How many archivists do you know who have a cartoon illustrationof themselves featured on their company’s website?
Dave Smith does!
That’s because he is the “authority on all things Disney,” where beinganimated is a big part of the brand. For more than 40 years, until his retirement in October 2010, Smith served as the archivist of the Walt Disney Company.
Smith couldn’t have predicted he would stay in the same role forfour decades but, as he notes, “What started out as a mere job
turned into a labor of love.” Disney added the position of archivistonly after Smith pitched the idea back in 1970.
When Walt Disney died in 1966, Smith (who was then a librarian at the UCLA Research Library) decided to compile a bibliographyon the legend. Following months of research, he learned that the company wanted to preserve its entire history. Hired to do a study and make a recommendation on how to preserve the materials, Smith surveyed the various departments at Disney, learning about the quantity and quality of historical materials.