An Important, Unpublished Archive From the Golden Age of Aviation, Including the Original Entry Form For Amelia Earhart’s Final Race and the First in Her Newly Built Lockheed: Those for Other Icons of American Aviation of the Era

Offered for sale for the first time: includes the only document we have found of Earhart listing and describing her ill-fated Lockheed Electra, in which she crashed, having reached the market, a plane she raced for the first time in this very race

Purchase $75,000

The 1936 National Air Races Original Entry Forms: Earhart and the other great aviators of the era sign and list the specs of theirs planes and motors, their aviation information, and other details

 

This would be the first race in which women were allowed to compete in all races; Louise Thaden...

Read More

An Important, Unpublished Archive From the Golden Age of Aviation, Including the Original Entry Form For Amelia Earhart’s Final Race and the First in Her Newly Built Lockheed: Those for Other Icons of American Aviation of the Era

Offered for sale for the first time: includes the only document we have found of Earhart listing and describing her ill-fated Lockheed Electra, in which she crashed, having reached the market, a plane she raced for the first time in this very race

The 1936 National Air Races Original Entry Forms: Earhart and the other great aviators of the era sign and list the specs of theirs planes and motors, their aviation information, and other details

 

This would be the first race in which women were allowed to compete in all races; Louise Thaden won the Bendix race and her form and entry letter are present

 

Women dominated the races for the first time, and the forms are filled out and signed by Earhart, Jacqueline Cochran, Louise Thaden, Laura Ingalls, Grace Prescott and Helen MacCloskey

 

Also by top men pilots Roscoe Turner, Ben Howard, Rudy (Speed King) Kling, and Harold Neumann

The National Air Races were a series of speed and cross-country races that started in 1920. The science of aviation, and the speed and reliability of aircraft and engines, grew rapidly in the ensuing 19 years, and the National Air Races were both a proving ground and showcase for this. By the 1930s the National Air Races had grown into the nation’s outstanding aeronautical event. They drew the best flyers of the time, and for America’s air racers nothing on earth could compare with the it. The races included a variety of contests, including cross-country races, landing contests, glider demonstrations, airship flights, and parachute-jumping contests. The more popular events were the Thompson Trophy Race, a closed-course race where aviators raced their planes around pylons, and starting in 1931 the Bendix Trophy Race across most of the USA. During the 1930’s additional events were added to the National Air Races. The Shell Trophy was a speed dash. In 1934 the Greve Trophy was added for smaller planes, and in 1935 there was the Ruth Chatterton Air Sportsman Pilot Trophy Race, which was a test of precision flying.

But women were not readily welcomed into the men’s events. In 1929, the National Air Races included the Women’s Air Derby (nicknamed the “Powder Puff Derby”), in which Amelia Earhart was bested by Louise Thaden. That same year, the Ninety-Nines Women’s Aviation Organization was founded by Earhart and Jacqueline Cochran to promote women in aviation, literally under the wing of an airplane at the race. In the early 1930s women continued to be excluded from the National Air Races, except in the separate women’s events. Chief among these events were the Aerol Trophy, the closed-course, free-for-all race that served as the women’s equivalent of the Thompson Trophy, and the Amelia Earhart Trophy, a special handicap race for women pilots. Pressure to allow women to compete in some of the men’s events grew. In 1932, women were permitted to compete with men in all the air-racing events except the Thompson Trophy. But women’s events were dropped altogether from the 1934 National Air Races, and in 1935 were limited to separate all-women’s events that were restricted to stock, commercially licensed aircraft with an airspeed of less than 150 mph. Notable women pilots, including Amelia Earhart, opposed the restrictions, and they scored a complete victory when for the epochal 1936 races women were permitted to participate in all the men’s events. And they did it in style.

The National Air 1936 Races site was Los Angeles. There were unexpected incidents in these races that served to emphasize that race flying was a distinctly hazardous occupation. With the races at Los Angeles the Bendix was started at Floyd Bennett Field, New York. The starting line-up included an impressive list of aircraft-pilot combinations. Benny Howard who won the 1935 Bendix was back, this time with wife Maxine as co-pilot. Joe Jacobson entered a Northrop Gamma, Amelia Earhart her new Lockheed Electra, Louise Thaden flew a Beechcraft Staggerwing, Laura Ingalls a Lockheed Orion, and George Pomeroy was in a DC-2.

