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Lot 87: 1936 Charles Lindbergh Letter Signed About Donation of Little Falls Homestead
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
October 26, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: “Frankly I am a little worried about some of the rather elaborate plans for the improvement of the property” ********** LINDBERGH, CHARLES A. (1902-1974). American aviator who made the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight. TLS. (“Charles A. Lindbergh”). 1½ pp. 4to. Weald, September 21, 1936. On Long Barn stationery. To MARTIN ENGSTROM (?-?), his hometown friend and superintendent of the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site. ********** “I have delayed answering your letter of August 10th, because I have been away from England most of the time recently, and have had very little opportunity to write. I am very much interested in what you write about the white pine seedlings, and of plans for replanting the valley. I am in favour of planting trees on the farm wherever it is practical to do so. Frankly I am a little worried about some of the rather elaborate plans for the improvement of the property, which I understand are being considered. I believe it is desirable to keep everything very simple, and to avoid the errors of too great complication and decoration, which are so frequently found superimposed on places where the attraction should really lie in their inherent natural beauty. Whenever you have time to write I would be more than glad to hear from you, and also about any information which you can send concerning plans for the old farm…”********** In 1931, the Lindbergh family donated their Little Falls family home (situated on the west bank of the Mississippi River) to the state of Minnesota. The intention was to establish a park in memory of Charles’ father, Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr. a Swedish immigrant, lawyer and Minnesota congressman whose accomplishments were overshadowed by those of his son. ********** After becoming fascinated with aviation at a young age, Lindbergh earned instant celebrity when he completed the first solo nonstop flight from New York to Paris in 1927. Unfortunately, because of his fame, Lindbergh’s son was the target of a kidnapping and murder in 1932. The resulting “trial of the century” and unrelenting publicity drove Lindbergh and his family to consider leaving the U.S., and in December 1935, they secretly sailed to England. After a short stay with relatives, the Lindberghs rented Long Barn from its owners, English author Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson, whence he wrote our letter. There, the family was well received by the local villagers who remember Lindbergh’s second son Jon kept under constant surveillance by a bodyguard. They stayed in Kent for three years before living briefly on a French island, Illiec, and returning to the United States in 1939. ********** Our letter regarding plans for the donated family property is written to Little Falls, Minnesota native Martin Engstrom who owned “the hardware store and soft-drink parlor which Charles Lindbergh had patronized as a boy,” and, later, became the superintendent of the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site, overseeing the restoration, (Lindbergh: A Biography, Mosley). ********** Folded with some light creasing. In very good condition. Accompanied by the original envelope with “S.S. Normandie” typed above the postmark.