Rickenbacker, Eddie V.


1929 TLS on Cadillac Motor Car Co. letterhead, apologizing for delay in sending his autograph to a schoolboy


Autograph ID: 7152
Condition: Very good, 2 mail folds, one strengthened with acid free materials on verso
Description: “(1890-1973) American auto racing & aviation pioneer. He competed in the Indianapolis 500 four times before WW I. Rickenbacker joined the Maxwell Race Team in 1915 after leaving Peugeot. After the Maxwell team disbanded that year, he joined the Prest-O-Lite team as manager and continued to race improved Maxwells for Prest-O-Lite. Led 94th Aero Squadron (informally, the “Hat-in-the-Ring” Squadron after its insignia) in France in WW I, “ace” with 26 “kills”, received Medal of Honor 1931. He was the most celebrated US aviator until supplanted by Charles Lindbergh after his solo flight across the Atlantic. He started the Rickenbacker Motor Company 1920, selling technologically advanced cars, inc. the 1st 4-wheel brake system. His company had trouble selling its cars and went bankrupt in 1927. In Nov. 1927, he bought the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which he ran until 1945 (not during WW II), overseeing many improvements to the facility. He later worked for the Cadillac division of General Motors Corporation and then was associated with a number of aircraft manufacturers and airlines. He adamantly opposed President Roosevelt’s New Deal policies. Rickenbacker merged Eastern Air Transport and Florida Airways to form Eastern Air Lines, that grew into a major airline. In April 1938, he bought the company for $3.5M. He also scripted a popular comic strip, Ace Drummond, 1935-40, with aviation artist and author Clayton Knight, who illustrated the series, later adapted into a film serial and radio program. During the late 50s, Eastern’s fortunes declined, and Rickenbacker was forced out as CEO in 1959; he resigned as Chairman of the Board Dec. 31, 1963. He was inducted the National Aviation Hall of Fame 1965, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 1992, the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame 1992 and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America 1994.

TLS “E. V. Rickenbacker” on 11 x 8 ½ Cadillac Motor Car Company letterhead with corporate emblem at top left, Detroit, March 12 1929, to an Albany, New York schoolboy. Rickenbacker apologizes for the delay in sending his autograph as he was on the Pacific Coast for 3 weeks, wishes recipient a successful school year.”
Type: Letter

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