WILLIAM VAN DUSEN - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 01/14/1974 - HFSID 171209
PAN AMERICAN'S FIRST PUBLICITY DIRECTOR ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT COMPANY EMPLOYEE FRED NOONAN, WHO WOULD LATER ACCOMPANY AMELIA EARHART ON HER ILL-FATED FLIGHT AROUND THE WORLD WILLIAM VAN DUSEN [FRED NOONAN]. TLS: "W. Van Dusen", 1¾p, 7¼x10½, separate sheets.
Sale Price $1,870.00
PAN AMERICAN'S FIRST PUBLICITY DIRECTOR ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT COMPANY EMPLOYEE FRED NOONAN, WHO WOULD LATER ACCOMPANY AMELIA EARHART ON HER ILL-FATED FLIGHT AROUND THE WORLD
WILLIAM VAN DUSEN [FRED NOONAN]. TLS: "W. Van Dusen", 1¾p, 7¼x10½, separate sheets. Coral Gables, Florida, 1974 January 14. On his imprinted stationery to Ed Rollman, Bremerton, Washington. In full: "I'm sorry to have been so late in my answer to your inquiry about Fred Noonan and do hope that these few words will help you and are not too late. Fred Noonan was a rather special type in the early days of ocean flying. Its (sic) been so long ago I've forgotten many of yhe (sic) vital statistics about him...where he was born, when etc...but your research has undoubtedly supplied all that. Fred was not a flyer. He was a seaman, held a Matser (sic, Master) Navigator's 'ticket' that qualified him to take a vessel to any port in the world. Pan American (Airways) hired him to teach our pilots how to find their way across the oceans because, in those days, few pilots knew how to navigate. (Colonel Charles Lindbergh, for instance, just followed a set of steering instructions on his historic first solo air crossing of the Atlantic). Noonan taught the first class in transocean navigation for flyers. Captains Ed Musick and R.O.D. Sullivan, who blazed the first air routes across the Pacific, were his first pupils. An (sic, And) Fred, himself, was the naviagot (sic, navigator) on those historic flights. He was a medium tall, thin, gaunt faced man. Soft spoken. Had a crooked smile, which he used a lot, and a good sense of humor. He was a cool one, never got excited. One (sic, On) the first return survey flight from Hawaii (the schedule called for 12½ hours) the China Clipper was out 22 hours. Everyone thought they might be lost. We radioed Noonan through Musick. Fred was reading a mystery story. 'Tell 'em not to worry,' he told Musick. My navigation's alright the winds (sic) just bad. Tell 'em we'll be there in another hour and thirty five minutes.' And they were right on the dot! Unfortunately, Fred had a weakness for alcohol and Pan American, finally, had to let him go. When Amelia Earhart planned her trip around the world she signed on Fred....But that's another story, isn't it? Not long ago I heard that Fred's second wife was living out in your part of the country somewhere. Maybe you could locate her. Good luck with your project." Typed postscript: "(I hope your typewriter can write and spell better than mine!)". WILLIAM VAN DUSEN was the first Publicity Director for Pan American Airways Corp., which, as mentioned in this letter, had employed FRED NOONAN to teach navigation. Records indicate that Noonan, who flew on the first Pan American Clipper in March 1935, remained with the company through 1936 and resigned (or was forced to resign) in January 1937. Later that year, Noonan, who had married his second wife, Mary Bea Martinelli of Oakland, California, was selected by Amelia Earhart as one of two navigators that accompanied her on the first leg of her around the world flight (the other navigator, Harry Manning, bowed out in Hawaii after a take-off crash in Honolulu). Noonan and Earhart disappeared somewhere in the Pacific on July 2, 1937 on their way to Howland Island. Lightly creased with folds, not at signature. Fine condition.
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