MO -- St. Louis -- Missouri History Museum -- Exhibit: Lindbergh:
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MHMLIN_081010_002.JPG: Start of the Lindbergh exhibit
"A young Minnesotan who seemed to have nothing to do with his generation did a heroic thing, and for a moment people... thought of their old best dreams."
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald
On May of 1927, a 25-year-old St. Louis airmail pilot took off from New York alone toe cross the Atlantic Ocean nonstop in a small single-engine plane. In the days when transatlantic crossings were made by ship, only a few pilots had tried by air, but none had yet succeeded.
Arriving in Paris 33-1/2 hours later, Charles Lindbergh opened the tiny door of the custom-built Spirit of St. Louis to an enormous and exuberant crowd. During the next few hours news of his dramatic feat spread rapidly around the globe by way of telegraph, radio, film, and print.
People responded to their new hero with unprecedented fervor. They showered Lindbergh with gifts, invitations, cards, and letters. Although primarily interested in promoting aviation, Lindbergh saw every detail of his life splashed across front-page headlines. From that moment on, his joys -- including his long marriage to Anne Morrow Lindbergh -- and his tragedies unfolded under the ever-watchful eyes of the world.
MHMLIN_081010_019.JPG: Early Years:
"It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing what you've wanted to do so badly. You almost feel like you could fly without the plane."
-- Charles Lindbergh
Born on February 4, 1902, in Detroit, Michigan, Lindbergh grew up the son of a doting mother and an often-absent, politician father. He spent rural summers on the family farm in Minnesota, and school days in Detroit and later Washington, DC, when his father served in the US Congress.
While he was growing up, so too was the new technology of aviation. Less than a year after Lindbergh's birth, the Wright brothers experimented successfully with the first heavier-than-air machine. A few years later, stunt flying, known as barnstorming, thrilled crowds, and by WWI, aviation had become an integral part of the war effort.
Lindbergh took his first trip in an airplane in 1922, and from then on his life revolved around the adventure of flying. Within four years, his skill as an airmail pilot on the St. Louis to Chicago route, the most dangerous in the United States, gave him the confidence to try for the Orteig Prize -- $25,000 offered to the first person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean without stopping.
MHMLIN_081010_026.JPG: After only year of school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Lindbergh left to pursue his real desire, flying.
He reported to Brooks Field, Texas, on March 15, 1924, for training in the Army Air Corps. A year later after graduating first in his class from the advanced program at Kelly Field Lindbergh held a second lieutenant's commission. You can see his graduation papers in the nearby case.
"I loved the farm... I was fascinated by the laboratory's magic ... Here began a conflict between values of instinct and intellect..."
-- Charles Lindbergh
Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born February 4, 1902, in his mother's family home in Detroit, Michigan. Charles weighed a healthy nine-and-a-half pounds. The Lindberghs lived in Little Falls, Minnesota, until 1907, when his father, Charles A. Lindbergh, won a seat in Congress. Thereafter, young Charles would spend summers at Little Falls and the school year in Washington. He loved working on the farm and tinkering with science, but detested school.
MHMLIN_081010_037.JPG: A Journey Begins:
"This is the moment I've planned for, day and night, all these months past... Everyone has done his part. Now, it's up to me."
-- Charles Lindbergh
On May 20, 1927, a damp Friday morning in Long Island, New York, Lindbergh lifted the Spirit of St. Louis into the air, barely missing trees and telephone wires at the end of his runway. Once airborne, and without a radio in the plane, his direct contact with the earth ceased.
Anxious bystanders on the ground, hungry for news of his progress, watched the sky and listened to their radios, some homemade, for reported sightings of the "young American boy." As the media rushed newsreels of his plane's takeoff to theaters, this previously unknown flyer became the subject of countless conversations and prayers. During the next two days, the world seemed to hold its breath while trying to track Lindbergh's journey.
MHMLIN_081010_041.JPG: Obtaining Financial Backing for the Flight:
Through his contacts at Robertson Aircraft, Lindbergh approached nine St. Louis businessmen who shared an interest in aviation. Prior to meeting each individual, he composed his arguments in handwritten notes, shown below. With his own $2,000 to start the fund, he was able to convince each man that his quest for the Orteig prize was not only a marvelous adventure, but would also bring notoriety to St. Louis and improve aviation worldwide.
MHMLIN_081010_055.JPG: You have done what couldnt be done all StLouis is talking
Lindbergh & nothing else your magnificent courage & keen
judgment have been splendidly rewarded heartiest
congratulation will see you in NewYork = Harold M Bixby
MHMLIN_081010_114.JPG: New Horizons:
"I still expected to devote the greater part of my life that was spent apart from my family in developing fields of aviation."
