DescriptionRichard R. Blythe Aviation Archive consisting of medals, photographs, a New York Aero Club Trophy, a Who's Who in American Aeronautics for 1922, one identification card, and one membership card. Richard Reginald "Dick" Blythe was born in Wapella, Saskatchewan, Canada, on February 8, 1894. During the First World War, he served in the Canadian Infantry 50th Gordon Highlanders from February to December of 1915. In 1918, however, he joined the Royal Air Force. After the war, he managed aircraft insurance company Johnson & Higgins in New York. In 1921, he took part in the first complete aerial circumnavigation of the Great Lakes in the capacity of insurance observer. Blythe was one of the founding members of the secret club for male pilots, the Quiet Birdmen, along with friend and public relations man, Harry A. Bruno. In the early 1920s, the duo formed the public relations firm Bruno and Blythe to promote early aeronautic activity. In May, 1927, while representing aircraft manufacturer Wright Aeronautical, Blythe was introduced to a twenty-five year old pilot who was going to attempt to make the first non-stop, transatlantic flight from New York to Paris. His name was Charles Lindbergh.
With the pressure from the media increasing daily in anticipation of his flight, Wright Aeronautical, who had recently manufactured the Wright J5-C Whirlwind engine for Lindbergh's plane, Spirit of St. Louis, suggested that Bruno and Blythe handle the press for the young pilot. Blythe and Lindbergh became fast friends, forging a relationship that would last until Blythe's death. Blythe accompanied "Lucky Lindy" on his return voyage from Paris on the U. S. Navy cruiser Memphis.
In 1932, Blythe married 19 year old Loretta Turnbull, an amateur outboard motor boat racing champion. The marriage lasted a short time and in 1938, Dick married Texas native, Marie Gordon. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Dick Blythe returned to his native Canada, and flying, to serve his country by training the next generation of pilots for the Royal Canadian Air Force. In 1941, Richard Blythe's life was cut short when he was killed in during a training exercise.
There are a total of nineteen medals commemorating air races, aeronautical meetings, ship races, air shows, and the joining of the railroad and air power including: Detroit 2nd National Aero Congress with blue ribbon, 1922, 1" x 3.25". Blind embossed gold medal with Seal of the City of Detroit. [and:] International Civil Aeronautics Conference, 1903-1928, Washington D. C. 2.25" x 1.75" with typed name plate "R. R. Blythe/United States." [and:] Royal Italian Air Force Pilot Badge. 2" x 1.5", gold plated eagle topped with crown. [and:] 1929 National Air Races and Aeronautical Exposition, Cleveland, August 24 through September 2. 3.25" x 3.25", metal plate engraved "R. R. Blythe" suspended from a hanger by a red, white, and blue ribbon. [and:] 1936 National Air Races, Chicago. Red, white, and blue inlaid shield with outstretched wings and connected ribbon with "Committee" in gilt. 3.5" x 3.5". [and:] 1929 National Air Races and Aeronautical Exposition, Cleveland, August 24 through September 2. 3.25" x 3.75", gold metal plate with "R. R. Blythe" pasted inside, suspended from by a red, white, and blue ribbon from a red, white, and blue inlaid hanger. [and:] Play Land Regatta, Rye, N. Y. 1923. Suspended by a red ribbon to an overall size of 1.5" x 3". [and:] The Key to the City of Omaha. Suspended by a white ribbon with "National Air Tour/Guest of Omaha/July 10, 1927" printed in blue to an overall size of 2.5" x 2". [and:] 1930 National Air Races Admission Medal. August 23 through September 1, 4" x 2.5" brass plate for "Exclusive Admission to Aeronautical Concourse." [and:] M. N. A. Wings. 1" x 1.25". Sterling silver. [and:] Spirit of St. Louis Lapel Pin. 1.5" x .5". [and:] Mayor's Committee/The City of New York. Seal of the City of New York suspended by an orange, white, and blue ribbon to an overall size of 1.75" x 3.25". [and:] Twenty Eight Gold Cup Regatta, Red Bank, N. J., 1930. Suspended on a red ribbon from a metal hanger with paper insert reading "R. R. Blythe" to an overall size of 1.5" x 2.25". [and:] Wichita Eagle/The Key to Our City, 1926. Engraved on the verso "Pilot Eddie Stinson." In the shape of a key, suspended from a white and gold ribbon gilt-stamped "Mayor's Reception Committee." [and:] Twenty Seventh Gold Cup Regatta, Red Bank, N. J., 1929. Suspended on a red ribbon from a metal hanger with paper insert reading "Dick Blythe" to an overall size of 1.5" x 3". [and:] Play Land Regatta, Rye, N. Y. 1928. Suspended by a red ribbon from a hanger with paper insert reading "Capt. R. R. Blythe" to an overall size of 1.5" x 3". [and:] Ambassador Medal. Suspended on a printed ribbon reading "1928 National Air Races/Aeronautical Exposition/Los Angeles, Sept. 8-16/Committee" to an overall size of 1.5" x 4.5". [and:] Narragansett Bay Regatta Association, Inc. Suspended from a blue and white ribbon with gilt-stamped "Seaplane Committee" from a hanger with paper insert reading "R. R. Blythe" to an overall size of 2" x 4.75". [and:] 1928 Chicago Aircraft Show. Copper medal suspended from a red, white, and blue ribbon attached to a hanger with a paper insert reading "Blythe" to an overall size of 1.75" x 4". [and:] Pennsylvania Railroad Plaque. Measuring 4" x 3", embossed metal plate featuring locomotive and airplane with the caption: "The Pennsylvania Railroad Harnessing the Plane and the Iron Horse." The verso reads: "Commemorating the Inauguration of Rail-Air Passenger Service July 17, 1929."
