Dave Smith
Smith in 2010
David Rollin Smith

(1940-10-13)October 13, 1940
DiedFebruary 15, 2019(2019-02-15) (aged 78)
OccupationChief Archivist at Walt Disney Archives

Dave Rollin Smith (October 13, 1940 – February 15, 2019) was the founder and chief archivist of Walt Disney Archives at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California.[1][2]

Early life

Smith was born on October 13, 1940, and raised in Pasadena, California. He appreciated Disney movies as a child and, having lived in California, visited Disneyland frequently.[3] 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.[4]

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. Smith, still working at UCLA at the time, wrote to the Disney Company with an offer of his services, which was accepted.[5][6]


Smith's Disney Legends plaque in Legends Plaza at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank

He joined the company on June 22, 1970, as its first archivist.[7] His first task was to document all the items in Walt Disney's office that had been stored there since his death four years earlier.[8]

Smith wrote many books, including Disney A to Z, an official encyclopedia of Disney knowledge, as well as the Walt Disney Trivia Books, and also co-authored Disney: The First 100 Years. In 2007, Smith received the Disney Legends Award, an honor given to people who have made significant contributions to The Walt Disney Company.[9]

Between 1980 and 2001, Smith was the executive director of the Manuscript Society.[10] He was also a member of the Society of California Archivists.[8] On June 24, 2010, forty years after he began work at Disney, Smith announced he would soon be retiring.[6] After retirement, he worked for Disney as a consultant.[8] According to the Disney fans and historians, he was regarded as the final authority on the topic of Disney history.[8]



  1. ^ Fond Memories of Dave Smith from the Walt Disney Archives – D23
  2. ^ Preserving the Legacy: The Walt Disney Archives – The Walt Disney Company
  3. ^ "Dave Smith". Google Sites. Archived from the original on February 18, 2017. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  4. ^ Wolf, Scott (2007). "Dave Smith talks about starting the Disney Archives". Mouse Clubhouse. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  5. ^ "Into The Walt Disney Archives With Disney Legend Dave Smith". DISUnplugged. June 9, 2010. Archived from the original on October 13, 2018. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Boucher, Geoff (June 24, 2010). "Column One: Pack rat in the Mouse House". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  7. ^ "Disney Legends – Dave Smith (Archives)". Disney. Archived from the original on April 16, 2008. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d "Dave Smith Dies". Deadline Hollywood. February 15, 2019. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  9. ^ "About the Author: Dave Smith". D23. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  10. ^ "Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78". Variety. February 16, 2019. Retrieved February 17, 2019.