The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives'
record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program
staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted
by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Smith was interviewed for the Smithsonian Institution Archives Oral History Collection because of her service as a librarian and administrator with Smithsonian Institution
Roderick was interviewed by Susan E. Ewing, a University of Maryland student and Technical Information Specialist for the NASM Archives, in 1986 and 1987. The interviews
cover his youth; education; career in the U.S. Air Force, Capital Airlines, and NASM; restoration of such famous aircraft as the Winnie Mae, Vin Fiz, and Douglas
World Cruiser; opening of NASM and Paul E. Garber Facility; and reminiscences of colleagues, including Edward B. Chalkley, Paul E. Garber, and Walter Male. The collection
consists of 3.0 hours of audiotape recording, 78 pages of transcript, and occupies 0.5 linear feet of shelf space. In total, this collection includes 2 original audiotape
cassettes, 3 preservation 5" reel-to-reel audiotapes, and 2 reference audiotape cassettes.
Walter R. Roderick (1935- ), aircraft restoration specialist, served in the United States Air Force from 1952 to 1956. During these years, he gained experience in aircraft
maintenance and repair. After three years with Capital Airlines, he joined the staff of the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) in 1959. His duties as an aircraft restoration
specialist at NASM's Paul E. Garber Facility were to preserve, restore, and exhibit historic aircraft. Highlights of his career include the opening of the new NASM building
in 1976 and the Silver Hill Museum in 1977. He retired as Chief of Production Operations at NASM in 1986.