We love the nostalgia and sense of discovery in this story of found paper airplanes. From the New Yorker Magazine, we read about Harry Everett Smith, a painter, filmmaker and collector. His paper airplane collection became thing of legend over the years, particularly because of his passion and interest in tracking down new ones. Jumping out into moving traffic, grabbing an airplane before it dived into a gutter, Smith put pride into his saving of these throwaway relics.
Collected between 1961 and 1983, a box of 250 planes was donated to the Smithsonian after his death, just a fraction of his total collection, but a fascinating time capsule nonetheless.
We’re struck by the age, patina, and variations in the photos below, showcasing all manner of hastily or elaborately folded planes. You can imagine the owner launching one out of a fifteenth story apartment, watching it silently sail down to the busy streets below. Below you’ll find a sampling of the collection, and even a map that Smith made to mark where each of his airplanes was found.