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Sale 2517 Lot 29
(AVIATION.) Scrapbook on the fatal transatlantic attempt of the monoplane Old Glory. 73 scrapbook pages plus related material laid in. Original string-bound cloth boards, 13 1/2 x 11 inches, minor wear, stamped in gilt "Dorothy Hughes" on front board; minor wear to contents. New York, 1922-29
Estimate $300 - 400
On 6 September 1927, pilot James DeWitt Hill set off in the monoplane Old Glory, attempting the first transatlantic round-trip flight from New York to Paris. The flight was arranged to promote William Randolph Hearst's New York Daily Mirror. Accompanying the pilot were a radioman and the Mirror's editor Philip Alan Payne. Early the next morning the Old Glory sent out distress signals from east of Newfoundland, and then disappeared into the Atlantic.
This scrapbook was kept by Payne's wife Dorothy Hughes (born 1906). Most of the scrapbook documents her career from 1922 until their December 1926 marriage; she was a famed beauty who had been named Miss New York in 1922 and went on to a career in stage and film. It includes newspaper clippings, two publicity photographs, a signed letter from actress Fannie Ward, and a certificate granting her the freedom of Atlantic City, NJ in 1922.
8 scrapbook pages are devoted to Philip Payne, plus additional material laid in. Most notable is a secretarially signed letter from William Randolph Hearst to Payne dated 18 June 1927, asking Payne to arrange the fatal flight: "Byrd is not going to fly back to the United States . . . merely is going to tour Europe, and the most important aviation event that is now possible is to fly to Paris and back to New York. Can we accomplish anything of this kind?" A typescript copy of a letter from George Hearst to William Randolph Hearst dated 23 June describes the arrangements in more detail. A 4-page typescript carbon by the plane's manufacturer Anthony Fokker dated 30 August provides the navigational and engineering details. Several newspaper clippings describe the preparations for the fatal flight, and the search for the missing crew. Laid into the rear of the volume is a large 13 1/2 x 10 1/2-inch photograph of Payne, inscribed ten weeks before his death: "To my own darling wife Dorothy, with my eternal love & devotion, Phil."