A consummate diarist, Anne recorded all her impressions of the Canada to China trip she made with her husband Charles. When North to the Orient was published in 1935 and immediately became a best-seller, Anne had found her niche. She was destined to become America’s poetic voice for aviation.
Biography, 1906-2001, Enshrined 1979
Anne Morrow's remarkable career in aviation begins in 1927 after Charles Lindbergh makes his epic solo flight across the Atlantic to Paris and returns to a ticker tape parade and a White House dinner. Among President Coolidge's guests is Anne's father, Dwight Morrow. He is impressed with Lindbergh and later, as Ambassador to Mexico, convinces him to make a goodwill flight to Mexico City, where he receives a roaring welcome and is a guest of the Morrows at the American embassy.
That night Anne writes in her diary of their first meeting: "It was breath-taking. I could not speak. What kind of boy is this?" Then, after Lindbergh takes her up for her first flight, she pens: "I will not be happy until it happens again." Later, after he flies on to other Central American countries, she writes: "The idea of this dear, direct, straight boy how it has swept out of sight all the other men I have known. All my life, in fact my world, my little embroidery beribboned world is smashed. I must have been walking with my head down looking at puddles for twenty years!"
After Anne graduated Smith College in 1928, with awards for her literary works, she begins to visit a small airfield and go up for flights. Months later, when Charles phones and invites her to go flying, she is thrilled especially after he lets her handle the plane's controls.
Romance blossoms rapidly between Anne and Charles after they meet again in Mexico City and go flying. There, just after the announcement of their engagement, he takes her for another flight and they land on a prairie for a picnic but on the return takeoff, a wheel comes off and the plane turns turtle on landing. Anne is not hurt, but Charles dislocates a shoulder.
May, 1929, Anne and Charles are married and slip away for a honeymoon aboard a cabin cruiser. But they are soon discovered by reporters using aircraft and boats in attempts to get pictures. It is the beginning of a life together constantly pried open to public view, one with which they will have great difficulty coping. Following their honeymoon, Anne and Charles help inaugurate Trans-continental Air Transport's first combined air-rail service between Los Angeles and New York. After screen star Mary Pickford christens the Ford trimotor, Anne is among the passengers as Charles pilots the history-making flight from Los Angeles to Winslow, Arizona and back.
While flying home to New Jersey in their "Falcon", Anne and Charles sight Pueblo Indian ruins high on the cliffs of Arizona's Canyon De Chelly. They land and photograph the ruins with staff members of the Carnegie Institute, ruins never before visited by white men and thus demonstrate the value of aircraft in archaeological work. In the Fall of 1929, Charles accepts Juan Trippe's offer to become chief consulting engineer for Pan American Airways and help expand its air routes deeper in the Caribbean. Anne and Charles, along with Betty and Juan Trippe, are among the venturesome passengers that fly to Puerto Rico, where they board two Pan Am amphibians and pioneer the new route on to St. Thomas, Trinidad, Dutch Guyana, Venezuela, Columbia and Panama. Afterwards, Anne and Charles join other members of the Lindbergh-Carnegie Maya expedition, and make the first comprehensive aerial photographs of the old empire ruins of the Maya civilization in Guatemala and Mexico.
The Lindberghs are in California to purchase a new airplane and take part in the inaugural flight of Maddux Line's Ford trimotor between San Diego and Los Angeles in 1930. Later they go soaring and Anne becomes the first woman in the United States to obtain a glider pilot license. She also studies aerial navigation under Harold Gatty, later to gain fame by flying around the world with Wiley Post.
Easter Sunday, 1930. The Lindberghs roar Eastward in their new Lockheed "Sirius" as Anne navigates the course including a single refueling stop in Wichita. When they land at Newark, they have set a new transcontinental record, and, as navigator, Anne sets a new woman's record for coast-to-coast flight.
June 22, 1930, Anne's 24th birthday and the day she gives birth to a son, Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr. Soon afterwards, Juan Trippe asks the Lindberghs to make a survey of the great circle route from New York to Tokyo via the Arctic. The challenge is irresistible and to prepare for the flight, Charles gives Anne flying lessons and when she solos she feels absolute exultation. By the time she learns to operate the radio, send Morse code and pass her operator's exam, she has gained enormous confidence in her ability to carry her weight as a flight crew member.
July 1931, the Lindberghs take off from Washington, DC, fly to New York, then they stop at North Haven, Maine, Anne's parents' summer home. Then it is on to Ottawa, where experienced bush pilots try to dissuade them from the great circle route. But they persist because it is the shortest way to the Orient. As they fly North, with stops along Hudson Bay and fringes of the Arctic Ocean, Anne keeps in radio contact with remote settlements in this land of the midnight sun. At Barrow, Alaska they learn the refueling ship is ice bound in the Bering Sea and they are forced to head for Nome with a marginal supply of fuel. Enroute, Anne learns by radio it will be night when they expect to arrive, so Charles lands and they spend the night on the waters of Shishmaref Inlet. The next day they land near Nome and are refueled by dog sled from the Pan Am cache.
The Lindberghs fly across the Bering Sea to Siberia. Enroute to Japan, bad weather forces a landing on the open sea and they sleep in the plane. Fortunately, they reach Japan safely where they are treated royally. When the Lindberghs reach China, disastrous floods are sweeping the Nanking area, and immediately they volunteer to fly medical aid to isolated villages. Then they move upstream to Hankow to fly mercy missions from a British aircraft carrier and Anne becomes the first woman ever carried aboard. Unfortunately, while being lowered into the swift current of the Yangtze, their seaplane is tossed on its back and is a total loss.
