From the Archives

Tue, June 20 2017

Our Favorite Sports Stories for #sportsMW

What do baseball, hockey, and football have in common? Hint: It’s more than just the roar of the crowd or competitive all-star athletes. Each sporting event has some connection to aviation and spaceflight—yes, spaceflight. Our intrepid archivist, Elizabeth Borja, has been exploring this connection for years. Whether it’s the testing of spacesuits at a baseball game or the New York Yankees flying on a Douglas DC-4, Borja has uncovered surprising sports stories filed away in the Museum’s Archives. Here are our five, all-time-favorite stories in honor of today’s #MuseumWeek theme: sports (#sportsMW).

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New York Yankees Baseball Team
Tue, February 28 2017

African American Pioneer Dale White and the 1939 Goodwill Flight

In 1939, Dale L. White Sr., a prominent African American pilot, set out on a "Goodwill Flight" from Chicago to Washington, DC, to make the case for African American participation in flight training, both civilian and military. His flight illustrated the challenges that African Americans faced in reaching equality—White was welcomed in Sherwood, Ohio, but was not permitted to land in Morgantown, West Virginia. Nearly 10 years later In 1948, President Truman integrated the armed services by presidential order.

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Portrait of Dale L. White
Sat, February 4 2017

Baltimore Stadium’s Super Grand Opening

On Sunday, February 5, Super Bowl LI television broadcasts will feature aerial images of NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Snoopy One may not have been hovering over Baltimore Stadium (also called Venable Stadium) for the 1922 Army-Marine football game, but photographer H.C. Robinson captured an aerial photograph of the stadium’s inaugural event from 549 meters (1,800 feet) above.

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Baltimore Stadium, 1922, Army-Marine Football Game
Sat, December 24 2016

Merry Christmas Astronauts

In the early 1960s, the Project Mercury astronauts were celebrities in their own right, receiving bags of fan mail. One Christmas, Scott Carpenter received Christmas wishes featuring a model rocket, an American flag, and the sign, “Merry Christmas Astronauts.”  Carpenter received a photo of the scene and a note that read: “Best wishes to Navy Lt. Malcolm S. Carpenter from Mrs. L. T. Burns…Wichita Falls, Texas.”

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Merry Christmas Astronauts
Sat, December 17 2016

Air Mailing It In: Rediscovery in the Archives

There are many ways to find information about the collections held by the National Air and Space Museum Archives. There are finding aids with box and folder listings for over 100 collections.  We are providing access to more and more of our scrapbooks  and photographs.  And while we archivists would like to believe that we know everything about everything in the National Air and Space Museum collections, the truth is, with over 17,000 cubic feet of documents, we are frequently discovering, or, should we say, rediscovering items in our collections.  The stories behind some of these finds are fascinating!

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1949 Around the World Air Mail Envelope Exhibit
Sat, December 17 2016

Around the World on an Envelope

December 17 marks the date of the first flight of Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903. As part of the 46th anniversary festivities in 1949, the Air Force Association (AFA) arranged for Colonel Thomas Lanphier to fly around the world on American commercial airlines, demonstrating the efficiency of American airlines and emphasizing the rapid growth of aviation technology in the years since the first flight at Kitty Hawk.

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Air Force Association Wright Brothers 46th Anniversary Air Mail Envelope, 1949
Wed, November 2 2016

Presidents in Flight

The National Air and Space Museum Archives' collections feature documents and images of the United States presidents, as they relate to aviation and space flight, from George Washington to George H.W. Bush.

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Theodore Roosevelt - First Presidential Flight, 1910
Mon, October 31 2016

Frightful Early Flight Gear

Still seeking Halloween inspiration? We’re drawing spooky inspiration from our archives. These photos document early attempts at protecting aviators and their support crews. The results, while practical, were often quite creepy. 

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Twin Combat Team in Flying Togs
Mon, August 22 2016

Apollo Gems in the Archives

One of the joys of working with an archive is unearthing the unexpected. When an avowed space nerd like me gets the opportunity to spend time in archives as impressive as the Smithsonian, my journey down research road was a bit circuitous. More often than not, I was lured away from my original focus by fascinating finds. Here are a few of my favorites.

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Apollo 11 Moon Pin
Fri, August 5 2016

The Year Aeronautics Was an Olympic Event

Today, marks the opening ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Modern opening ceremonies are often accompanied by a flyover. In the 1936 games in Berlin, Germany, an actual gold medal was awarded for Aeronautics. Gliding, in which aircraft were catapulted into the air, and aerobatics were demonstration events, with the hopes of becoming full-fledged events in the future.

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Bücker Bu 133 Jungmeister

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