Offered here is the unique and exceptional John McHale Collection of Aviation Pioneers. Spanning from the 1920s to the 1940s, this enormous and colorful collection contains over 1200 commemorative covers, many of which are flight-flown, with most signed by a who’s who of early aviation, not only of flight firsts, but record holders, designers, the famed ‘Early Birds of Aviation,’ and covers celebrating various airport commemorations. (It should be noted that in many cases the same pioneer has signed multiple covers). Many of the covers also contain related letters or newspaper clippings about the particular event or achievement. Each cover has been meticulously preserved and notated by McHale in type, with the collector adding his stamp and thumbprint on the reverse of most of the covers, and highlighting the fronts of some of the covers with original and amusing ink sketches.
Just a small sampling of “firsts” included in the cover collection include: the world’s first aviation pupil (Walter R. Brookins), the Wright brothers first passenger, first world’s record distance flight record holder, America’s first glider pilot, A. L. Laud, first woman to fly around the world, world’s first air mail pilot, first round trip across the Atlantic, first to fly ‘blind’ (on instruments only), first aviator to detect a crime from an airplane, first endurance record holder, first Canadian to fly, world’s first transatlantic passanger, first person to fly a plane by night, world’s first air mail pilot, the first Cuban to fly, America’s first woman transport pilot, first ‘loop the loop’ pilot, first Englishman to fly, first aerial chief of police, first to be awarded air mail pilots medal of honor, first to land a plane inside an active volcano, the world’s first airplane salesman, first airline hostess, first aerial physician, first woman to own and operate an airport, first world distance record holder, the mother of the first child born on an airplane, and others.
Pioneers include: Roy Francis, C. deF. Chandler, Russell Holderman, W. R. Kimball, Tex LaFrance, Claude Grahame-White, Al Williams, Albert Morris, Roy, Knabenshue, Bud Morriss, Amy Mollison, A. J. Hartsman, Harry Crawford, Harry Atwood, George Beatty, Alys McKey Bryant, Harvey Crawford, Viola Genrty, Ernest Jones, John D. Cooper, R. S. Moore, Frank Courtney, Edna Christofferson, Cy Cadwell, A. L. Laud, Cyrus Farmer, Bobbie Trout, Otto Timm, Frank Coffyn, Roy C. Kirtland, Glenn L. Martin, John Frosh, and others.
Inventors and Designers include: E. R. Armstrong (ocean airport), Floyd Smith (Floyd Smith safety chute), J. M. Russell (Russell Lobe parachute), Henry Walden (first monoplane), Fritz von Opel (rocket plane), Waldo Waterman (first tailless airplane), Carl Lidquist (Lindquist Air Ship Sea beacon), James Martin (Martin sea plane), Lloyd Stearman (Stearman plane), Harold Pitcairn (Autogyro), Tom Towle (Towle flying boat), J. R. Wedell (Wedell–Williams racing planes), and others.
The Early Birds of Aviation wass an organization devoted to the history of early pilots. The organization was started in 1928 and ultimately accepted a membership of 598. Membership was limited to those who piloted a glider, gas balloon, or airplane, prior to December 17, 1916. The cutoff date was set at December 17 to correspond to the first flights of Wilbur and Orville Wright, and the year 1916 was chosen because large numbers of Americans were trained in 1917 as pilots for World War I. Much of the historic data on pioneer aviation would have been lost had it not been for this Society which had its origin at the Air Races in Chicago in 1928. They also resolved to exert all possible pressure for the return of the original Wright aiplane to the United States from England, where Orville Wright had allowed it to be shipped after a misunderstanding with the Smithsonian Institute about the wording on a plaque placed there in memory of Samuel Langley. The original organization dissolved once the last living member had died; this occurred with the death of 99-year-old Early Bird George Debaun Grundy, Jr. on May 19, 1998. Signers included here are: Harry N. Atwood, Edward Armstrong, Frederick Baldwin, Roy Francis, John Frost, Frank Goodale, Earl Ovington, Alys Bryant, Arthur Hartman, Charles deForest Chandler, Frank Coffyn, A. P. Warner, Charles Hathorn, William A. Denehie, Ralph Barnaby, Emil Laird, Horace B. Wild, John Cooper, Frank Courtney, Harvey Crawford, Wilbur Kimball, Albert Lambert, Glenn Martin, John McCurdy, Robert Moore, Fred Wiseman, P. G. B. Morris, Robert S. Moore, Marjorie Stinson, and others.
Another portion of the collection includes covers issued in honor of various airport openings, with many signed by various politicians and postmasters of the city or state where the airport event occurred. The collection is also accompanied by a large assemblage of newspaper clippings, captions, and unsigned vintage photographs. Due to the vast nature of the collection, interested bidders are encouraged to make an appointment to view this archive in-person at our office.
In very good overall condition. One cannot overstate the scope and size of this one-of-a-kind collection. Vast in both size and scarcity, appealing not only to aviation enthusiasts, but philatelic collectors as well. A grouping like this, unique in every sense, would certainly be impossible to put together today! RRAuction COA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.