Lindbergh Photo Album in Haiti on good-will with the Spirit of St. Louis

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19. [AVIATION]. [LINDBERGH, CHARLES & HAITI]. Two photo albums, one concerning Lindbergh’s 1928 good-will visit to Haiti, one showing scenes around Haiti, and fifty seven related loose photographs of Haitian or military interest.

[1] Album with 20 leaves of heavy-weight black paper with 32 mounted silver print photographs showing aspects of Lindbergh’s 1928 Haiti visit and other subjects of Haitian or Caribbean interest. [Haiti, 1928]. 4to (24 x 20.5 cm), contemporary black quarter cloth over black pebble cloth, spine sewn with original cord. Except for minor scuffing, in very good condition, the photographs excellent and well focused. One photo is 16.8 x 21.7 cm. Seven photos are 13 x 18 cm. Twenty two are 8.5 x 13.7 cm. Two are 5.6 x 8 cm. Four of the photos are professional, taken by DuPlessy of Port-au-Prince; other professional shots include twelve by Doret & Daniel, one by the Tribune de Champ de Mars, and one by Harket of Port-au-Prince. The others appear to be amateur candids. All are identified on the album pages in contemporary white ink by the person who assembled the album.

The photos featuring Lindbergh are:

1) Lindbergh in the back of a convertible with dignitaries. Signed in black ink at upper right in image: “To Observation Squadron 9th | Port au Prince Haiti | Sincerely | Charles R. Lindbergh | Feb 2, 1928.” (Large photo: 16.8 x 21.7 cm).

2) “Lindbergh arriving in Haiti,” showing the airfield with the Spirit of St, Louis on the runway in the background and spectators in the foreground.

3) “Lindbergh greeted by Genl. Russell U.S.M.C,” showing Lindbergh and various officials in front of his plane.

4) “Lindbergh flying over Port au Prince Haiti 1928,” showing a float bi-plane in the air over the harbor.

5) “U.S. Marines meeting the plane as it motored in place on field,” showing three-quarter view of Lindbergh’s plane, propeller spinning, with several people nearby. (In duplicate.)

6) “Reception committee on field as ship arrived,” showing plane being faced by civilian dignitaries and color guard, flags flying. (In duplicate.)

7) “Lindbergh being greeted by President Borno and wife at field headquarters,” showing Lindbergh greeting the President’s wife.

8) “Genl Russell and Lindbergh in background Mrs. Louis Borno, President Borno,” showing the aviator in the back row with the President and his wife in front.

9) “Mrs. Russell, Genl Russell, and Lindbergh, reviewing the Haitian army at reviewing stand at the Champ de Mars 1928,” showing the three from an unusual angle.

10) “Lindbergh arriving at the Palace for large reception which we all attended,” showing Lindbergh stepping from a car with military band and palace in the background.

11) “Lindbergh at the Palace with the Cabinet officers of Haiti,” showing, in two different views, the parties seated in a semi-circle with Lindbergh at the center.

12) “Leaving the Palace after reception,” showing, in two different views, Lindbergh walking down the steps and then about to get into a car.

13) “Reviewing parade,” showing in two different views Lindbergh, civilian dignitaries, and military officers standing in front on the palace. One view shows a newsreel camera off to the side.

14) “Col. Evans U.S.M.C. and Lindbergh watching Polo,” showing the two gazing into the distance.

The other views show scenes around Haiti (Presidential Palace, Port-au-Prince harbor, “La Citadelle”) and naval scenes (USS Kittery at sea, a stranded USS Memphis, the ship that brought Lindbergh and his plane back from Europe after his famous flight, etc.).

2] The second album is contemporary black cloth stamped Photographs in gilt on upper cover, spine held with original cord. [Haiti, 1925-1928]. Oblong 4to (18.8 x 29 cm), with 49 leaves of heavy black paper. Except for minor edge wear, in very good condition, the photographs excellent and well focused. Consists of 114 mounted amateur candids (most 8.5 x 14.5 cm), and one small panorama of Port-au-Prince. Nine are in color. Various scenes in Port au Prince and the surrounding countryside, including market scenes, citizens at various activities, Mardi Gras, La Citadelle, Dessalines’ tomb, and domestic views of the maker’s house, pets, etc. All are identified on the album pages in contemporary white ink by the person who assembled the album (same person as above album).

3] Twenty loose black and white candid photos of scenes in Haiti, most 8.7 x 14.5 cm and almost all identified in the same hand on the verso. Haiti, 1926-1927. Shown are rural scenes, citizens engaged in various activities such as washing clothes, houses, other structures, family members, a horse race in front of the Presidential Palace, and U.S. soldiers trooping the colors in front of the Palace.

4] Thirty-seven professional black and white photos (including four duplicates), all 8.5 x 13.7 cm and printed on post card backs, showing U.S. Army maneuvers and exercises in the Plattsburg, New York, area, where the Army apparently had a training camp. Although only a few are labelled, they all seem to have been taken by Thompson Photo Company, ca. 1925. Almost all are labelled and numbered in white ink in the image. Among scenes shown are cavalry mounting up, massed troops in formation, wagon trains, mess lines, bivouacs, individual soldiers and groups of soldiers (all in full gear), and rifle and artillery firing exercises. In one photo, a photographer with his camera may be seen. These photos were apparently all collected by a family member involved in the maneuvers since one of them (No. 90, “Military Instruction Camp, Plattsburgh, NY”) has an X over a certain tent in a barely visible pencil mark in the image. One is a grim joke photo entitled “War’s Grim Harvest” showing soldiers playing dead. Many of the views involve an otherwise unidentified Company H.

Lindbergh, after his historic trans-Atlantic flight, flew The Spirit of Saint Louis on a good will and demonstration trip in 1927-1928, covering, inter alia, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Columbia, and several Caribbean countries. On February 6, 1928, Lindbergh left Santo Domingo and flew to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, from which he departed on February 8 for Havana, Cuba, and thence back to Saint Louis on February 13. In April of that year, The Spirit of St. Louis was donated to the Smithsonian. At the time of Lindbergh’s visit, Haiti was still occupied by U.S. forces under the command of American High Commissioner General John H. Russell, Jr., who enjoyed the cooperation of President Louis Borno (May, 1922-May, 1930). The present albums are, therefore, important, heretofore unknown documentation of Lindbergh’s last extended flight in his plane and of the people and mores of occupied Haiti. Most of the material in both albums is unpublished, so far as we have been able to discover.

Provenance: The albums and the loose photos are descended in the family of the consignor from his great-great-grandmother, Leila Bourne Pearson, who accumulated the images on her various trips to Haiti, 1925-1928, to visit her son, who was in the U.S. military and stationed at Port-au-Prince. She is believed to have taken almost all the amateur views in the Haiti collections. Copyright in those amateur views passes to the purchaser of this lot.


Auction 23 Abstracts

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