Charles A. Lindbergh - Timeline
(Chronology of key events detailed in Lindbergh, by A. Scott Berg)
February 4, 1902 - Charles Augustus Lindbergh is born in Detroit, Michigan, of Swedish, English, Irish and Scottish ancestry to Charles August Lindbergh, a lawyer, and Evangeline Lodge Land Lindbergh, a teacher.
March 1902 - Lindbergh's parents return to their home in Little Falls, Minnesota with five-week-old Charles.
November 1906 - Lindbergh's father is elected to represent Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
June 15, 1918 - Lindbergh collects his diploma from Little Falls High School.
Fall 1920 - Lindbergh starts his studies in mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
February 2, 1922 - Two days short of his 20th birthday, Lindbergh, an undisciplined student, is dropped from the University of Wisconsin. He eventually signs on with the Nebraska Aircraft Corporation, where he hopes to learn every aspect of airplane building, maintenance, and flying.
Spring/Summer 1923 - Lindbergh, now a pilot, barnstorms his way around the midwest.
March 1924 - Lindbergh enlists in the Army Air Service and begins training. He graduates, first in his class, from the Army's Advanced Flying School and is commissioned as a second lieutenant. At loose ends because few squadrons need new pilots, he decides to head for St. Louis, where he begins working as a test pilot, barnstormer, stunt flyer and mail pilot.
Fall 1926 - Bored with mail flying, Lindbergh dreams of capturing the $25,000 Orteig Prize that will be given to the first aviator to fly nonstop between New York and Paris. He starts searching for the financial backers necessary to sponsor his flight. Time is of the essence because several other teams of pilots in the U.S. and France, including U.S. Navy Commander Richard Byrd, are preparing their own transatlantic flights.
April 1927 - Construction on Lindbergh's plane, built by the Ryan Aeronautical Company in San Diego, is completed, and Lindbergh conducts a series of test flights.
May 12, 1927 - Lindbergh arrives in New York. He had crossed the entire country in less than twenty-two hours of flying time. The media takes a shine to Lindbergh, not only because he is physically the most attractive of all the fliers attempting the New York/Paris flight but because he is the only one attempting the journey on his own.
May 20, 1927 - At 7:54 am, Lindbergh, who has not slept in almost twenty-four hours, takes off from Long Island's Roosevelt Field.
May 21, 1927 - At 10:54 pm, Lindbergh lands at Le Bourget airfield near Paris. A human tidal wave of spectators, 150,000 strong, is there to greet him and Lindbergh is quickly caught up in the riptide of the masses. Overnight, the modern wonders of communication transform the 25-year "boy" into the most famous man on earth.
June 10, 1927 - Lindbergh returns to the U.S. on board the U.S.S. Memphis. He gets his first taste of the reception that lies ahead: a convoy of four destroyers, two army blimps, and 40 airplanes accompany the Memphis up Chesapeake Bay. Hundreds of thousands turn out to honor Lindbergh as he receives the first Distinguished Flying Cross from President Coolidge.
June 13, 1927 - More than four million people turn out for events honoring the flier in New York. By this time, Lindbergh has become the most photographed man in the world.
December 13, 1927 - Lindbergh departs from Washington, D.C. for a nonstop flight to Mexico City. He is making the trip at the invitation of the new U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Dwight Morrow, who hopes to lessen tensions between the two countries. While staying at the embassy for Christmas he meets Anne Morrow, one of the ambassador's daughters.
Spring 1928 - Lindbergh flies the "Spirit of St. Louis" to Washington, DC, where he donates it to the Smithsonian Institution for permanent exhibition.
May 27, 1929 - Anne Morrow and Charles Lindbergh are wed.
August 23, 1948 - Lindbergh's book, Of Flight and Life, is published.
April 7, 1954 - In a private ceremony in Washington, D.C., Lindbergh is sworn in as a Brigadier General. He also serves on a congressional commission to select a permanent location for the United States Air Force Academy. He adds even more to his prestige later in the year when he completes his autobiography, The Spirit of St. Louis. The book becomes an overwhelming bestseller and receives the Pulitzer Prize.
1962 - Lindbergh becomes increasingly interested in the impact that "civilization" is having on the earth and its wilderness areas, indigenous tribes, and wildlife.
July 1964 - Lindbergh debuts as an advocate for conservation with a Reader's Digest article entitled "Is Civilization Progress?" By this time, ecological matters consume practically all of his reading and writing time.
Summer 1969 - Lindbergh, who has fallen in love with the Hawaiian islands, begins building a home on Maui.
October 1972 - During a routine examination, Lindbergh's doctor discovers an abnormal node that proves to be cancerous. He undergoes radiation therapy at the end of January and recuperates in Hawaii. He also arranges with the state and church authorities to secure a 30-foot wide burial plot near his home.
August 26, 1974 - Lindbergh dies in Hawaii.