17 May 2011

Don't Overlook the Smithsonian As You Do Your Research!

When researchers think of DC they link of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Library of Congress (LOC), the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and other repositories.  How often do they think of the Smithsonian Institution?

Found in Great Aunt's Papers

It was desperation that drove this blog’s editor to the Smithsonian back in 2002.  I was researching a distant Uncle, George, on the Nelson side.  From a great aunt I learned that he participated in a 1937 Air Race from Marseille to Damascus to Paris with the infamous A.E. Clouston.  At the time, the only place I could think of when it came to Airplane history was the Smithsonian and its National Air and Space Museum (NASM).  I learned that there was a research arm and so I queried the archive and was rewarded with a lovely packet of information, including a photo of George and AE Clouston! The packet included articles from around the world about this race and George’s involvement in the race and in early airplane history.  Unfortunately, less than a year after this race, George was killed in India in a plane crash [he had just married before being shipped out to India].

Because of the Smithsonian and its various resources, I learned some wonderful things about this period of history as well as my distant uncle’s involvement.

When doing your own research and if you need some context/history that might be consistent with the holdings of the Smithsonian, do consider these Smithsonian resources:
·        Smithsonian.com – online magazine, topic areas and so much more, and

Please do post a comment if you too have been helped by the Smithsonian or now plan to!

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