Celebrating Charles Lindbergh Spirit of St. Louis!

On May 20, 1927 Charles Lindbergh took off from New York to cross the Atlantic for Paris aboard his airplane the “Spirit of St. Louis”.   The trip took 33 1/2 hours.  He was the first to fly the Atlantic alone.

Photograph of Charles Lindbergh, with Spirit of St. Louis in background, May 31, 1927. Attribution: United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo shown upper left “Spirit of St. Louis 1927 Issue – 10 cents”.  Attribution: By US Post Office [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Spirit_of_St_Louis_1927_Issue-10c.jpg

Note: The blog post today is a bit longer than usual, so print off if you want and read with your morning coffee, hot tea, or diet coke!

At the time the stamp was made in 1927, the post office broke tradition and issued a stamp that honored a living American.  From the Aargo National Postal Museum site:  “Because the law prohibited the use of the portrait of a living person, the central design represented Lindbergh’s airplane, The Spirit of St. Louis. The plane was later suspended in the main entrance hall of the Smithsonian Institution’s Arts and Industries Building (later moved to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum).”

It was a delight to discover a site about Charles Lindbergh with these documents and letters.  It has a great page on the flight, flight timeline (New York to Paris), Spirit of St. Louis (about the airplane), movie clips, and there are 32 books – Charles Lindbergh resources that you can order through Amazon and by clicking on any of those book links from their site it helps to support efforts for maintaining the site.

With our focus here at AnchoredScraps.com about letter writing and with it stamps and correspondence in general, it is of interest the role that Charles Lindbergh had as a U.S. Air Mail Service Pioneer.  Here is a link to the pdf of Charles Lindbergh’s Certificate of the Oath of Mail Messengers document dated April 28, 1926.

It is worth noting that in looking at aviation events sharing today’s date of May 20th, in addition to Charles Lindbergh, these two events are also listed:   1930 – The first airplane was catapulted from a dirigible.  1932 – Amelia Earhart took off to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She became the first woman to achieve the feat.

You probably have a photo of this airplane from when you went on vacation and toured the Air and Space Museum and that photo is in your scrapbook!   The plane is usually suspended in air and I saw a press release from January 2015 saying “For the first time in more than 20 years, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has lowered Charles Lindbergh’s Ryan NYP “Spirit of St. Louis” to the floor. The famous aircraft will remain on the floor at eye level for visitors to see for approximately five months while it undergoes preservation work before being suspended once again.”

At their Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum web site calendar of events (Twitter @airandspace) on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 8:00 PM there will be a JetBlue: Bringing Humanity Back to Air Travel Lecture.   It is part of the Charles A. Lindbergh Memorial Lecture Series.   Presenter: David Barger, founding president and former CEO, JetBlue Airways; 8:00 pm; Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater; Museum in Washington, DC; Request Free Tickets; Watch the Live Webcast is an option.    7:15 pm – View Living in the Age of Airplanes, a new Imax movie narrated by Harrison Ford.    8:00 pm – Lecture.  The also have a link to add to your calendar.

My Dad was born in 1929 (two years after Charles Lindbergh’s historic flight) and I’m recalling that one entire summer he focused on taking private pilot flying lessons while I was away at College.  He had my Mom taking lessons with him and together they each earned their private pilot’s license – it was something they shared and enjoyed doing together.  Years later when I would be in town visiting we would go for rides in their airplane – and he would give me $1 for every plane I spotted before he saw it – afterwards we would take the money ‘earned’ and head to Schlotzky’s deli and have a meal.

Jimmy Stewart as Charles Lindbergh with the replica of the “The Spirit of St. Louis” for the film of the same name. Attribution: By SDASM Archives [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
It  was insightful to read about Anne Morrow Lindbergh, that “much time during the early years of the Lindberghs’ marriage was spent flying.  Anne served as her husband’s co-pilot, navigator and radio operator on history-making explorations, charting potential air routes for commercial airlines. …”  In addition to the several books she wrote, including her widely read book “Gift from the Sea” (a small hardback of it sits on a table in our guest room) the site mentioned she had five volumes of diaries and letters from the years 1922-1944.    Charles Lindbergh published “The Spirit of St. Louis”, in 1953, which was an expanded account of his 1927 historic transatlantic flight – the book won a Pulitzer Prize in 1954; the screenplay for the 1957 biographical movie starring Jimmy Stewart as Charles Lindbergh was based on that book.   And today is Jimmy Stewart’s birthday: May 20, 1908!  He won Best Actor Academy Award in 1941 for “The Philadelphia Story”.  Jimmy Stewart served during World War II and was later promoted to Brigadier General on July 23, 1959 in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.  He retired in 1968 from the Air Force after 27 years of service.

Our theme of Service to Others this month of May is beautifully seen today with celebrating this historic flight with Charles Lindbergh, with James Stewart military service and reading details I’ve compiled of the ‘story behind the stamp’.   Wishing you a great Wednesday!

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