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

Robert S. Sanford (1897-1981) served as an airplane mechanic for the 139th Aero Squadron during World War I. The 139th was assigned to the First Army on June 12, 1918 and engaged in the Toul Sector. They ceased operations on December 11, 1918. After the war, Sanford was employed by various private mining companies in South America, Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon, Canada and Oklahoma. He joined the US Bureau of Mines in 1940, and in 1943 was the district engineer in charge of the mineral development program in Alaska. While there, he found large oil areas on the Arctic slope. In the early 1950s, Sanford served with the State Department, on loan from the Bureau of Mines, as a mining consultant to Afghanistan, India, and Nepal. He resigned from the Bureau of Mines in 1966.

Identifier

NASM.2004.0063

Processing Information

Arranged, described, and encoded by Patricia Williams, 2004. Digital assets attached by Allan Janus, 2020.

Creator

Sanford, Robert S., 1897-1981

Date

bulk 1917-1970

Provenance

Bonnie Gitlin, Gift, 2004, NASM.2004.0063

Extent

0.55 Cubic feet (1 box, 1 folder in oversized box)

Summary

This collection consists of material relating to both Robert S. Sanford's World War I service and his work in Alaska with the US Bureau of Mines. The material relating to his service with the 139th Aero Squadron includes the following: a series of over 100 letters from Sanford to his family from 1917-1919, chronicling his entry into the military, training stateside, his overseas deployment and service in the Toul sector; nine photographs of Sanford in uniform or of aircraft in France; a May 4, 1918 copy of "Plane News"; and a small brown diary with entries written by Sanford from 1917 to 1918.

Restrictions

No restrictions on access.

Type

Collection descriptions

Archival materials

Correspondence

Diaries

Photographs

Negatives

Certificates

Calendars

Arrangement note

The Robert S. Sanford Collection is arranged by content type.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of material relating to both Robert Sanford's World War I service and his work in Alaska with the US Bureau of Mines. The material relating to his service with the 139th Aero Squadron includes the following: a series of over 100 letters from Sanford to his family from 1917-1919, chronicling his entry into the military, training stateside, his overseas deployment and service in the Toul sector; nine photographs of Sanford in uniform or of aircraft in France; a May 4, 1918 copy of Plane News; and a small brown diary with entries written by Sanford from 1917 to 1918. The material relating to his work with the United States Bureau of Mines includes the following: two brown notebooks containing Sanford's notes on his work in Alaska, including flying information; one notebook containing photographs of Alaska, mostly of hunting and fishing; a few letters from Sanford in Alaska to his family; negatives from Alaska; newspaper articles about Sanford's contributions to finding the Alaskan oil fields; a certificate given to Sanford for crossing the Arctic Circle as a passenger of Wien Alaska Airlines in 1945; and a 1947 Wien Alaska Airlines, Inc. calendar.

Genre/Form

Correspondence

Diaries

Photographs

Negatives

Certificates

Calendars

Rights

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

Names

United States. Army. Air Service. 2d Pursuit Group. 139th Aero Squadron

United States. Bureau of Mines

Topics World War, 1914-1918
Mining
Oil wells -- United States
World War, 1939-1945 -- Aerial operations, American -- France

Citation

Robert S. Sanford Collection, NASM.2004.0063, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Finding Aid Online Finding Aid