From the category archives:

Aviation History

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 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 folio.  Orig. brown morocco  gilt by A. J. Gonin.  N.p. (Paris) (Vacuum Oil Co.) n.d. (1927).  One of 13 copies. (45963)

In 1919 Raymond Orteig had famously offered $25,000 to any aviator who could accomplish the seemingly insurmountable feat of crossing the Atlantic in either direction alone and non-stop.  Charles A. Lindbergh’s 33 hour flight on the Spirit of Saint Louis from Roosevelt Field in New York to Le Bourget Aerodrome in Paris on May 20–21, 1927 not only won him Orteig’s prize money, it changed the course of aviation history.

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