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Title Delta Air Corporation Dusting Contacts Card File
Date 1931, ca. 1935
Collection Delta Air Lines Records: Crop Dusting
Catalog Number 1995.335.1
Object Name Card, Catalog
Extent of Description .75 c.f.; 1 card box (half full); 1 folder in a document case
Creator Delta Air Corporation
Admin/Biographical History Delta Air Corporation was chartered on December 31, 1930, with headquarters based at Selman Field in Monroe, Louisiana. From 1930-1934, its primary operations were crop dusting. Other services included aircraft maintenance and repair, hangar rentals, aerial photography and survey flights, and flying lessons.

The company was previously known as Delta Air Service, which was founded in 1928, when C.E. Woolman and a group of local investors purchased Huff Daland Dusters, the world's first aerial crop-dusting company. On June 17, 1929, Delta inaugurated airline service with the first passenger flights over a route stretching from Dallas, Texas, to Jackson, Mississippi, via Shreveport and Monroe, Louisiana. When the air mail contact for the route Delta pioneered was awarded to a predecessor company of American Airlines, Delta suspended passenger operations in October 1930.

After Congress investigated the system of air mail awards in 1934, Delta applied for and received an air mail contact. Mail service started on July 4, 1934, between Ft. Worth, Texas, and Charleston, South Carolina, with passenger service resuming on August 5.
Scope & Content Crop-dusting sales prospects contact cards from January-June, 1931; one dusting pilot personnel card, ca. 1935; and an access copy of the original brittle cards, made in 2006.

The short notes written on the sales prospect cards show some of the economic struggles of local planters and Delta in the midst of the Great Depression in the Mississippi River delta region of the southern United States. It was not easy for Delta to find customers when land owners were "broke and will do [own] dusting this season" or "cutting down acreage." There was also competition from other dusting companies. However, the cards also list a number of "good prospects," who later signed with Delta for crop dusting.
System of arrangement Box 1: Crop dusting card file, 1931, 1935
The sales prospects contact cards are roughly arranged by geographic locations. The main divider tabs are labeled: Bryan [Texas]; Ennis and Marlin [Texas]; Waco [Texas]; Horseshoe [Arkansas]; Friars Point and Elaine [Louisiana]; Sugarland [Louisiana]; Tallulah, Lake Providence, Newellton [Louisiana]; Shreveport [Louisiana]; Readland, Ark.; Ferriday [Mississippi]; Wilmont and Bonita [Arkansas]; Yazoo City and Rolling Fork [Mississippi]. The cards also show names of other local cities and towns in these states.

The back of the card file has three dividers for Airline Pilots, Entomologists and Station Agents. These sections are empty, except for one note card with personnel information for dusting pilot William C. McDonald, based at Maxwell Field, Montgomery, Alabama, who was hired July 24, 1935.

Box 2: Access copies of the original card file (1 folder).
Access Conditions Contact the Delta Flight Museum for information about accessing this collection. Email: museumarchives.delta@delta.com
Language of Material English (eng)
Credit line Delta Air Lines
Accruals No accruals are expected.
Existence of copies The cards in the crop dusting sales prospects card file (Box 1) are very acidic and brittle. Access copies of the cards were made in 2006 for researcher use.
Archivist's Notes Processed by Marie Force in 2006.
Search Terms Delta Air Corporation
Delta Air Lines
Delta Agricultural Division
Delta Dusting Division
Alabama
Arkansas
Monroe, La.
Louisiana
Mississippi
Texas
South (U.S.)
Subjects Aerial dusting in agriculture
Crop dusting
Farmers
Farms
Plantations
Pilots (Aeronautics)
Salesmen
Sales persons
Relation Show Related Records...