A collection of letters and documents assembled by Tissandier regarding his ascent and crash in the Zénith on 16 April 1875, the first great aviation disaster. Two 8vo volumes of letters and documents collected by Tissandier and specially bound for him in half-brown morocco & marbled boards, spines gilt. Accompanied by a modern box containing further documents (all detailed below). Gaston TISSANDIER.
A collection of letters and documents assembled by Tissandier regarding his ascent and crash in the Zénith on 16 April 1875, the first great aviation disaster. Two 8vo volumes of letters and documents collected by Tissandier and specially bound for him in half-brown morocco & marbled boards, spines gilt. Accompanied by a modern box containing further documents (all detailed below).
A collection of letters and documents assembled by Tissandier regarding his ascent and crash in the Zénith on 16 April 1875, the first great aviation disaster. Two 8vo volumes of letters and documents collected by Tissandier and specially bound for him in half-brown morocco & marbled boards, spines gilt. Accompanied by a modern box containing further documents (all detailed below).
A collection of letters and documents assembled by Tissandier regarding his ascent and crash in the Zénith on 16 April 1875, the first great aviation disaster. Two 8vo volumes of letters and documents collected by Tissandier and specially bound for him in half-brown morocco & marbled boards, spines gilt. Accompanied by a modern box containing further documents (all detailed below).
A collection of letters and documents assembled by Tissandier regarding his ascent and crash in the Zénith on 16 April 1875, the first great aviation disaster. Two 8vo volumes of letters and documents collected by Tissandier and specially bound for him in half-brown morocco & marbled boards, spines gilt. Accompanied by a modern box containing further documents (all detailed below).

The Original Documents Assembled by Gaston Tissandier

Regarding the First Great Aviation Disaster

A collection of letters and documents assembled by Tissandier regarding his ascent and crash in the Zénith on 16 April 1875, the first great aviation disaster. Two 8vo volumes of letters and documents collected by Tissandier and specially bound for him in half-brown morocco & marbled boards, spines gilt. Accompanied by a modern box containing further documents (all detailed below).

France: 1875.

On the 23rd and 24th of March 1875, Gaston and Albert Tissandier made the longest trip ever in a balloon — aboard the Zénith, flying from Paris to near Bordeaux, a distance of over 600 km. Following that achievement, Gaston decided, along with fellow experienced aviators, Joseph Crocé-Spinelli and Théodore Sivel, to make another flight, this time with the goal to reach an extreme altitude in order to study the problem of respiration in thin air and meteorological phenomena. This flight, on the 15th of April 1875 aboard the Zénith, was the first great aviation disaster. The three reached an altitude of 8600 meters but Crocé-Spinelli and Sivel died of asphyxiation. After making a crash landing, Tissandier discovered he had become partially deaf.

Gaston Tissandier was a fine book and autograph collector and he was determined to save everything relating to his Zénith ascensions. The two volumes here were bound for him and he saved further materials which have been kept in loose wrappers.

The first volume, titled on the spine in gilt “Catastrophe du Zénith. Correspondance 1875” contains about 100 letters, telegrams, and documents regarding the disastrous ascension, written to and by Gaston immediately before and after the event, and are beautifully bound in on stubs. The first documents are from the Société Française de Navigation aérienne announcing the flights of the 23rd of March and the 15th of April. Following is a list of supplies to be carried aloft — oxygen, pigeons, thermometers, along with other items — written by Crocé-Spinelli two days before the flight. Also bound in is a brief letter from Gaston to his brothers Albert and Alfred immediately after his crash landing, followed by a letter to Alfred from Albert with the good news that Gaston had survived. Gaston has added “Je t’embrasse de tout coeur…” Following this are a series of warm and emotional letters from his family, scientists, colleagues from the Parisian publishing world, etc. Some of the letters are from James Glaisher (who had ascended to 37,000 feet in 1862), Leverrier, Paul Bert, Quatrefages, Jourdanet, Fraissinet, Flammarion, etc. Also bound in are announcements to raise funds for the families of the two victims.

The second volume — titled on the spine “Catastrophe du Zénith. Lettres reçu par ma Mére 1875“ — contains about thirty letters, for the most part from members of the Tissandier family written immediately after the crash, giving news or sympathy to Madame Tissandier. Most important is the six-page manuscript in the hand of Gaston, addressed to the president of the Société Française de Navigation aérienne and dated 16 April, describing the events of the ascent. This is a detailed description, written immediately after the event. Also bound in are about forty calling cards from visitors, presented immediately after the crash landing.

The modern box contains many interesting items. The first is a piece of the actual balloon, manufactured of thick canvas (245 x 245 mm.). Also, there is a folder with the manuscript title “Documents relatifs au Zénith. Mémoire de Crocé-Spinelli” which contains the autograph manuscript by Gaston announcing the success of his flight of 23-24 March (3 pp., folio), addressed to the president of the Société Française de Navigation aérienne; the autograph manuscript (6 pp., folio) by Crocé-Spinelli describing the same flight, heavily reworked in the hand of Gaston; a photograph of the “launching pad” for the balloon, probably at La Villette; a four-page folio manuscript biography of Crocé-Spinelli; and a one-page list by Tissandier of the items to be carried on his flight in March with prices.

This is accompanied by another folder with the manuscript title “La Catastrophe du Zénith. Correspondance — Pieces de vers.” A great many ephemeral pieces are present relating to fund-raising efforts for the families of Crocé-Spinelli and Sivel; printed poems about the disaster (this event seems have inspired many with poetical tendencies), a list of supplies and their costs for their March ascension, and further correspondence from and to Gaston Tissandier and his brothers.

This is a rich collection, which has remained unstudied since being assembled in 1875.

Price: $12,500.00

Item ID: 5157

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