CHARLES A. LINDBERGH - DOCUMENT DOUBLE SIGNED 12/29/1931 CO-SIGNED BY: GOVERNOR HAROLD HOFFMAN - HFSID 304152
Sale Price $3,825.00
CHARLES A. LINDBERGH
Lindbergh's driver's license application signed by him twice and notarized, only three months before the kidnapping of his infant son. In the year after the kidnapping, with the baby found dead but no suspect yet apprehended, the New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commissioner (and future Governor) Harold Hoffman sent this application to a radio station which was closely following the case. Hoffman, later unmasked as a criminal himself, meddled extensively in the kidnapping case.
Document signed twice: "C. A. Lindbergh", 2 pages (front and verso), 3¾x5. Mercer County, New Jersey, 1931 December 29. New Jersey Automobile Driver's Renewal Application, filled out by Lindbergh himself, giving his address (Hopewell, New Jersey) and physical description. He gives New York City as his place of (self) employment, and attests that he has never had his license revoked or suspended, nor had he been refused a license. Signed and attested as truthful by Lindbergh on verso and notarized by "Edward R. Whitehead". Light vertical crease at center (not affecting signatures). Signatures slightly smudged (still legible). Lightly worn at edges. Otherwise, fine condition. Accompanied by 1 page Typed Letter signed: "Harold G. Hoffman" as Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. Trenton, New Jersey, 1933 January 26. On official letterhead to Mrs. Oakley W. Cooke, Newark Station Manager, Bamberger Broadcasting Services, Inc., Trenton, New Jersey. In full: "Just to show you that we render prompt service, I am enclosing an old application card bearing two signatures of Colonel Lindbergh. Will you ask him not to deface this card, but to hold it so that if it is ever needed for the official records, I may be able to borrow it. Best regards, Cordially". Normal mailing folds. Lightly creased. Otherwise, fine condition. Envelope: Lightly creased. Lightly worn. Cut open at top edge. Otherwise, fine condition On the evening of March 1, 1932, the baby son of Charles A. Lindbergh, a national hero for his non-stop solo trans-Atlantic flight (May 21-27, 1927, was stolen from his upper story bedroom in the home of Lindbergh and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The kidnapper, who had used a handmade ladder to enter the home, left no fingerprints or obvious clues. After prolonged negotiation and a series of ransom notes, a ransom of $100,000, mostly in gold certificates, was paid through an intermediary. However, on May 12, the decomposed body of baby Lindbergh was found only 4 miles from the family home, having been dead for at least two months. An intense investigation followed, and on September 19, 1934, a German immigrant named Bruno Hauptman was taken into custody. Charged with the crime, he was tried and convicted (February 1935) of first degree murder. After appeals and one stay of execution Hauptman, was executed on April 3, 1936. Intense national publicity followed every step of this tragedy, from the kidnapping itself to the execution of Hauptman. Trenton radio station WOR, owned by Bamberger Broadcasting, was the first to break the story of the kidnapping, and devoted massive coverage to the case. It's uncertain why the station requested a document bearing Lindbergh's signature, but Harold Hoffman's motive in releasing this document to a radio station are clearer. He was running for Governor, and won election to that office in 1934. Trying to build a national reputation, Hoffman meddled extensively in the Lindbergh case, even granting Hauptman a stay of execution and seeking to reopen the case. These efforts helped ruin him politically. Later, as New Jersey's Unemployment Compensation Commissioner, Hoffman was found to have embezzled state funds from that agency and also the motor vehicle department, but be died (1954) before he could be prosecuted. In the aftermath of the case, Lindbergh - revolted by the intense publicity surrounding his personal tragedy - moved with his family to Europe, where they lived in England and France until April 1939. Returning at the request of US Army Air Corps General "Hap" Arnold to help evaluate the war readiness of the US air fleet, Lindbergh soon stirred more controversy by becoming a very public spokesman for the America First Committee - strongly opposed to US involvement in World War II. But when war came, Lindbergh actively and heroically supported the US war effort, By the time his book The Spirit of St Louis won the Pulitzer Prize (1954), his stature as an American hero was restored. He lived until 1974, long enough to congratulate the Apollo astronauts on their own journeys. Two items.
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