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CLARA ADAMS - COLLECTION - HFSID 279152

CLARA ADAMS This is one of the most extraordinary aviation artifacts we've ever seen. It's a swatch of the silvery cotton skin of the Graf Zeppelin, attached to a card signed by Clara Adams, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic on the aircraft.

Sale Price $510.00

Reg. $600.00

Condition: fine condition
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CLARA ADAMS This is one of the most extraordinary aviation artifacts we've ever seen. It's a swatch of the silvery cotton skin of the Graf Zeppelin, attached to a card signed by Clara Adams, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic on the aircraft. Adams had a number of aviation firsts - she was also a passenger on the inaugural flights of the China Clipper and Hindenburg - making this piece doubly significant. Accompanied by a wax paper envelope that's also been signed by Adams; according to her notations on this envelope, this swatch of skin was a "Very rare and very precious ITEM!" Two items: 1) Card signed "Clara Adams/(first feminine paying/passenger)." 5½x3½ card. This card has a 1x2¾ swatch of silvery cotton skin from the Graf Zeppelin attached to it with a blue thread. Notations in Adams' hand in full: "Goldbeater's/Skin of the/airship/Graf Zeppelin/Covering of gas cells.". Lightly toned. Silvery coating of swatch is scratched, showing fabric underneath. Swatch has irregular edges. Otherwise in fine condition. 2) Envelope signed "Clara Adams". 6¼x4 wax paper envelope. With hand-drawn border along edges of envelope in black ink, presumably by Adams. Notations in Adams' hand in full: "'Graf Zeppelin'/1928/Very rare/and/very precious/ITEM!/Sincerely,". Lightly toned and rippled. Light tear near top edge. Otherwise in fine condition. Adams was the first woman to cross the Atlantic as a passenger of the Graf Zeppelin during its transatlantic flight in October of 1928. This swatch of fabric is silver-colored because it's impregnated with aluminum powder. On a side note, two scientists - one from UCLA and one from NASA - concluded in 1998 that this powder, combined with other chemicals, made the skin more flammable and could have contributed to the destruction of the Graf Zeppelin's sister ship the Hindenburg… which Adams also flew on during its inaugural flight. Adams (1884-1971) was an American aviatrix who got her first taste of flying in a Thomas flying boat in 1914. That apparently wasn't enough for her, because she went on to set a number of aviation firsts and records. Adams was the first woman to cross the Atlantic, as a passenger aboard the Graf Zeppelin, in October of 1928, and a passenger on the inaugural flight of Pan Am's China Clipper service from San Francisco to Manila, the Philippines. She was also a passenger during the inaugural flight of the Hindenburg in March 4, 1936, but she was only one of 11 women on that flight.

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