"WITH SINCERE THANKS FOR BEING BOTH ONE STEP AHEAD OF US AND ONE STEP BEHIND US THROUGHOUT 'GIANT STEP'": THREE RARE, LARGE, AND BEAUTIFUL COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE APOLLO II MOON LANDING, WARMLY INSCRIBED BY ASTRONAUTS NEIL ARMSTRONG, MICHAEL COLLINS, AND BUZZ ALDRIN TO ELTON STEPHERSON, JR., WHO ACCOMPANIED THE ASTRONAUTS ON THEIR POST-FLIGHT WORLD TOUR AND WAS ONE OF THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICANS TO DO MANAGEMENT-LEVEL WORK IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE NASA PROGRAM
(NASA) ARMSTRONG, Neil, COLLINS, Michael, and ALDRIN, Buzz. Apollo 11 photograph archive. No place, circa 1969. Three color photographs, measuring 13-3/4 by 11, 7 by 7-1/4, and 10-3/4 by 13-3/4 inches; matted and inscribed on the mat, the photographs measure 20 by 16, 14 by 11, and 16 by 20 inches, respectively. $37,000.
Rare and lovely NASA-related archive, comprising three large color photographs of the Apollo 11 moon landing, warmly inscribed by astronauts Neil Armstrong ("To Elton—With sincere thanks for being both one step ahead of us and one step behind us throughout 'Giant Step'—Neil Armstrong Apollo 11"), Michael Collins ("To Elton—With Sincere Best Wishes and Giant Thanks from Apollo 11—Michael Collins"), and Buzz Aldrin ("To Elton, C'etait un grand plaisir de vous avoir eu avec nous pendant le voyage de Giant Step et d'avoir eu votre service common interprete [It was a great pleasure to have you tour with us during the Giant Step journey and to have had you as an interpreter]. Buzz Aldrin") to Elton Stepherson, Jr., then a special assistant to the Area Director for the Near East and South Asia with the U.S. Information Agency selected to accompany the astronauts on a World Tour following their successful mission.
"Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon. The first steps by humans on another planetary body were taken by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969. The astronauts also returned to Earth the first samples from another planetary body. Apollo 11 achieved its primary mission—to perform a manned lunar landing and return the mission safely to Earth—and paved the way for the Apollo lunar landing missions to follow." (Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum). "The Apollo 11 astronauts—Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins—were a worldwide sensation. That was true on the Moon, where they got the largest TV audience to that date in history, 600 million people worldwide. And it was the case back on Earth as well, and NASA and the Nixon White House moved quickly to unleash the astronauts by sending them on a rock star-style world tour… The Apollo 11 world tour—nicknamed 'Giant Leap' by NASA—began September 29, 1969, in Mexico City. The astronauts had been back from the Moon for just nine weeks. They traveled with their wives, support staff from NASA and the U.S. State Department, as well as two staffers from the United States Information Agency [one of whom was the inscribee, Elton Stepherson, Jr.] and four from the Voice of America… The "Giant Leap" tour would be hectic, overwhelming, improvisational, surprising—in many ways, exactly the opposite of the perfectly planned, perfectly controlled, perfectly executed, three-person mission that inspired it" (Fast Company). All three of these images are spectacularly inscribed to Elton Stepherson, Jr., Special Assistant to the Area Director for the Near East and South Asia with the U.S. Information Agency and one of the few people to accompany the astronauts on their tour. Elton Stepherson had a long career in the U.S. government. His work consistently had an international orientation and he worked in information and cultural roles in Venezuela, Japan, Spain, Panama, Chile, Vietnam, and Thailand. His first Washington assignment, like the one that resulted in these inscriptions, found him working in conjunction with NASA as USIA/NASA Liaison for the Mercury and Gemini Programs, the first programs engaged in manned space flight. Notably, he was one of the first African Americans to work alongside NASA in a management capacity, making him a pioneer at the agency. As liaison, he worked closely with space program colleagues to provide accurate information on NASA's activities to USIA posts all over the globe. The "Giant Step" tour was arguably his most public achievement—he became one of the first African Americans to represent NASA's programs, appearing all over the globe with NASA's famed astronauts. After the "Giant Step" tour, Stepherson became even more firmly aligned with NASA, lecturing on the Apollo program and exhibiting moon rocks, which earned him the nickname "The Rock Man" in Latin America. This collection of inscribed photographs is unparalleled. Neil Armstrong's inscription, in particular, is incredibly desirable. Armstrong once told his biographer, James Hansen, that he never wrote his famous quote in any inscription. In fact, this is one of only two known copies to have referenced it directly.
Very nearly fine condition. Most rare.