 1952, Toomey returned to Rio de Janeiro as PAA Vice President for Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Toomey retired from PAA in 1962 and was the recipient of many awards, including the Brazilian "Ordem Nacional do Cruzeiro do Sul."




Toomey, Humphrey, 1900-1974


bulk 1929 - 1933


Gailbraith "Gail" Toomey, Gift, 2006


0.51 Cubic feet (2 boxes))


No restrictions on access.


Collection descriptions

Archival materials




Newspaper clippings

Black-and-white photographs


Scope and Contents

This collection consists of .5 cubic ft of documentary material chronicling Humphrey Toomey's aviation career with the New York, Rio and Buenos Aires Line (NYRBA). The following types of material are included in this collection: Navy and Air Corps strip maps used on the Bridgeport, Connecticut to Buenos Aires flight; correspondence; telegrams; memorandums; reports; employment agreements with NYRBA; sanitary bills of health at different ports; NYRBA 1930 annual report and brochure; NYRBA time schedules; copies of Toomey's passports; small brown notebook with notes; black and white photographs; newspaper articles; and the insignia of the NYRBA. There are also a few items from Toomey's early Pan American career, including a film, report, and related material on Toomey's aerial expedition of the lower Amazon system in October of 1933.





Newspaper clippings

Black-and-white photographs



Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests


New York, Rio and Buenos Aires Line (NYRBA)

Pan American World Airways, Inc.

Topics Aeronautics
Aeronautics -- South America
Aeronautics, Commercial


Humphrey Toomey NYRBA Papers, Accession number 2006-0068, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

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