18 artifacts in this set
Charles A. Lindbergh (1902-1974) is remembered for his historic May 1927 solo transatlantic flight from New York to Paris. His triumph fired the public’s imagination, and encouraged investors and passengers alike to take commercial airlines seriously. Lindbergh used his enormous fame to champion aviation and, later, environmental causes. But celebrity brought hardship as well as opportunity to the quiet pilot.
Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born to Charles A. and Evangeline Land Lindbergh on February 4, 1902. Though he was born in his mother's hometown of Detroit, Michigan, Lindbergh grew up in Little Falls, Minnesota, near where his father's family had settled after emigrating from Sweden. Charles A. and Evangeline had a difficult marriage and drifted apart, though they never formally divorced.
Charles August Lindbergh was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and -- as an infant -- immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1859. After his first wife died, Lindbergh married Evangeline Land, with whom he had son Charles Augustus Lindbergh -- the future aviator. The elder Lindbergh represented Minnesota's 6th congressional district in the U.S. Congress from 1907 to 1917.
Seven years before his famous transatlantic flight, 18-year-old Charles Lindbergh purchased this Excelsior motorcycle in his hometown of Little Falls, Minnesota. During his student days at the University of Wisconsin, Lindbergh rode the bike on trips to Madison, Wisconsin; Camp Knox, Kentucky; and Jacksonville, Florida. The primitive, punishing roads had Lindbergh making frequent repairs to the motorcycle.
Charles Lindbergh indulged his interests in machinery and speed by purchasing an Excelsior motorcycle in 1920. Lindbergh rode the bike from his boyhood home in Little Falls, Minnesota, to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His marathon Chicago-Louisville run was made in the summer of 1921, when Lindbergh traveled from Madison to Camp Knox, Kentucky, for ROTC training in field artillery.
Charles Lindbergh enlisted in the Army's Air Service Reserve Corps in 1924, partly for patriotic reasons and partly to access sophisticated aircraft. He graduated as a second lieutenant in 1925. After his historic 1927 transatlantic flight, Lindbergh was promoted to colonel and awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. In 1954 he was elevated to brigadier general in the Air Force Reserve.
After barnstorming and piloting in the Army Reserve, Charles Lindbergh started flying mail between St. Louis and Chicago in 1925. The job provided sound experience flying in all conditions. Following his 1927 solo transatlantic flight, Lindbergh used his newfound fame to advance aviation however he could -- from organizing transcontinental airline service to making promotional air mail flights over his old route.
Warner Bros. built this airplane for its 1957 movie The Spirit of St. Louis. The film's star, Jimmy Stewart, donated it to The Henry Ford in 1959. The replica is faithful to Charles Lindbergh's original with two exceptions. The replica's wingspan is shorter, and its cabin has two seats. On Lindbergh's plane, large fuel tanks left room for only one seat.
After his New York to Paris flight in May 1927, Charles Lindbergh was welcomed as a conquering hero wherever he went. That summer he flew his Spirit of St. Louis on a tour that took him to each of the 48 states then in the Union. Admirers might have greeted Lindbergh while wearing paper bowties like this one.
Charles Lindbergh gained international fame with his solo transatlantic flight from New York to Paris. The reluctant celebrity was praised in numerous popular songs, with none more successful than "Lucky Lindy" written by Abel Baer and L. Wolfe Gilbert. Singer Jack Kaufman recorded the tune for Harmony Records on May 25, 1927 -- a mere four days after Lindbergh's flight!
In 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic. Americans were captivated by this amazing feat. Parker Brothers capitalized on the public's fascination with their new hero and produced this game. Similar to their Touring card game, Lindy requires players to collect mileage cards to win. Other cards help or hinder the traveler's progress.
Charles Lindbergh's solo New York to Paris flight in May 1927 made him a hero around the world. "Lindy" appeared on posters, sheet music, coins, tapestries -- and almost every other imaginable souvenir. Lindbergh appears alongside his airplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, on this pencil box. "WE," the title of Lindbergh's 1927 memoir, refers to the pilot and his plane.
In 1927, Charles Lindbergh flew his Spirit of St. Louis to Ford Airport in Dearborn, Michigan. The pair was newly famous for completing the first non-stop flight from New York to Paris. During their visit, Henry Ford accepted Lindbergh's invitation for a ride. Though Ford had been invested in aviation since 1909, this was his first trip in an airplane.
Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh shake hands during Lindbergh's August 10, 1927, visit to Dearborn and Detroit. The stop was a part of a national tour during which Lindbergh flew the Spirit of St. Louis to every one of the 48 states in the Union at that time.
Franklin automobiles, built from 1902 until 1934, were distinguished by their air-cooled engines. When Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic with an air-cooled motor in 1927, Franklin played up the connection by introducing an "Airman" sedan and giving this example to the aviator. In turn, Lindbergh gave the car to Henry Ford in 1940 for inclusion in Henry Ford Museum.
In 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh became the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic. Lindbergh recounts this historic flight and his early days in aviation in The Spirit of St. Louis. Written in 1953, the book became a bestseller and won the Pulitzer Prize.
The 1957 film The Spirit of St. Louis recounts Charles Lindbergh's early days in aviation and his historic transatlantic solo flight in 1927. Based on Lindbergh's Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir of the same name, the film stars the celebrated screen actor Jimmy Stewart. The movie was a passion project for Stewart, a great admirer of Lindbergh's and an enthusiastic pilot himself.
Legendary screen actor Jimmy Stewart was also an avid pilot. His work and his hobby came together when Stewart starred as Charles Lindbergh in the 1957 film The Spirit of St. Louis. Three replicas of the title airplane were used in the movie, and Stewart purchased one of them. The actor donated his plane to Henry Ford Museum in 1959.