Samuel Milner National Airport Research Papers
Collection NumberRG 13
HistoryWhat is now known as Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport has changed in many ways over the years in both name and location since it first opened as Hoover Field in 1926. In 1928, a second airport, opposite Hoover Field, was opened called Washington Airport, and in 1933 the two combined to form Washington Hoover Airport (the present site of the Pentagon). In 1938, restrictions on federal development of airports were lifted, and President Roosevelt appropriated money for the creation of an up-to-date airport for the Washington area. National Airport opened in 1941, approximately one mile south of the 1920s sites, at its present location. In 1998, the airport’s name was changed to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Scope and ContentRecord Group 13 contains materials gathered, notes taken, and personal research done by Dr. Samuel Milner for a history he hoped to publish on Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (Reagan National Airport) while he was on the Historical Staff of the Federal Aviation Administration.
This collection covers the years 1800 1981, with the bulk dates falling between 1910 1941, and it measures 7.1 linear feet. The research in this collection focuses on the history of the property that is now Reagan National Airport, going back to colonial times. However, there are interviews and articles that deal with airplanes and early aviation, and the development and construction of Reagan National Airport as well.
Series 1, Research Notes, contain mostly handwritten transcripts of articles from local newspapers, including The Daily News, The Washington Herald, The Washington Post, and The Evening Star, and aviation magazines. There are also some photocopies of articles, especially in the folders with material dated after 1920. Series 2, Aviation and Airport Subject Files, has folders on various airport related topics from many sources including federal agencies and reports on hearings both Congressional and local. Milner interviewed several prominent people involved with Washington's early aviation era, and his notes and transcripts are contained in Series 5, Interview Notes and Transcripts. These interviews were done in both 1972-1973 and 1979-1981.
There are 71 photographs in Series 6, Photographs; most of them are reproductions from various historical collections in the Washington area such as the National Archives and the Library of Congress. Series 7, Published Material, contains original and photocopied portions of pre published histories and reports on the airport and aviation in general. Included in this series is a report regarding purchasing of a stretch of what is then called Military Road to use for airport purposes; this report includes maps and photographs.
Arrangement and DescriptionRG 13 is divided into seven series; the first three contain research notes on various topics written by Milner. Series 1, Research Notes, are Milner’s notes filed chronologically. Series 2, Aviation and Airport Subject Files and Series 3, Local History Materials from Various Sources are subject files on Reagan National Airport and local history, filed alphabetically by subject. Series 5, Interview Notes and Transcripts contains Milner’s notes and transcripts of his interviews with various aviation personalities filed alphabetically by name of the interview subject. The folders in Series 7, Published Material, have quotes around original titles of the folders; these refer to folders containing photocopies of publications about a particular subject.
Folders containing photographs have an asterisk [*] after the file name. Folders with oversized materials have a double asterisk [**] to denote where material was removed and separation sheets added.
ProvenanceThe material in RG 13 came directly from Dr. Milner, who after realizing that he would not publish on this subject, made this generous donation to the Center for Local History in 1985.
RestrictionsAlthough much of the material in this collection comes from other previously published sources, we have made no attempt to cite sources unless otherwise noted by Milner in his notes, therefore, the researcher should beware that any copyright responsibilities are their own.
Related CollectionsFor more information on Reagan National Airport and other Washington-area airports, see RG 37, Metropolitan Washington Airports, and RG 189, Anderson National Airport Collection.