Harry Smith was an artist whose activities and interests put him at the center of the mid twentieth-century American avant-garde. He was also a collector of oddball items and groups of objects, including over 250 paper airplanes which he donated to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. It is not clear what drove Smith to collect paper airplanes, but he would pick up these lost paper objects and tag each one with the time and location of their finding. One friend recalls: “He would run out in front of the cabs to get them, you know, before they got run over. I remember one time we saw one in the air and he was just running everywhere trying to figure out where it was going to be. He was just, like, out of his mind, completely.”