Mr. Charles F. Durant Will Make His Third Grand Ascension, on Wednesday Afternoon, August 24, 1831.

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Mr. Charles F. Durant Will Make His Third Grand Ascension, on Wednesday Afternoon, August 24, 1831.

New York: Spear & Nesbitt, Printers, Corner of Wall and Water Sts. 1831. Illustrated broadside, 30.5” x 22” (sheet size), large wood engraving with text below. CONDITION: Old folds, tape repairs to separations and tears on verso.

A rare and visually captivating ballooning broadside, advertising an early flight by “America’s first aeronaut,” carried out just a year after his first ascent in the United States.

Charles Ferson Durant (1805–1873) was an eighteen-year-old New Yorker on July 9, 1824 when he witnessed French aeronaut Eugene Robertson make a balloon ascension at Castle Garden in New York in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette. Upon witnessing the event Durant became so enthusiastic that he befriended Robertson and followed him to Paris. The pair made two ascensions together in France in 1829.

Encouraged by his experiences, Durant then returned to New York and where he became the first professional American aeronaut. He made his first ascent, and several thereafter, at Castle Garden, the place of ascent advertised on his balloon in the broadside offered here. Over the course of his ballooning career Durant made a total of thirteen ascents, blending science with spectacle. His first ascent having entailed considerable personal expense, Durant used the press to drum up support prior to others. An article that appeared in the Albany Evening Journal on July 25, 1833 is a good example:

Mr. Durant is an American – a native of New York, where he is engaged in business, and sustains an unblemished reputation. The interest universally taken by the most intelligent and respectable citizens of that place, in his success, is a sufficient voucher for his worth. He is studying his serial profession as a science, which he entertains sanguine hope of reducing to purposes of practical utility. Mr. D. Has made six ascensions, all from New York Castle Garden. It has been his good fortune never to disappoint an audience either by failure or postponement. He superintends, personally, the construction and inflation of his balloons. At his first ascension, so incredulous were his friends and the public, that no person would hazard a dollar of the heavy prepatory expense. He therefore embarked his all in the enterprise, which, most fortunately for him, proved a successful and triumphant display of American genius and intrepidity.

A marvelous broadside, almost visually unparalleled for 1831 America.

Item #7205

On Hold

Price: $12,500.00

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