Thirteen black and white photographs of aviators, most of them inscribed to Blythe, from both friends and clients including Roscoe Turner, Frank M. Hawks, Rex Noville, motion picture stunt pilot Al Wilson, Roy Hunt, Frances Marsalis, holder (at the time) of the world endurance refueling record with Helen Richey, women's air speed record holder (at the time) Helen MacClosky, Harry A. Bruno and Bill Deen.
Including: Roscoe Turner Photograph Signed. 10" x 8" of Turner posing with his plane, dated December 14, 1932, inscribed: "To my old friend...Dick from an old A. B. pal. Roscoe" [and:] Frank M. Hawks Photograph Signed. 8" x 10" head portrait, inscribed: "Bruno and Blythe/sincerely appreciating your congratulations."[and:] Roscoe Turner Photograph Signed. 8" x 10" chest up portrait with an inset of the Thompson Trophy. Next to the trophy is written: "Won in 1938 & 1934." Inscribed in blue ink: "To my friend 'Dick' Blythe/a regular fellow with best wishes." Right edge is chipped. [and:] Frank M. Hawks Photograph Signed. 10" x 8" of Hawks' Texaco No. 13 racing aircraft. Inscribed: "To Dick/Happy landings!" [and:] Frank M. Hawks Photograph Signed. 9.5" x 7.25" near head-on of Hawks' Texaco No. 13 racing aircraft. Inscribed: "To Dick/Cheerio." [and:] George Otto Noville Photograph Signed. 8" x 10" chest up portrait inscribed: "To my good pals Dick and Harry/'Rex' Noville/Byrd Arctic Expedition." With facsimile letter reading: "Just a note. We are in the midst of loading and things are very hectic. Conditions are bad, the bay is full of ice - we are having heavy blizzards - the snow is deep and soft making it very difficult for the dog teams and tractors. We are looking forward to just one breath of spring and the restfull vision of trees and grass." [and:] Al Wilson Photograph Signed. 10" x 8", signed: "Al Wilson/H. Q. R. '32." [and:] Roy O. Hunt Photograph Signed. 8" x 10" waist up portrait, inscribed: "Yours truly." [and:] Francis Marsalis Photograph Signed. 10" x 8". [and:] Francis Marsalis Photograph Signed. 10" x 8" of the young aviatrix peering out the window of her plane. [and:] Helen MacClosky Photograph Signed. 8" x 10" of the young, female flier in front of a biplane. [and:] Bill Deen Photograph Signed. 9.5" x 5.5" and inscribed: "To 'Blythe Richard' who is responsible for my being up in the air most of the time." [and:] Unknown German Pilot. 8" x 10". [and:] Harry Bruno Photograph Signed. Dated March 4, 1930, 7.5" x 9.5" (sight) reprinted photograph features Dick Blythe with friend and partner, Harry A. Bruno. Inscription is also a facsimile of the original: "For Dick: Tried and true pal." Matted to an overall size of 10" x 12".
Also, Who's Who in American Aeronautics. New York: The Gardner, Moffat Co, 1922. 4to, 130 pages. Publisher's leather binding with gilt lettering on front; marbled endpapers. "R. R. Blythe" gilt-stamped on lower right corner of front board. Features many well-known early aviators and aviation pioneers including WWI ace Edward Rickenbacker, Orville Wright, Glenn H. Curtiss, Harry A. Bruno, Richard "Dick" Blythe, etc. Twenty pages of period ads in the rear. Moderate to heavy shelfwear. [and:] 1921 Glidden Trophy. Shield shaped wood base with attached plaque reading: "New York Aero Club Glidden Trophy for 19214. Awarded to Captain R. R. Blythe In recognition of his participation in the flight of the converted Navy Aeromarine HS2L flying boat which made the first complete aerial circumnavigation of the Great Lakes establishing a world's record for distance in a flying boat 7491 miles in 102 flying hours, Summer 1921." Blythe was the official insurance observer for the flight. Some light wear on the wooden base. Fine. [and:] Richard Blythe Signed Identification Card. 4" x 2.25" employee card for the Seversky Aircraft Corporation. [and:] Ed Nilson Signed Membership Card. 4" x 2.5" issued to "Dick" Blythe for membership in the Florida Alligator Club. From the Richard Blythe Aviation Collection.
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