Catalog Archive
Auction 184, Lot 785

George Washington Observes First Manned Balloon Ascent in the United States

"[Account of the Balloon Ascent of Jean-Pierre Blanchard] The Salem Gazette. (Volume VII.) Tuesday, January 22, 1793. (Number 328.)",

Subject: Document - Balloon Flight, George Washington

Period: 1793 (published)


Color: Black & White

11.1 x 17.3 inches
28.2 x 43.9 cm
Download High Resolution Image
(or just click on image to launch the Zoom viewer)

This 4-page newspaper contains a detailed account of the balloon ascent of Jean-Pierre Blanchard on January 10, 1793, who made the first manned balloon ascent in America in Philadelphia. President Washington, like most of his fellow citizens, was fascinated with balloons. As early as 1784, he wrote “I have only news paper accts. of Air Balloons, to which I do not what credence to give. The tales related of them are marvelous, and lead us to expect that our friends at Paris, in a little time, will come flying thro’ the air, instead of ploughing the ocean to get to America.” Washington was on hand for the ascent, gave some remarks, and, because Blanchard did not speak English, provided the balloonist a “passport,” a letter urging citizens to assist the balloonist wherever he landed. The letter is referred to as the first air mail delivery in America. The report indicates Blanchard returned the same day and paid his respects to the President. His flight lasted 45 minutes and covered 15 miles. For a brief article on Washington and ballooning, click here.


Condition: B+

Mild toning with a couple of splits along the centerfold.

Estimate: $180 - $220

Sold for: $120

Closed on 9/15/2021