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dirigibles

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.

[click to continue…]

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