archival collection


The Archives has many collections of documents devoted to particular subjects, organizations or persons.

  • Organizational Papers: Documents created for corporations or groups such as Ryan Aeronautical (Ryan, 1922-1969 and Teledyne Ryan, 1969-1999) and Convair (Consolidated Aircraft, 1923-1942; Consolidated Vultee (Convair), 1942-1956; General Dynamics, Convair Division, 1956-1996).
  • Personal Papers: Documents created and accumulated by individuals and groups, including Charles A. Lindbergh, T. Claude Ryan, Reuben H. Fleet, Admiral Marc Mitscher, John Montgomery, Ed Heinemann, the Ninety-Nines, Oscar Perdomo, T.P. Hall, and Waldo Waterman.

We are currently working on cataloging, creating finding guides and digitizaing our special collections.  Many of those which have been processed can be seen below.  Here is a list of most of our special collections, which includes basic information on them.

We also have a variety of archival documents:

The Library and Archives has digitized several of our rare books, including important publications from Consolidated/Convair Aircraft and Ryan Aeronautical, San Diego’s two most important aerospace companies. These documents highlight the day to day activities at these companies, the corporate history of both Ryan and Consolidated, life in San Diego during the Second World War and the flight schools Ryan operated. These books are searchable and can be found at:

Louis M. Seeman Collection

Louis M. Seeman (b.1888) was trained and taught at the Curtiss School of Aviation in San Diego, CA, until being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant for the U.S. Army Air Service, where he saw service in WWI.

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Thomas W. Sefton Collection

Thomas Sefton (1917-2006) a World War II veteran, assigned to troop carrier work in the Mediterranean. Honorably discharged in July 1946, he then worked at the San Diego Trust and Savings, eventually as...

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Frank W. Seifert Special Collection

Col. Frank Walter Seifert was an aviation pioneer, WWII vet, a member of the team that performed the first aerial refueling in history, and served on the San Diego City Counsel, leading the development...

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Francis O. Smith Collection

Francis Smith was WWII pilot who flew 'over the Hump' - the route over the Himalayas between India and China. He received various accolades and after his service, he worked at the FAA from 1962 to 1998.

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Kenneth M. Smith Personal Papers

Kenneth Smith has had a distinguished 43-year career in both the aerospace/electronics industry and in public service, working with Convair and serving as a naval aviator during WWII.

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