The Lindberghs suffer a cruel bereavement when two year old Charles, Jr., is kidnapped. It leaves a lasting scar, but part of the sorrow is softened when Anne gives birth to a second son, Jon.
Anne and Charles are ready for another extensive survey flight - this time of transatlantic air routes to Europe for Pan Am. In early July 1933, they take off from New York and head for North Haven, Maine, where they leave Jon with Anne's mother. Then they fly Northward, with stops at Halifax, Nova Scotia, St. Johns, Newfoundland, and lonely outposts in Labrador, before crossing the treacherous Davis Straits to Godthaab, Greenland, where villagers turn out to greet them. After visiting Holsteinborg on Greenland's West coast, Anne and Charles cross the great icecap covering the heart of Greenland and touch down at Ella Island on its East coast. They are within 16 degrees of the North Pole when they turn South. They sight uncharted mountain ranges, soon landing at Angmagssalik. It is there a Greenland boy christens their plane "Ting-Miss-Ar-Toq", meaning "The one who flies like a big bird."
The Lindbergh's head for volcanic Iceland and, after surveying its rugged shores, fly on to the Faero and Shetland islands, before landing at Copenhagen, Denmark where a gala reception awaits them. Next, stops are made in Stockholm, Helsinki and Leningrad before spending a week in Moscow. Then it is on to Estonia and Norway, before landing in England, where they visit Anne's sister in Wales. The next few weeks are spent flying around Europe. From Lisbon they make a 9-hour flight out to the Azores, island stepping stones to Europe. Enroute, Anne operates the radio and adds to her hours at the controls. Then it is on to Las Palmas in the Canaries.
After stops in Spanish Sahara and the Cape Verdes Islands, the Lindberghs land at Bathurst in Gambia, where they prepare for the dangerous flight across the South Atlantic. When they attempt a takeoff it is obvious the plane is overloaded. In desperation, Charles removes a fuel tank, extra food, equipment and clothing, enough to enable him to coax the reluctant seaplane off the bay waters. As they fly out to sea, Anne seeks radio contact with stations on the distant South American coast. At 3 in the morning, she makes her first contact. After 16 hours in the air, they land safely at Natal, Brazil.
Turning Northward, the Lindberghs stop at Manaos, deep in the Brazilian jungle. Continuing on, they set a course that takes them on to Miami, Florida. Finally they land on New York's Flushing Bay, the place they left five months before. Behind the Lindberghs is one of the most remarkable air journeys of all time, one touching 23 countries and covering 29,000 miles. For Anne, much of the time she spent in the air will count toward her transport pilot license. For her part in the survey flights to the Orient and to Europe, she receives the Hubbard Gold Medal, the highest honor of the National Geographic Society.
In a search for a more private life together, Anne and Charles move to the Morrow home in Maine. There Anne completes her first book, "North to the Orient." But privacy is not possible for them in the United States and they sail to England where they establish their home, "Long Barn," in Kent. Charles orders a new Miles "Mohawk" for his and Anne's use.
At the request of the U.S. military attaché, the Lindberghs fly to Berlin to review the growing German Luftwaffe for the U.S. war department n July 1936. There they lunch with German aviation experts. Air Marshall and Mrs. Hermann Goering and Charles inspects the Luftwaffe's newest planes, equipment and training facilities, heretofore secret information which he later transmits to the British Minister of Defense.
Anne and Charles begin a flight tour to India in their new plane. Their route takes them to Italy into Sicily, where they explore ancient temples. Flying across the Mediterranean, they make brief stops in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Then across Palestine to ancient Babylon. In India, they tour Jodhpur, Karachi and Calcutta.
May 1937, Anne gives birth to a third son, Land. At the end of summer she and Charles fly to Munich to attend the annual dinner of the Lilienthal Society and to continue investigation of the Luftwaffe for the U.S. Army intelligence. After Anne and Charles return to the United States to visit family and friends, they sail back to England on the day the Nazis march into Austria. In England, Anne completes her second book, "Listen! The Wind." Soon afterwards, she and Charles purchase a small island, Illiec, on France's coast of Brittany and spend a lot of effort making its old stone house livable, for it offers them a safe haven for a growing family.
At the request of the U.S. air attaché in London, the Lindberghs fly to Russia to assess Soviet airpower for U.S. Army intelligence. There Charles inspects aviation facilities and Anne visits schools, museums and art galleries. Everywhere they go they are greeted enthusiastically in stops in Romania, Czechoslovakia and Germany. Charles gives American ambassador to France, Bullett, and Ambassador to England, Kennedy, a candid assessment of European air power. It is on a return trip to Berlin in October, 1938 that Hermann Goering suddenly presents to Charles a medal making him a "Knight Of the German Eagle." Anne calls it "The Albatross", for many soon accuses him of being pro-German. By now, the Lindberghs know war in Europe is inevitable and return to the United States, bringing to an end two years of family happiness they had never known before. They learned the hard lesson that privacy and peace are not enough.
Not long afterwards, Anne and Charles watch a huge Pan American Clipper take off with the first airmail to Europe, following a route they pioneered over the Atlantic. It is a moment of quiet pride and satisfaction for both.
It is true that marriage has made Anne Morrow Lindbergh part of a modern legend. But it is equally true that through hard, persistent work both as a member of a flight crew, and as an authoress she has greatly increased public awareness and appreciation of air travel.
Reprinted with permission from the National Aviation Hall of Fame. All images and text on this page are the property of the National Aviation Hall of Fame and may not be used without express written permission from a National Aviation Hall of Fame official.
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