From the category archives:

Aviation History

48453c_008A complete archive of the original artwork, photographs, advertisements, and fully edited and corrected typewritten essays which comprise the official guide to the 1936 Democratic National Convention, held in Philadelphia: including 41 original pen and ink drawings by Lyle Justis used as vignettes and illustrations throughout the text; over 200 original photographs, most with identification stamps, photographers include Harris & Ewing, William Rittase, Earl C. Roper, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn, Lewis Wickes Hine, H.H. Rideout, Phillip B. Wallace, Theodor Horydczak, Underwood & Underwood Studios, Jean Sardou, and Bachrach, departments include the U.S. Bureau of Mines, the U.S. Forest Service, the Treasury Department, the Resettlement Administration, the U.S. Navy, the National Park Service, and the Works Progress Administration; and approximately 47 original typewritten manuscripts, heavily edited and corrected, which make up the essays printed throughout the program, including biographies of important members of the Democratic Party and reports from a wide variety of governmental departments, programs, and administrations; together with typed letters from members of the Democratic National Committee and advertisers in the program, captions, ad copy, and three copies of the program, one final printed version in orig. illus. wrpps. and two mock-ups of the signed limited edition of the program, full calf bindings.

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The contributors to the 1936 program include varied and notable figures from politics, journalism, and other fields. Hendrik Willem Van Loon was a historian and the first children’s book author to win the Newbery Medal. Roosevelt later called on him to work on his 1940 presidential campaign. Bascon Timmons was an esteemed newspaperman with a career spanning six decades, who served as an advisor to Presidents Coolidge and Roosevelt.

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Edward A. Filene was known for building the Filene’s department store chain and for his role in pioneering employee relations, a 40-hour work week, minimum wage for women, profit sharing, paid vacations, and credit unions. Claude Bowers, who served President Roosevelt as ambassador to Spain and Chile, wrote such influential histories of the Democratic Party that they moved Roosevelt to build the Jefferson Memorial. James Hamilton Lewis was the first Senator to hold the title of “Whip” in the United States Senate, and was a leader in getting much of Woodrow Wilson’s “New Freedom” legislation passed. Cordell Hull was the longest-serving Secretary of State in US history, and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1945 for his key role in establishing the United Nations.

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Henry Morgenthau, Jr. served as Secretary of the Treasury under FDR and was instrumental in designing and securing financing for the New Deal, as well as playing a major role in establishing the financing for US participation in World War II through a system of war bonds. Homer Cummings, the U.S. Attorney General from 1933 to 1939, secured the passage of twelve laws related to the “Lindbergh Law” on kidnapping, made bank robbery a federal crime, established Alcatraz prison, and strengthened the FBI. James Farley served simultaneously as Chairman of the Democratic National Commitee and Postmaster General under the first two Roosevelt administrations, and revolutionzed the use of polls and polling data.

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Harold L. Ickes served as Secretary of the Interior and Administration of Public Works, was reponsible for implementing much of Roosevelt’s New Deal, and was in charge of the Public Works Administration relief program. Frances Perkins Wilson was the longest-serving Secretary of Labor and the first woman appointed to the Cabinet. During her tenure, she helped pull the labor movement into the New Deal coalition, assisted in getting the Civilian Conservation Corps and Public Works Administration up and running, crafted laws against child labor, enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act which cemented minimum wage and overtime laws and defined the 40-hour work week, and established the Social Security Act which included unemployment benefits, pensions for the elderly, and welfare for the poor. Marriner S. Eccles was a banker, economist, and member and chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, whose essay in this program titled “The Economic Program Since 1932” is a sort of blueprint for the New Deal.

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Harry L. Hopkins was one of the architects of the New Deal, especially the relief programs of the Works Progress Administration, which he directed and turned into the largest employer in the country. During the War, Hopkins also acted as Roosevelt’s unofficial emissary to Winston Churchill. Rexford G. Tugwell was an economist who took part in Roosevelt’s first “Brain Trust”, a group of academics who helped develop policies leading up to the New Deal. Tugwell helped design the New Deal farm program, the Soil Conservation Service following the Dust Bowls of the 1930s, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and the Resettlement Administration, a unit of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration which helped the rural unemployed.

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Mary Williams (Molly) Dewson was a feminist and political activist who served as the head of the Women’s Division of the Democratic National Committee where she worked with FDR to bring the women’s vote into action. She also worked with delinquent girls and domestic workers, served with the American Red Cross in France during World War I, and as president of the New York Consumers’ League, worked closely with Eleanor Roosevelt to pass labor laws for women. Fannie Hurst was a novelist and suffragist who fought for women to preserve their maiden names after marriage. Charl Ormond Williams was a teacher and suffragist who became the first woman to serve on the Democratic National Committee, and was the youngest and first southern woman to serve as President of the National Education Association.

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Collection of 20 titles, ca. 50-300 pp. each. Paris / Geneva / Moscow, 1897-1973, offered with Inforespace. Cosmologie Phénomènes Spatiaux Primhistoire. Revue Bimestrielle. Nos. 1 (1972) – 67, 69 – 71, 73 & 75, incl. the “hors serie” December annuals nos. 1 (1977) – 8 (1984). Altogether 80 issues comprising a 17-year head-of-series run of the newsletter published by the Société Belge d’Étude des Phénomènes Spatiaux (SOBEPS). 8vo. Uniform silver wrpps. 1972 – 1988. (47653)

Photographic evidence of “OVNI” from the pages of Inforespace. Cosmologie Phénomènes Spatiaux Primhistoire.

When the Soviets launched Sputnik 1 into space on the 4th of October 1957, eyes all over the world were suddenly on the heavens.  This was no less true in Geneva, Paris, and Brussels than it was in Washington D.C. and San Diego.  The final frontier had finally been broached and popular imagination turned to the night sky with an intensified curiosity.

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Collection of 548 postcard prints and original photographs depicting airships, dirigibles and zeppelins, ca. 1890 to 1960. Most images 3 x 5 in. or 4 x 6 in., housed in period 4to and tall 4to boards albums, one with spine partially detached.  N.p (United Kingdom?), N.d. (ca. 1890 to 1960).  (47267)

The golden age of the passenger airship came to an abrupt halt on May 6, 1937 when the Hindenburg scorched the night sky over Lakehurst, New Jersey.  Stunned by newsreel footage of the disaster, the public understandably lost faith in the zeppelin as a secure mode of transport.  Needless to say (despite occasional rumors of its resuscitation) the dirigible industry has yet to  fully recover.  But for the first three decades of the 20th century, an extraordinary variety of lighter-than-air craft shared the airways with early airplanes and gliders. F.A. Bernett Books has recently acquired two albums of photographs and postcards that illustrate the history of these curious aerostatic vehicles, both before and after the Hindenburg.

And if the clues we’ve discovered between their covers point in the right direction, it seems the collection may once have belonged to one of the airship’s most passionate advocates. But more on that later.

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The First Flight from New York to Paris

Thumbnail image for The First Flight from New York to Paris May 2, 2011

The First Flight from New York to Paris by Colonel Ch. A. Lindbergh. Lavish privately printed presentation album commemorating Lindbergh’s solo crossing of the Atlantic, this copy extra-illustrated with a large silver print photograph of the Spirit of St. Louis in flight over Paris, signed by Lindbergh and tipped onto front free endpaper.  Thick, square […]