-- Charles Lindbergh
After the 48-state tour, the "Hero of the Air" embarked on a goodwill mission to Mexico and Latin America. It was on this trip that he first met Anne Morrow, the daughter of the US ambassador to Mexico. In a year and a half, they were married.
Anne became Charles' chief navigator and radio operator on their survey flights around the world and found herself in the spotlight with her husband. A normal life was difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. In the first years of their marriage, they endured the media circus surrounding the kidnapping and murder of their firstborn son. Seeking refuge from the unrelenting public scrutiny, the Lindberghs fled the country in 1935. It would be several years before they returned.
Once back in the states, Charles spoke out against US involvement in WII, charging that the president, Britain, and the Jews were pushing the country toward a war the United States could not win. These views, and his refusal to return a medal presented by the Nazis, lost Charles his heroic status in the eyes of the media and half the populace. While he regained positive recognition for his contributions to aeronautics as a civilian participant during the war, he would never receive the level of attention that had once haunted his family's every move.
MHMLIN_081010_124.JPG: Display area where Lindbergh tours the country
MHMLIN_081010_128.JPG: Across The Country:
"After [his] historic flight we learned that Lindbergh was flying over Wisconsin ... And as it happened he flew over our farm! My sister grabbed our old Brownie camera and took a picture -- the result being a tiny white spot in a clear blue sky -- but it was the greatest event ever for us small children..."
-- Mary Conway Groh of Newton, Wisconsin
An overnight sensation, Lindbergh used his new celebrity status to promote advances in aviation. Wanting to see passenger service become a common mode of transportation, he made a tour of all the states, then only 48, in the four months between July and October 1927.
Funded by Daniel Guggenheim, Lindbergh flew 22,350 air miles for 260 air hours visiting 75 cities and making 80 different stops. He arrived on time at every stop except one, when he was delayed by fog. With an exhausting schedule, he attended 69 banquets, paraded 1,285 miles, and spoke to an average audience of 20,000 at open-air meetings in airfields, parks, and stadiums.
An estimated 30 million people saw Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis during the tour. His message was always the same: build or improve airports so that passenger travel can begin. By the end of his tour, government officials in cities across the nation began to think seriously about air transportation.
MHMLIN_081010_166.JPG: Service Cross of the German Eagle:
"Goering was the last to arrive... When he came to me he handed me the box and papers and spoke several sentences in German... He had presented me with the Order of the German Eagle, one of the highest decorations of the government -- 'by order of der Fuhrer.' "
-- Entry in Lindbergh's Wartime Journal
The Service Cross of the German Eagle was the highest civilian medal of the German government. Lindbergh received it for his accomplishments in aviation -- particularly the 1927 transatlantic flight -- at the American Embassy in Berlin on October 18, 1938. it was presented by Field Marshall Hermann Goering on Hitler's behalf.
While Charles later would write that he had been unaware when he received the medal of the atrocities inflicted by the Nazis, Anne was immediately appalled upon seeing the medal later that evening. She reportedly called it "the albatross" and believed it would only bring him trouble.
MHMLIN_081010_167.JPG: Assessing Air Power:
By invitation of the US Military Attache to Germany, Truman Smith, Lindbergh made several trips to Germany between 1936 and 1938 to assess that country's air power.
On his first trip in 1936, Lindbergh addressed the German Air Club. He pointed out that ground troops alone were no longer enough to fight and win a war. The technology and growth of aviation made it visible as a means to do battle. After seeing the German Luftwaffe, Lindbergh surmised that the US would not survive a war against Germany, based on the [sic] his knowledge of the US military's inadequate air capabilities. Arguing that the US should stay neutral, he advocated for a military build-up rather than for entering the 'European' war.
MHMLIN_081010_173.JPG: "America First is a purely American organization formed to give voice to the 100 odd million people in our country who oppose sending our soldiers to Europe again. Our objective is to make America impregnable at home, and to keep out of these wars across the sea."
-- Charles Lindbergh, April 17, 1941
"I can also understand the wishfulness of those who oversimplify the whole situation by repeating that all we have to do is to mind our own business and keep the Nation out of war. But there is a vast difference between keeping out of war and pretending that this war is none of our business."
-- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, January 3, 1940
MHMLIN_081010_176.JPG: The Birth of Charles Jr.:
"One thing I do hope for him, and that is when he is old enough to go to school there will be no reporters dogging his footsteps."
-- Charles Lindbergh
Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr., was born to Charles and Anne on her twenty-fourth birthday, June 22, 1930. Because the Lindberghs already had been hounded by the press, they issued no birth announcement for seventeen days. Before the birth, they had worked out a code for informing Charles' mother, Evangeline. The telegram would come from "Reuben Lloyd" (a Lindbergh relative). If the baby was a boy it would read, "Advise purchasing property," and if a girl, "Advise accepting terms of contract." When Charles did call for the press, he issued a statement and photo of the baby to be published with all copyright credits to himself.
