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Signed by Alan Shepard on the day of his historic flight: "Boy, What A Ride!"Mercury Seven Astronauts: Martin Caidin's The Astronauts Book Signed by All plus the Author. The Story of Project Mercury, America's Man-in-Space Program. (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1960), second printing, with dust jacket. Signed on the half-title page by all seven astronauts for the author, as follows: "M. Scott Carpenter", "John H. Glenn, Jr.", "Walter M Schirra Jr", "Leroy G Cooper Jr", "Virgil I. Grissom", "Alan B Shepard Jr"., and "Donald K. Slayton". Then just below by the author: "Martin Caidin". On the facing page, Shepard has signed: "Boy, What a Ride!/ Alan B. Shepard Jr/ 5/5/61". Note that this was the date of his Freedom 7 flight, America's first manned space launch. He signed it the second time after he returned from his suborbital flight. The story is told below by the book's author. An incredibly desirable and unique copy of this book and a relic from an important day in U.S. space history. Certainly museum-worthy. Very good condition.
Included with this lot is a 1996-dated signed and notarized Letter of Authenticity from the book's author Martin Caidin. It reads, in full: "In December 1960 I had America's original astronauts, The Mercury Seven, autograph six copies of my book, THE ASTRONAUTS, for Christmas presents for family and friends. Jay Barbree of NBC News received the first copy and, at his request, I added my signature below the Mercury Seven on the third blank page entitled THE ASTRONAUTS. The following May, Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr. became the first American astronaut into space with his suborbital flight aboard Freedom Seven. Astronaut Shepard made the flight on May 5th, 1961. After he was safely on board the recovery ship, Astronauts Deke Slayton and Gus Grissom flew to Grand Bahama Island to meet Shepard where he was debriefed. Astronaut Deke Slayton carried Jay Barbree's signed copy of THE ASTRONAUTS by The Mercury Seven to Grand Bahama Island with him where, on the day of his flight Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr. signed the second blank page, opposite the earlier autographs, with what became the headline on that day: 'Boy what a ride!' On that historic day, Jay Barbree's copy of THE ASTRONAUTS signed by the Mercury Seven became the only copy autographed by Alan B. Shepard, Jr. on the date he made America's first flight into space."
Also included with this lot is a 1996-dated, signed and notarized Letter of Authenticity from Howard S. Benedict as Executive Director of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation reading, in full: "As The Associated Press' aerospace writer and editor during Projects Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Apollo-Soyuz and the Space Shuttle flights through 1990, and as Executive Director of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (formerly the Mercury Seven Foundation) since then, I can state with expert knowledge the signatures appearing in Jay Barbree's 1960 edition of the book THE ASTRONAUTS by Martin Caidin are genuine. As a personal friend and colleague of the Mercury Seven for 37 years, I am most qualified to authenticate each of their autographs."
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