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Oral history interviews with Paul Edward Garber 1974

Creator:
Freilicher, Miriam S
Title:
Oral history interviews with Paul Edward Garber 1974
Date:
1974
Notes:
Paul Edward Garber (1899-1992) was the first curator of the National Air Museum, now the National Air and Space Museum (NASM). He was born on August 31, 1899, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and moved permanently to Washington, D.C., with his family in 1910. Garber developed an interest in flight during his childhood. When the air mail service was founded, he joined its Washington, D.C., staff. Garber joined the staff of the United States National Museum (USNM) at the Smithsonian Institution in 1920 as a preparator in the Division of Mechanical Technology where he repaired objects and built models for exhibition. This began his long career at the Smithsonian during which he followed his passion for flight and built a world class collection of aircraft. Among the airplanes Garber acquired for the USNM are the Curtiss NC-4, the first aircraft to fly across the Atlantic; Lincoln Ellsworth's Northrop Gamma Polar Star, which made the first flight across the Antarctic; Wiley Post's Winnie Mae, which established a number of speed records; and Charles A. Lindberg's Spirit of St. Louis. During World War II, Garber took military leave from the Smithsonian from 1941 to 1946 to work for the United States Navy. While a Navy commander he built recognition models of enemy planes to teach pilots, gunners and observers how to identify the enemy planes. When the National Air Museum was officially founded on August 12, 1946, Garber was appointed its first curator. He oversaw the development of the collections and staff, and initiated planning for the new NASM building that opened in 1976. He was instrumental in obtaining the land for the Suitland storage facility. In 1980 the facility was renamed the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility. In 1969, at the age of 70, Garber retired after 49 years at the Smithsonian. He continued to work at the museum for another 20 years as Historian Emeritus, and he was the museum's first Ramsey Fellow. He died on September 23, 1992, at the age of 93
Summary:
These interviews of Garber by Miriam S. Freilicher cover his youth, his career at the Smithsonian, the acquisition of famous aircraft, his work for the Navy during World War II, the establishment of the National Air Museum, planning the new NASM building, and life after retirement
Topics:
Aeronautical museums, Aerospace museums, Curtiss NC-4 (P2N-1), Polar Star (Airplane), Spirit of St. Louis (Airplane), Museum curators, Winnie Mae (Airplane), Restoration, Conservation and restoration
Subjects:
Curtiss, Glenn Hammond 1878-1930, Garber, Paul Edward 1899-1992, Lindbergh, Charles A (Charles Augustus) 1902-1974, Post, Wiley 1898-1935, Ellsworth, Lincoln 1880-1951, United States National Museum Dept. of Mechanical Technology, United States Navy, United States National Museum, National Air and Space Museum Building (Washington, D.C.), National Air Museum (U.S.), National Air and Space Museum (U.S.) Ramsey Fellowship in Naval Aviation History, National Air and Space Museum (U.S.) Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility, National Air and Space Museum (U.S.) Dept. of Aeronautics, National Air and Space Museum (U.S.) Silver Hill Facility, National Air and Space Museum (U.S.)
Form/Genre:
Interviews, Collection descriptions, Audiotapes, Oral history
Local Number:
SIA RU009592
Physical Description:
8 audiotapes (Reference copies)
Full Record:
http://siris-archives.si.edu/ipac20/ipac.jsp?&profile=all&source=~!siarchives&uri=full=3100001~!228707~!0#focus

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