Digital Collections: Delta Air Lines Documents Available Online Through the Digital Library of Georgia

Historical records detailing the growth of one of the world’s largest airlines are available to the public online through the Georgia Digital Library, thanks to a partnership between the Delta Flight Museum, the University of Georgia Libraries, and GALILEO.

The Flying D airplane and crew on the runway in 1950

The collection contains Delta Air Lines’ digitized timetables, flight maps, and annual reports for the past century through its expansions, moves, and mergers with other airlines to become the aviation industry leader in the United States.

“Sharing our collection of digitized annual reports and timetables of Delta and family member airlines provides wider access to this rich resource of materials documenting the nearly 100 years of Delta’s history and the development of commercial aviation both locally and globally,” said John Boatright, president of Delta Flight Museum, a non-profit museum housed in the original 1940s hangars at Delta’s Atlanta headquarters.

“This partnership with DLG allows us to enhance our engagement with educators, researchers, and aviation enthusiasts.”

Delta Air Lines traces its history to the world’s first crop-dusting company in Macon in 1925, and the company has been headquartered in Atlanta since 1941.

For Toby Graham, university librarian and associate provost at UGA, those connections to the state align the digital archive with the mission of the Digital Library of Georgia, a GALILEO initiative based at UGA’s Main Library dedicated to the digital preservation and open access of historic materials that reflect the state’s history and culture.

“As one of Atlanta’s largest employers, Delta and its business history are fully integrated with the history of our state. We are proud to partner with the Delta Flight Museum to preserve and share these historical documents with the community and with researchers interested in aviation, business, travel, and other fields, ”said Graham.

In addition to historical items directly related to the airline, the Delta Flight Museum’s online archive contains business publications from many of the more than 40 affiliated airlines that make up the “Delta family tree.”

These include:

Chicago and Southern Air Lines, which brought Delta’s first international routes to the Caribbean and Venezuela in 1953;

Boston-based Northeast Airlines, which extended Delta’s East Coast services from Canada to Florida and Bermuda in 1972;

Los Angeles-based Western Airlines, the oldest continuously operating airline in the United States before Delta acquired it in 1987;

and Minnesota-based Northwest Airlines, which carried the most passengers across the Pacific Ocean and was a top domestic cargo carrier until its merger with Delta in 2008.

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