Alan R. Hawley
Alan R. Hawley
Collection of Costyn van Dongen
Collection of Costyn van Dongen
  Augustus Post  
  And there is Charles A. Otis, center, presenting George Scragg, Blanche Scott and Augustus Post in behalf of the EBs with the Cleveland Sesquicentennial Commission plaque commemorating Glenn Curtiss Lake Erie flight of August 21, 1910.
from CHIRP - APRIL, 1947 - NUMBER 35.
courtesy of Steve Remington - CollectAir

Alan R. Hawley
  Missouri Historical Society  
The start of the 1907 Gordon Bennett International Balloon Race


In 1907, St. Louis was host to the James Gordon Bennett International Aeronautic Club Race, the "first ever held in the United States." The Trophy, plus a cash prize of $2,500, had been donated in 1906 by James Gordon Bennett, publisher of the New York Herald Tribune, for an annual international long distance balloon race to be conducted by the International Aeronautic Federation.
     The cup itself was of solid silver, 19 1/2 inches high and 31 1/2 inches long. It had been executed by the House of Andre Aucoc of Paris and was valued at $2,500.
     The first International Balloon Race was started from Paris on September 30, 1906. It was won by Lieutenant Frank P. Lahm of the United States, who bested fifteen other entrants from six other nations by traveling 402.40 miles to Flying Dales, England. His victory gave the Aero Club of America the right to hold the Gordon Bennett Cup until the next competition and it gave the United States the right to be the seat of the international race for 1907.
     In commemoration of Lieutenant Lahm's triumph, the Aero Club of America instituted the Lahm Aeronautic Cup contest for a $1,500 silver trophy made by Black, Starr, and Frost of New York. The competition was open to all licensed balloonists of every nation, but all trials for the cup had to begin in the United States and all contenders had to belong to the Aero Club of America.
     To win the cup, the entrant had to exceed the distance Lieutenant Lahm himself had traveled in winning the first International Balloon Race in 1906 -- 402.40 miles.
     The second American entry was the 77,000-cubic-foot St. Louis, flown by Alan R. Hawley, 38, who had made nineteen flights. He was aided by Augustus Post, secretary of the Aero Club of America. They were representing the Aero Club of St. Louis, which had paid $1,200 for the balloon, as well as a $500 customs duty since it had been built in France expressly for the race by Maurice Mallet.
     On October 17, Alan Hawley and Augustus Post got away at 6:35 p.m. in the 35,000-cubic-foot Stevens No. 21 on a routine trial flight. The ascension was witnessed by many of the Gordon Bennett contestants, as well as a large crowd of spectators. The Stevens No. 21 landed twelve hours later at 6:30 a.m. at Boggstown, Indiana, only 225 miles away, for the two aeronauts had taken only 280 pounds of ballast and did not expect a long flight. During the trip they kept a diary and made several interesting entries;
  9:10 - Gunshot fired; scared us pretty bad for a while. I don't
think it was fired maliciously, but it is a poor way to greet a balloonist.
10:41 - Drag rope tore off front fence of cottage. Woman came
out and said something; couldn't understand her; didn't particularly
want to.
11:00 - Sullivan, at an elevation of 600 feet, drag rope struck
roof of Masonic Home. Some one came out and yelled; "This is
The Masonic Home 135 miles from St. Louis.
       By October 23, the results of the Gordon Bennett International Race, which had been started two days earlier, were tentatively known. The St. Louis (United States) - Alan R. Hawley, pilot and Augustus Post, aide, was in fifth place, having traveled 714.500 miles to Westminister, Maryland.  

Alan R. Hawley

"America II," Mr. Hawley's balloon, is nearest the gasometer, and is indicated
by a cross. It was the ninth to start.

Collection of Costyn van Dongen

On 17 October 17,1910 the fifth Gordon Bennett balloon race had begun at St. Louis with ten starters. Alan R. Hawley and Augustus Post of the Aero Club of America in the America II had vanished into the Canadian wilderness, leaving the world in suspense for a week while they made their way out on foot. Aeronautics had pride of place in the news.
From Blue Ribbon of the Air
Editors Note:

I was privileged to know Henry during several years before his death. He was an fascinating companion and a lifetime friend of aviation.
For the complete story of the Gordon Bennett Race, I invite you to read Henry's book.


via email from Debi Stewart, 1-26-12
I am currently working on a historic preservation project and have come across Augustus Post in researching for this project.

Fascinating character no less.

I am working with the NEPA Boy Scout council in preserving Dan Beards cabin from his outdoor school in Pike County, PA. (see links for more about the project)

Augustus Post came each summer to teach Aviation at Dan Beard's Outdoor School (and I also read something that he and Alex Hawley had visited the camp.)

I am currently researching the history of the school and working on information in regards to people connect with it.

In your research on Augustus Post or Alex Hawley, would you by any chance have information on them in connection to Daniel C. Beard (artist, National Boy Scout Commissioner and one of the Founders)? Or could you direct me as to where I might find information on Augustus Post. I have skimmed the letters from Augustus Post in the Daniel C. Beard files at the Library of Congress. However, I would like to obtain more information on Post and his association with the Dan Beard Outdoor School for Boys.

Your website is fantastic and very interesting ... great contribution to the early Aviation History in the USA.


Dan Beard's Cabin

You and your time is appreciated.

Thank you,

Debi Stewart

Editor's Note: If you can help Debi with her research, please contact me.

City of Flight
The Story of the Early Birds
by Henry Serrano Villard
Thomas Y. Crowell Company
The History of Aviation in St. Louis
by James J. Horgan
The Patrice Press
The Gordon Bennett Races
by Henry Serrano Villard
Smithsonian Institution Press

  One of the most active of the Early Birds was Augustus Post, who passed on in October, 1952, at the age of seventy-eight, and who was absent for the first time from an Early Bird reunion that year. Aviation lost one of its most colorful characters in his passing. Besides being the thirteenth man in the United States to fly an aeroplane, he was a pioneer balloon racer; he was one of the first auto racers; and an actor --- who frequently took parts in Broadway plays. He was a writer, a publisher, a poet, and he was a co-founder of the Aero Club of America. He was a witty raconteur, among his favorite tales being the one about the balloon race in which he competed in about the year 1900, when his balloon burst over Berlin and he descended 3,000 feet in his parachute, landing on a rooftop right outside a ladies boudoir window! You could spot Augustus Post in any crowd. He wore a moustache and goatee which gave him a striking resemblance to Buffalo Bill. He used to way his goatee was a sign of patriotism because Uncle Sam wears one. He also claimed that it gave him a look of distinction, of elegance, and masculinity -- which indeed it did. He would not stand out in a present day group where beards are almost standard! He knew all about aeronautical events and personages from pre-airplane days right up to the present moment.
     He was proud to have pioneered the automobile too. In one of his letter to us dated February 28, 1948, he said, "We are looking forward to next year's air races. I am sure we'll have the same good time. Sorry to lose Orville and Dick Depew", and he enclosed a pen sketch of himself driving a Winton car in a race from New York to Chicago in 1904. He is pictured wearing the conventional linen duster, goggles, and guantlets of the period.
From The Day The Airmail Began

Augustus Post died in 1952
From The Early Birds of Aviation ROSTER, 1996

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