Founder of the Walt Disney Archives Dave Smith to be Honored with a Window at Disneyland

Along with being named a Disney Legend, being honored with a Window at Disneyland is among The Walt Disney Company’s highest honors.

This morning at the Annual Meeting of Disney Shareholders in Raleigh, North Carolina, Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger made an announcement that Dave Smith, founder of The Walt Disney Archives, will receive the highest honor that Disneyland Resort bestows: a tribute window on Main Street, U.S.A. His window will be unveiled on June 22, 2020, which marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Walt Disney Archives.

Dave Smith was born on October 13, 1940, and raised in Pasadena, California. He graduated from UC Berkeley, and spent a year and a half as an intern at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He then moved back to California, and worked as a librarian at UCLA for five years.

In the late 1960s, Smith was working on a bibliography on Walt Disney when he first heard of a possible archive being created by The Walt Disney Company. He wrote to the Company with an offer of his services, and was accepted.

Smith’s Disney career began on June 22, 1970, when he founded the Walt Disney Archives. Hired by Walt’s brother — and co-founder of The Walt Disney Company —Roy O. Disney, Smith was responsible for growing the Archives from a simple one-person department to a model among corporate archives, becoming the final authority on all matters of Disney history in the process.

Smith, who passed away in 2019, wrote extensively on Disney history, with a regular column in The Disney Channel Magazine, Disney Magazine, Disney Newsreel, and numerous articles in such publications as Starlog, Manuscripts, Millimeter, American Archivist, and California Historical Quarterly.

He is the author of the official Disney encyclopedia, Disney A to Z, now in its fifth edition; with Kevin Neary he co-authored four volumes of The Ultimate Disney Trivia Book; with Steven Clark he co-wrote Disney: The First 100 Years; and he edited The Quotable Walt Disney. Dave also wrote introductions to a number of other Disney books.

In October 2007, Dave was honored with the prestigious Disney Legends Award. A resident of Burbank, California, Dave retired in 2010 after his 40th anniversary with The Walt Disney Company and continued working as a consultant for the Company, with the title of Chief Archivist Emeritus, until his death.

“My greatest reward has been getting to know the many people who have come to use the Archives over the years. I have been especially proud to be a guide and mentor to so many young people who have gone on to exceptional careers in the Disney organization,” Dave once said.

More details about the unveiling ceremony for Smith’s window will be announced soon, so stay tuned to DAPS MAGIC for updates.