"I LEARN, MORE AND MORE HOW FACTS BECOME TWISTED WITH TIME… THAT IS ONE OF THE REASONS THAT STARTED ME WRITING 'THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS'": EXCEPTIONAL ORIGINAL 1953 TYPED LETTER FROM CHARLES LINDBERGH TO HIS FRIEND, AVIATION JOURNALIST EARL FINDLEY, THANKING FINDLEY FOR HIS COMMENT ON THE NEWSPAPER SERIALIZATION OF THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS AND EXPLAINING THE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE PROPELLER OF HIS AIRPLANE, SIGNED BY CHARLES LINDBERGH
LINDBERGH, Charles A. Typed letter signed. Darien, Connecticut, April 21, 1953. Single sheet of cream paper, measuring 8-1/2 by 11 inches; matted and framed with photographs of Lindbergh, entire piece measures 25-1/2 by 21 inches. $7500.
Original 1953 typed letter from Charles Lindbergh to his friend, U.S. Air Services editor Earl Findley, expressing gratitude for Findley's comment on the first serialized installment of "The Spirit of St. Louis" in The Saturday Evening Post; lamenting the fact that facts are often twisted, even by good people; and explaining that, contrary to popular belief, the propeller on his plane was not wooden, signed by Charles Lindbergh. Accompanied by two news service photographs of Charles Lindbergh.
The typed letter, dated "April 21, 1953" from "Scotts Cove, Darien, Conn.," reads in full: "Dear Mr. Findley: Thank you very much for your April 10th letter, which I received on returning from a month's absence. It was good of you to write, and I want you to know how much I appreciate your comment on the first installment of the Saturday Evening post serialization of my book. The serialization had to be cut heavily—to about 25% of the book length, but I think the Post editor, Wesley Price, did a fine job in condensing. I learn, more and more how facts become twisted with time—often by honest men and with the best of intent; that is one of the reasons that started me writing 'The Spirit of st. Louis' (Title of the book). In regard to the propeller incident, I remember very well meeting and having dinner with Frank Russell, but there never was a wooden propeller on the 'Spirit of St. Louis.' The plane was equipped with a Standard Steel propeller when it assembled at San Diego, and this same propeller made the New York-to-Paris flight. My inquiries at the time indicated that the Standard Steel propeller was more reliable and efficient that the Curtiss-Reed type—also, the blades were adjustable (on the ground), which gave us an important flexibility in deciding between the demands for take-off, on the one hand, and range, on the other. Best wishes, [signed] Charles A. Lindbergh." This letter is addressed to Earl N. Findley, an aviation journalist best known for his friendship with and coverage of the Wright brothers. Findley, the longtime editor of U.S. Air Services, a monthly aeronautics magazine, waged a multi-decade campaign to have the Smithsonian recognize the Wright brothers as the inventors of the first heavier-than-air flying machine. Findley also corresponded frequently with Lindbergh, beginning well before the Second World War. Findley and Lindbergh exchanged lengthy letters often touching on the minutiae of airplanes. In the 1930s, as Europe was suffering under the threat of another World War, Lindbergh began to express pro-German sentiments in his letters. Lindbergh praised aviation; accepted a German aviation award from Goering; and made a radio speech about U.S. neutrality. Even his closest friends—like Findley—were alarmed. In fact, Orville Wright approached Findley with his concerns, essentially calling Lindbergh a Nazi. While Findley refused to cast aside his friend, many did turn on Lindbergh and he was essentially banned from military service. After the war, Lindbergh came to realize the horror of the concentration camps and sought to return to a life of public service. At the time this letter was written, Lindbergh was still out of favor due to his isolationist political stance, but had secured employment as a consultant to the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force and to Pan American World Airways. He had also just written his autobiography, The Spirit of St. Louis, published in 1954. The book won the Pulitzer Prize, helping to wipe the slate clean of Lindbergh's former transgressions. By 1954, Lindbergh had made his way back into the U.S. Air Force Reserve as a brigadier general. Framed with two news service photographs from Wide World Photos showing Lindbergh accepting the Harmon trophy from the International League of Aviators in 1938 as well as standing with a group of military men, as well as later photographs. Tipped-on description and news service stamps and notations to versos of photos, which have been affixed to verso of frame in facsimile.
Corner of one photo bent and small closed tear to top edge of other photo. Typed signed letter lovely and fine. Most desirable.