The year 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the “Escadrille Américaine” or the Lafayette Escadrille. Created on December 6, 1916, the Escadrille (or “squadron”) holds a unique place both in the history of World War I (1914-1918) and in the history of aviation overall. Most notably, the Escadrille was composed of American volunteers who chose to fight for France years before the United States’ official entry into the Great War, in April more »
This March, in honor of Women’s History Month we’re highlighting notable women who are represented in our collections. Sophie Blanchard was the first professional female aeronaut in history. Born March 25, 1778 near La Rochelle, France, Sophie was initiated into ballooning by her husband Jean-Pierre-François Blanchard, himself a pioneer in ballooning. Jean-Pierre along with his co-aeronaut Dr. John Jeffries, were the first to cross the English Channel by balloon in 1785.
“Present day navigators are apt to place so much reliance on mechanical and tabular aids that we sometimes forget that primitive peoples were able to voyage over a large part of the world without any such devices. A study of these primitive methods shows that there are many valuable aids we have neglected or forgotten, and that a continued reliance on mechanical aids places us in a very helpless position when deprived more »
Charles Lindbergh, born on February 4th, 1902, made history in his aviation career as the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic. “Lucky Lindy” soon became an American icon – flying his Spirit of St. Louis to all fifty states to promote air travel and advising airlines. The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Library is the proud home to many unique items that represent Lindbergh’s legacy, both in aviation and more »
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