In the Bendix, women dominated as Louise Thaden won in a plane pulled off the production line so she could fly it, becoming the first woman to win the race. Laura Ingalls came in second, Earhart came in fifth, and George Pomeroy was fourth. One of the notable pilots, Roscoe Turner, crashed on the way to New York before he even got started. Earhart had an unexpected emergency when the cockpit escape hatch blew open almost sucking her and her co-pilot out. They were able to secure it with a rag till they landed at their Kansas City fuel stop where they were able to wire it closed. The open hatch caused much lost time. Pomeroy got stuck in the mud at Wichita, which slowed him down.

Benny and Maxine Howard made their scheduled stop at Wichita for food and fuel. While over Crown Point, New Mexico, the propeller shed a blade which caused the plane to crash on a Indian Reservation. Both Benny and Maxine were trapped in the cockpit. The engine had come back into the cabin and rested on Benny’s right foot and Maxine’s left foot. They were also setting in a pool of gasoline. It was hours before a young Native American boy came upon the wreckage and went for help. Benny was in bad shape and lost his right foot, but both survived. In another dangerous mishap, Joe Jacobson’s plane actually exploded. He found himself in mid-air, and instinctively pulled the ripcord and landed without serious injury.

In the Greve Trophy, Americans took places 2, 3, 4 and 5, with the finishers being Harold Neumann, Art Chester, Rudy King, and Joe Jacobson in a different plane. Neumann had won the Greve and Thompson Trophy Races in 1935. Betty Browning won the Earhart Trophy. In the Shell Trophy race, the top three finishers were Harold Neumann, Art Chester, and Joe Jacobson. In the Thompson Trophy, Frenchman Michel Detroyat was the winner, making this the first and only year that a foreign aircraft and pilot were entered in the Thompson Trophy Race. Harry Crosby had been doing well in the race when his oil breather pipe broke and oil covered the windshield. Harry had to settle for 6th.

The 1936 National Air Races ending in Los Angeles, September 4 – 7; The Original Air Race Entry Forms

The application forms to participate in the races were 6 pages, 4 of which were filled with printed information, rules and regulations, and the like. The pilots (and in a few cases just the planes owners) filled out the remaining 2 pages, in the first of these writing in information about their planes, engines, propellors, and servicing. On the second of these pages the pilots gave their names and addresses, licensing information, and some more about their planes. This then was signed by the pilots and notarized. With pilots entering their names at the top of the page and signing in the midst of it, most of these applications are in fact signed twice.

This, then, is the iconic 1936 National Air Races, and with women broadly eligible for the first time, likely the most important ever flown. This collection consists of 64 filled out forms, which constitute a significant majority of the total number of people that entered. To our knowledge, the other applications no longer exist. Included is the official 55-page program for the Races, with its iconic aviator on the cover.

Major Air Race applications from the Golden Age of flight are great rarities. The location of many is unknown (as this had been), and they are presumed to be lost. This has occurred both because of the ravishes of time (the 1939 races were the last of this genre and are generally considered to have signaled the end of the Golden Age of aviation), and that many of the entities that sponsored the races no longer exist and their papers have been scattered. We have never before seen an air race application signed by a great pilot of the era on the market. The importance of these lies in the fact that they are not simply souvenirs, like signed photographs, nor letters on one topic or the other. They are the very instrumentalities of the aviator’s craft and fame, and are in a real sense treasures.

