LINDBERGH, Charles A. (1902-1974), Aviator. Two autograph letters signed (both "Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr.") to Joseph Hartson, Sacramento, California, 18 September 1927 and St. Thomas, V.I., 1 February 1928. Together 8 pages, 8vo, on Hotel Senator and Government House stationery, with original autograph envelopes.
"THE 35 TO 40,000 MILES I HAVE FLOWN IN THE 'SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS' HAS BEEN OVER MOUNTAINS, FORESTS, WATER AND JUNGLE..."
Two fine Lindbergh letters mentioning the The Spirit of St. Louis during his final flights of the historic craft, and showing the young aviator still riding the emotional high of his great achievement. "I just want to thank you," he tells Hartson, "for sending Maidment out on this tour." Hartson, a Wright Aeronautical Corp. engineer, had suggested crewman for Lindbergh's 1927 cross-country tour to celebrate the trans-Atlantic flight and promote American aviation. "He is certainly fitting into our little group splendidly." Maidment had replaced another crewman "unable to get the spirit of our organization....There are four of us on the tour," Lindbergh continues, "in addition to our advance man...We try to arrange our work in a way that no one needs to think of the other man's duties and since 'Doc' Maidment has been with us it has not been necessary to consider planes or engines between the time of landing and taking off. The 'Whirlwind' [engine] in my plane has just completed 260 hours and is working perfectly. You people certainly have a right to be proud of your engines. We have never had the slightest mechanical difficulty with either plane."
Five months later, in February, he is still marveling at the performance of the Spirit of St. Louis. "Mr. Voorhees changed the valves...as you suggested and the new ones are giving as good service as the old. The motor has just completed 446 hours in the air and has never caused me a moment's worry. As you know, a large portion of the 35 to 40,000 miles I have flown in the 'Spirit of St. Louis' has been over mountains, forests, water and jungle where motor failure would be unusually dangerous. I expect to be in St. Louis on February 13th and will fly to New York sometime later."
Deluged with multi-million dollar proposals to cash-in on his fame, Lindbergh agreed to only two offers after his trans-Atlantic flight: a book contract with Putnam's (which published We that summer) and a cross-country tour in the Spirit of St. Louis sponsored by the Guggenheim Fund to promote American aviation. The first letter comes from the latter portion of that tour, which Lindbergh biographer A. Scott Berg describes as a combination of "the historical and the hysterical." When it was over on 23 October 1927, Lindbergh had logged 22,350 miles and visited 82 cities (many of which voted funds for airfields soon afterwards). A few months later, his financial advisor (and future father-in-law) Dwight Morrow urged him to take The Spirit of St. Louis on another tour, this time to Mexico and the Caribbean (Morrow had become U. S. ambassador at Mexico City). For Lindbergh, it was another endurance challenge, as he explained: "I wanted to make another long-distance non-stop flight before retiring the plane from use and putting it in a museum" (Berg, 172). His 24-hour flight from Washington D. C. to Mexico City kicked off an exuberant tour that turned out thousands of adoring fans, and lasted from mid-December to mid-February. Two fine autograph letters on Lindbergh's travels with The Spirit of St. Louis. Together 2 items. (2)