[LINDBERGH, CHARLES. 1902-1974.]
"I NEVER USED THE TERM 'WE' TO REFER TO THE 'SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS' AND MYSELF."
Typed Letter Signed ("Charles A. Lindbergh"), 3 pp, 4to, Darien, CT, April 7, 1968, to Everett Cassagneres, one ink amendment, fine.
Lindbergh on who "We" refers to, and discussing the Spirit of St. Louis. Writing to the pre-eminent Spirit of St. Louis and Ryan historian Ev Cassagneres, Lindbergh for the first time debunks the myth surrounding the title of his book: "I never used the term "We" to refer to the Spirit of St. Louis and myself. This was a newspaper concoction or misconception. I used "We" to refer to the men, including myself, who were members of the Spirit of St. Louis organization by which the purchase of the plane and the costs of the flight to Paris were financed." He corrects other details in an article in the San Diego Union: "The Spirit of St. Louis was much more than a modified Ryan Brougham. The fuselage, wings, landing gear, etc. were redesigned, but as many parts of the M-2 as practicable were used... [Donald] Hall originally wanted to design larger tail surfaces for the Spirit of St. Louis, in order to obtain better stability; but time was lacking, and I was not much concerned about stability for the New York-Paris flight. Most of the planes I had flown up to that time were unstable."
Lindbergh goes on to discuss the Ryan B-1X, the custom-built 'Lindbergh Special' lent to him for travel around the US during April-October 1928 by Benjamin Franklin Mahoney, owner of Ryan Airlines. The letter also includes an amusing anecdote about a flight over the Grand Canyon during which one of Lindbergh's passengers had to lean out of the cabin to remove cotter-pins securing the parachute flares.
Provenance: Ev Cassagneres, author of The Untold Story of the Spirit of St. Louis and friend of Charles and Anne Lindbergh during the last five years of Charles's life.