Variations of the Compass for the Year 1925

The annotation on this map reads, “Used in laying out route for flight from San Diego to St. Louis to New York to Paris, 1927” and is signed C.A. Lindbergh. The map bears the official stamp: “CORRECTED THROUGH NOTICE TO MARINERS NO 25 JUNE 19’26 HYDROGRAPHIC OFFICE NAVY DEPARTMENT.” Charles Lindbergh (1902–74) was the American aviator who made the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean on May 21–22, 1927. Because Lindbergh relied on the dead-reckoning method of navigation, this map would have been useful in determining the magnetic declination (the angular difference between magnetic north and true north).

Great Circle Sailing Chart of the North Atlantic Ocean

Charles Lindbergh (1902–74) was the American aviator who made the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean on May 21–22, 1927. This is the chart with the gnomonic projection that he referred to as the “nugget of gold” that he found in a shop in San Pedro, California, while preparing for his transatlantic flight. It was this chart that enabled Lindbergh to determine quickly and accurately the great circle latitudes and longitudes as he plotted his course. The annotation on the map reads, “Used in laying out Great Circle Course for New York to Paris flight. San Diego, Calif. 1927. C.A.L.” In his 1953 book, The Spirit of St. Louis, Lindbergh described his use of this map: “My navigating problems have begun to clarify. I found, printed on the charts I bought, ample instructions for laying out my great-circle route. With the instruments Hall loaned me, I drew a straight line between New York and Paris on the gnomonic projection. Then I transferred points from that line, at hundred-mile intervals, to the Mercator’s projection, and connected these points with straight lines. At each point, I mark down the distance from New York and the magnetic course to the next change in angle.”

North Atlantic Ocean: Northeastern Sheet [portion]

This is one of four charts held at the American Geographical Society Library that the American aviator Charles Lindbergh (1902–74) used to plan his historic transatlantic flight. Lindbergh was an airmail pilot who, in 1926, learned of the $25,000 prize for the first nonstop flight between New York and Paris. Backed by a group of businessmen in St. Louis, Missouri, Lindbergh had a special plane built, which he named The Spirit of St. Louis in honor of his supporters. On May 21–22, 1927, Lindbergh achieved the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic, covering the 5,790 kilometers from Roosevelt Field, New York, to Le Bourget, Paris in 33.5 hours. This map shows the extreme measures that Lindbergh used to lighten his aircraft. To eliminate every ounce of unnecessary weight from his plane, Lindbergh went so far as to cut off sections of the map that he would not need on the flight. The annotations on the map read: “Unused portion of chart for New York to Paris flight—1927. C.A.L.” and "Gift from Charles A. Lindbergh, Dec. 18, 1950.”

Time Zone Chart of the World

The annotation on this map reads: “Used for laying out route for New York to Paris flight, San Diego, California, 1927 C.A.L.” Charles Lindbergh (1902–74) was the American aviator who made the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean on May 21–22, 1927. While Ryan Airlines of San Diego, California, was constructing his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, Lindbergh was busy obtaining charts and plotting his course. In his book The Spirit of St. Louis (1953), Lindbergh described purchasing a number of charts of the North Atlantic at a store in San Pedro, including this time-zone chart of the world: “The salesman pulls out two oblong sheets. They’re Mercator’s projections and—yes, I'm in luck—they extend inland far enough to include New York and Paris. Then, like stumbling over a nugget of gold, I see a gnomonic projection covering them both. . . . Rummaging around still farther, I locate a time-zone chart of the world, a chart of magnetic variation, and others showing prevailing winds over the Atlantic for April, May, and June. I buy them all.” Lindbergh planned his route on this time-zone chart in 500 mile-long segments that follow the great-circle route from New York to Paris. He did not indicate the number of charts he bought in San Pedro, but it appears that he purchased the two Mercator projection charts, upon which he plotted his intended course in 100-mile segments and which were actually taken on the flight.