Lot 6004: Orville Wright Signed Document

RR Auction

RR Auction

2016-03-22 10:16:55

Lot 6004

DS, four pages, 8 x 13, 1928. A Deed of Gift for the L. S. Thompson Speed Trophy, in part: “Before and immediately following the entry in 1917 of the United States of America in the World War, and preliminary to becoming naval aviators Donors received aviation and naval training at West Palm Beach, Florida, and at Huntington, New York; and during such training became intimately associated with their friend Lewis S Thompson of Red Bank, New Jersey, who...greatly facilitated said training and immeasurably contributed to whatever success Donors achieved in the performance of their duties, singly and as a group, in the service of their country; and Donors desire to express in some appropriate and lasting manner their deep and abiding affection for and gratitude to said Lewis S. Thompson...Now therefore, Donors hereby give to Donee the trophy known as ‘The L. S. Thompson Speed Trophy together with 5 miniature replicas thereof subject to the following terms and conditions: FIRST: Said trophy and said replicas shall be designated ‘The L. S. Thompson Speed Trophy’ by proper engraving thereon and by proper cataloguing or other method appropriate...SECOND: Donee shall hold the trophy so long as this Deed of GW shall not be revoked as herein provided. THIRD: Said trophy and said replicas shall, from time to time, be awarded as herein provided for breaking the World’s maximum speedy record for aeroplanes, which record shall, for the purposes hereof be deemed to be the higher, at any time and from time to time, of the two records now recognized by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale as ‘Plus Grande Vitesse Sur Base,’ for airplanes and seaplanes respectively...FOURTH: When said record shall be broken by any pilot, Donee shall award said trophy: Q’ such pilot represent an aero club, chapter, association and/or organization affiliated with or recognized by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, its successor and/or successors, to such aero club, chapter, association and/or organization.” Signed on the final page by Orville Wright as Chairman of the Contest Committee, and also signed by 33 others including “Geo Lewis” as the Chairman of the Executive Committee, “CF Schory” as the Secretary of the Contest Committee and “Porter IL Adams” as the President of the National Aeronautic Association. It is then signed by thirty donors, including the Assistant Secretary of War for Aeronautics “F. Trubee Davison,” his successor “Robert A. Lovett,” Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Aeronautics; “D. S. Ingalls,” his successor “Artemus L. Gates,” financier William A. Rockefeller, and Wings Club president Caleb S. Bragg. Document is housed in its original legal folder. In fine condition, with some mild toning to pages, a bit heavier to final page. Accompanied by two 1928 letters from Lovett to C. F. Schory of the NAA in Washington, the first sending a copy of this deed of gift along with a design for the trophy (not present), the second suggests changing the deed so it is not restricted to land planes.

On the 25th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ flight, Orville encouraged future aviation innovation by chairing the contest committee of the Thompson Trophy. Named after Lewis S. Thompson, a wealthy backer, the Thompson Trophy became one of the most coveted aviation awards during the heyday of airplane racing in the 1930s. Over the thirty-year history of the storied competition, many famous aviators and planes competed for the prize, with the winning speeds starting at 201 mph in 1930 and ending at 1,302 mph in 1961. An important document in aviation history signed by Orville Wright, without whom such a contest would not have been possible.

Estimate: $1000-1500

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