The Principle Pilots:
1. Amelia Earhart – Her air race application, filled in in her hand and signed twice. A unique memento of the Golden Age of flight.
2. Jacqueline Cochran (2) – One of history’s most accomplished female aviators. She was the first woman to fly in the Bendix Trophy Race, which she won in 1938; the first woman to make a blind instrument landing (1937); and set new women’s records during 1939-40 in altitude and open class speed.
3. Louise Thaden – Winner of the 1936 Bendix Trophy, the first woman to do so, thereby becoming the first woman to win a national air race. She also won the women’s continental air derby, was the fourth woman transport pilot, and with Earhart was the co-founder of the 99s. There is in addition an ALS sending her information and asking for a list of entrants.
4. Katherine Cheung – Chinese aviator, received one of the first private licenses issued to a Chinese woman; she was the first Chinese woman to obtain an international flying license.
5. Laura Ingalls – Won the Harmon Trophy in 1934. She made the first flight over the Andes by an American woman, the first solo flight around South America in a landplane, and the first flight by a woman from North America to South America; she also set a woman’s distance record of 17,000 miles.
6. Peggy Salaman – British aviator who set a record flying from London to Cape Town.
7. Grace Prescott – Won the Ruth Chatterton Derby, member of the 99s.
8. Helen MacCloskey – Pioneer member of the 99s, one of the first women fliers to win a transport pilot’s license. She set a number of national and world records for speed and altitude flying. Named a Pioneer of Aeronautics by the National Aviation Club.
9. Roscoe Turner – Record-breaking aviator who was a three-time winner of the Thompson Trophy.
10. Rudy (Speed King) Kling – In 1937, he broke speed records across the country while winning three major competitions: the Thompson, the Henderson and the Greve trophy races. He was killed in a plane crash in December 1937.
11. Harold Neumann – Winner of the 1936 Shell Trophy; also signed by Clayton Folkerts who made his plane.
12. Ben Howard (2) – Won the 1935 Bendix and Thompson Trophies. Placed 3rd in the 1936 Shell Race.
13. Anthony LeVier – This was his first race. He later won the 1938 Greve Trophy Race and 1938 Pacific International Air Race. One of greatest test pilots ever, tested one of the first jet aircraft and went on to pilot 53 different experimental planes.
14. Martie Bowman – Member of the 99s
15. Cecile Hamilton – Executive secretary of the 99s, later Managing Editor of Flying Magazine.

Other Notable Pilots:

George C. Pomeroy – He finished 4th in the 1936 Bendix race, was later a noted daredevil pilot.
Leland Hayward (2) – Producer and aviator, did the original Broadway stage productions of South Pacific and The Sound of Music.
Jerry Fairbanks – Aviator, producer and director in the Hollywood motion picture and television industry. Gave James Dean his start in film.
George Armistead – Air racer, World War II test pilot. With an ALS.
Art Chester – Barnstormer, stunt pilot, killed in 1949 air race. He finished in the money in two races in 1936.
Edith Clark – French aviator, stunt flyer, and parachutist, she died in a parachuting accident in 1937.
Joe Jacobson (2) – Survived two crashes in these races, finished fifth in the Greve Trophy race.
Earl Ricks – Aviator, he became an Air Force Major General in World War II.
Howard H. Greene – Aviator, killed in 1938 plane crash.
Bruce A. Gimbel – President of Gimbel’s department stores, aviator.
Harry Crosby – He placed 6th in the Thompson race, was later lead navigator for the 100th Bomb Group, Eighth Air Force in World War II.
H. W. Marcoux (Earl Ortman as pilot) – The plane finished second in the 1936 Thompson Trophy race.
Ernest Schoedsack (Marion McKeen as pilot) – She placed in top 10 in a number of races.
Dave Elmendorf – He finished 3rd in speed dash.
Floyd Hendrickson – He ran the contracts department for Metro Goldwyn Mayer Corporation in its glory years; with TLS.
Grace Anderson – Aviator, she was killed in an air crash in 1940. There is also an application signed by her husband Arthur Anderson.
Eddie Allenbaugh – He was a noted aircraft designer.
Steve Wittman (2) – Air-racer and aircraft designer and builder.

There are other entry forms signed by:
Adrienne Clark
Jim Long (James N. Long)
Marjorie Jane Gage
Benjamin King
John B. Quinn
Frank Allen (2) (Henry Douglas as pilot)
Leon A. Atwood (Lee Miles as pilot)
Byron Armstrong (Chester McArther as pilot)
Max Marshall
Crusader Oil Corp (William Gabriele or Gabriele and William Warner as pilots)
Clyde Crabtree
William Buchanan
Frank Spreckels
George Arents 3d
T.W. Warner Jr.
W. S. Woodson
William Sheehy
Bert Galbraith (2)
Roger Crawford
James Sammon
Anson Lisk Jr.
W. J Viau
John R. Todd
John P. Gaty
Dr. L. O. Wilkerson
Glenn Brink

Purchase Now $75,000

Frame, Display, Preserve

Each frame is custom constructed, using only proper museum archival materials. This includes:The finest frames, tailored to match the document you have chosen. These can period style, antiqued, gilded, wood, etc. Fabric mats, including silk and satin, as well as museum mat board with hand painted bevels. Attachment of the document to the matting to ensure its protection. This "hinging" is done according to archival standards. Protective "glass," or Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing, which is shatter resistant, 99% UV protective, and anti-reflective. You benefit from our decades of experience in designing and creating beautiful, compelling, and protective framed historical documents.

Learn more about our Framing Services