Two years later, the happy news turned to the greatest tragedy of their Lindberghs' lives when the toddle was kidnapped from their Hopewell, New Jersey, home on March 1, 1932. The press had a field day with the coverage of the kidnapping, the subsequent discovery that the baby had been murdered, and finally with the "Trial of the Century" that followed.
MHMLIN_081010_179.JPG: Lindbergh and the "America First" Movement:
America First was an isolationist movement began by several Yale University graduates who wanted to form an organization in "support of those who feel, as we do, that the policy of the US should be hemisphere defense rather than European intervention." One of the founders, R. Douglas Stuart, Jr., contacted Lindbergh after the aviator's first anti-war speech in 1939. Lindbergh spoke for the organization on October 23, 1940, after giving an address at Yale the previous night.
Over the next few months, Lindbergh gave thirteen speeches on behalf of America First, and his involvement in the organization helped to boost its membership from 300,000, early in 1941, to 800,000.
MHMLIN_081010_182.JPG: "We have been stepping closer to war for many months... our country has been attacked by force of arms, and by force of arms we must retaliate."
-- America First Committee writing on behalf of Lindbergh, December 8, 1941
Once the United States entered the war, Lindbergh was prepared to fight for his country. President Franklin Roosevelt, distrustful of Lindbergh's motives, would not allow him to re-enter the military. Lindbergh worked a time with the Ford Motor Company developing the B-24 bomber and then with United Aircraft as an engineer consultant for its Corsair fighter planes.
December 1941: 360 Japanese plans raid Pearl Harbor; Charles says "by force of arms we must retaliate."
1942: Charles serves as technical consultant alternative between aerospace medicine and B-24 design work.
MHMLIN_081010_185.JPG: "For many years, aviation had seemed to me primarily a way of bringing peoples of the world together in commerce and peace... Now I began to think about the vulnerability of men to aircraft carrying high-explosive bombs." -- Charles Lindbergh
August 1942: The Lindbergh's son, Scott, is born.
June 1944: Allied troops storm the beaches of Normandy, France. Charles flies to the South Pacific with the US Navy as a technical representative
MHMLIN_081010_188.JPG: Lindbergh's Entry Into World War II:
"Now that we are at war, I want to contribute as best I can to my country's war effort. It is vital for us to carry on this war as intelligently, as constructively, and as successfully as we can, and I want to do my part."
-- Charles Lindbergh
Eventually, Lindbergh went to the South Pacific to study the fighter plane's capability under wartime conditions. He ended up flying fifty bombing missions as a civilian pilot with the Marines in the Marshall Islands, all the while teaching pilots how to get the most mileage out of their fuel supply and thus increasing the length of their bombing missions. He also flew with the Fifth Air Force in New Guinea.
MHMLIN_081010_255.JPG: "Lying under an acacia tree with the sounds of dawn around me, I realized more clearly, in fact, what man should never overlook... that airplanes depend upon advanced civilization; and that where civilization is most advanced, few birds exist.
"I realize that if I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes."
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Wikipedia Description: Missouri History Museum
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Missouri History Museum is located in St. Louis, Missouri in Forest Park. The museum is operated by the Missouri Historical Society and was founded in 1866.
The Jefferson Memorial Building, built in 1913 with profits from the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, is the current home of the museum.
In 2000, the Emerson Center, a significant building addition was completed, boosting attendance and exhibition capacity. The Emerson Center, featuring a ground-to-roof southern glass facade, was designed by Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, and included substantially more exhibition space, as well as an auditorium, classrooms, a restaurant and gift shop. The Emerson Center was selected by the American Institute of Architects's Committee on the Environment as an example of architectural design that protects and enhances the environment. It is an example of a green museum.
Collections and Exhibits:
The museum permanent collection includes both national artifacts, as well as Missouri and St. Louis related materials, such as local colonial and native artifacts, Louisiana Purchase Exhibition artifacts, and items relating to Charles Lindbergh and his trans-Atlantic flight in the "Spirit of St. Louis". A replica of the "Spirit of St. Louis" can be found in the museum. A large amount of artifacts from the Lewis and Clark Expedition are also housed in the permanent collection, as St. Louis was the starting point for that venture.
Recent travelling exhibits and events have included items related to the Fox Theatre's restoration and renovation, the Road to Freedom tour (celebrating the Americans with Disabilities Act), and, prominently, the Lewis and Clark National Bicentennial Exhibition.
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