Scope and Content
Title: Huntington Library Aeronautica Collection: Prints and Ephemera
Dates (inclusive): 1762-1940
Bulk dates: 1780-1850
Collection Numbers: pri470, pri472, pri475, RB 10015, RB 139413; some additional items assigned individual RB call numbers are listed in the collection
1 volume, 14 flat-top boxes, 2 portfolio boxes, and 22 oversized folders
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens:
Rare Books Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Abstract: This finding aid describes the more than 600 prints and ephemera contained within the Huntington Library’s Aeronautica collection.
These materials date from 1762 to 1940 and document
the early history of balloon flight primarily in France and England, as well as the use of aeronautical imagery in satirical,
documentary, and decorative images. Item types consist primarily of prints, illustrations,
and broadsides, but also include ephemera such as handbills, advertisements, original drawings and watercolors, invitations
and tickets, handwritten notes, newspaper and magazine clippings, scraps
of fabric from balloons and parachutes, and sheet music.
Language: The majority of materials are in English or French.
Finding aid last updated on June 24, 2013.
The collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information,
please visit the Huntington's website:
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office
of the Library Director.
Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Huntington as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to
include or imply permission of the
copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
[Item title, Call number]. Huntington Library Aeronautica Collection: Prints and Ephemera, The Huntington Library, San Marino,
The majority of the collection was acquired from three sources: over 200 items in the collection were purchased from the Anderson
Galleries Catalog No. 1404 (March 10-11, 1919), item 66, through book dealer George D. Smith (call number: RB 10015); approximately
160 items were
acquired as part of an en bloc purchase of the Maggs Brothers Catalog No. 387
Bibliotheca Aeronautica from Smith who had purchased the collection in July 1920 (call numbers: pri470, pri472, and pri475); and
the scrapbook volume (call number: RB 139413) was purchased from the Walpole Galleries Catalog No. 202, Item 40 (November
4, 1921), through the Rosenbach Company (call number: RB 139413).
Acquisition information, when known, is included at the item level in the contents list.
Related materials in the Huntington Library:
Books received as part of the purchase of the Maggs Brothers Catalog No. 387
are individually cataloged and
can be retrieved by doing a keyword search for "Maggs. Bibliotheca aeronautica" in the Huntington Online Catalog:
Scope and Content
This finding aid briefly describes the more than 600 prints and ephemera contained within the Huntington Library’s Aeronautica
collection. These materials date from 1762 to 1940 and document the early history of balloon flight
primarily in France and England, as well as the use of aeronautical imagery in satirical, documentary, and decorative images.
Items are housed either as loose and matted items in folders and boxes or pasted in one bound scrapbook.
The images and texts within this collection include illustrations, diagrams, and descriptions of balloons and parachutes,
balloon ascents, descents, and accidents; portraits of aeronauts; and political cartoons and fanciful
or documentary pictures that incorporate depictions of balloons, airships, and flying machines. The collection features prints
chronicling the progression of early aeronautical history from the first manned balloon ascent launched by French brothers
Joseph-Michel Montgolfier and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier in 1783,
to the well-publicized ascents of famed English balloonist Charles Green in the mid 1800s. While most materials concern the
development of balloon flight, the collection also includes anomalous images of balloons such
as in British satirical prints and in two 18th century Indian watercolors depicting scenes with demigods in flying machines
(pri472 Box 1, Item No. 1, and pri475 Box 1, Item No. 1). The earliest dated image in the
collection is a Scottish satirical print from 1762 depicting three men on a broom “Flying Machine” (RB 10015, Item No. 2:2),
and the most recently issued item is a booklet of photostat facsimiles of trade cards
held in the Bella C. Landauer Aeronautical Collection, copyrighted 1940 (RB 240367).
Among the individual aeronauts, aviators, engineers, inventors, and scientists most frequently referenced and depicted in
the collection are British aeronauts George Biggin, Robert Cocking (1776-1837), Charles Green (1785-1870),
and James Sadler (1753-1828); Italian-English aeronaut Vincenzo Lunardi (or Vincent Lunardi) (1759-1806); and French aeronauts
François Arban (1815-1849), Jean-Pierre Blanchard (1753-1809),
Jacques Alexandre Cesar Charles (1746-1823), Andre Jacques Garnerin (1769-1823), Jean Francois Pilatre de Rozier (1756-1785),
Joseph Michel Montgolfier (1740-1810), Anne-Jeane Robert (1758-1820),
and Marie-Noel Robert (1760-1820).
Item types consist primarily of prints, illustrations, and broadsides, but also include ephemera such as handbills, advertisements,
original drawings and watercolors, invitations and tickets, handwritten notes,
newspaper and magazine clippings, handwritten notes, scraps of fabric from balloons and parachutes, and sheet music. Languages
represented include French, English, German, Dutch, and Latin.
The materials were first described by the Huntington Library in paper-based box lists and catalog records beginning the 1930s
and this finding aid builds off of the descriptions found therein. Two items listed in earlier box lists and included in this
(pri 470 Box 4, Item No. 44a and pri472 Box 3 Item, No. 28) were identified as missing.
The collection is arranged in two series:
- I. Scrapbook
- II. Loose prints and ephemera
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Blanchard, Jean-Pierre, 1753-1809.
Charles, Jacques Alexandre César, 1746-1823.
Green, Charles, 1785-1870.
Garnerin, André Jacques, 1769-1823.
Lunardi, Vincent, 1759-1806.
Montgolfier, Joseph-Michel, 1740-1810.
Sadler, James, 1751-1828.
Aeronautics -- 1770-1910.
Aeronautics -- History.
Aeronautics -- Pictorial works.
Aircraft -- Pictorial works.
Balloon ascensions -- Pictorial works.
Ballooning -- Pictorial works.
Balloons -- Pictorial works.
Balloonists -- France.
Balloonists -- Great Britain.
Balloonists -- Portraits.
Parachutes -- Pictorial works.