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(Byrd, Richard E.)
Banquet in Honor of The Commander and Crew of the “America” Commander Richard E. Byrd, Captain Bertran Acosta, Lieutenant George Noville, Lieutenant Bernt Balchen, and the Pilot of the “Columbia” Clarence D. Chamberlin, given by The City of New York The Mayor’s Committee on Receptions, Tuesday, July nineteenth Nineteen twenty-seven. Hotel Commodore New York City

[New York: 1927] quarto, 4 leaves, illustrated, in original stiff color pictorial wrappers, with cord tie. Some minor wear and staining to cover, else very good.

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Seating List City of New York Mayor’s Committee on Receptions. Banquet to The Commander and Crew of the “America” Commander Richard E. Byrd, Captain Bertran Acosta, Lieutenant George Noville, Lieutenant Bernt Balchen, and the Pilot of the “Columbia” Clarence D. Chamberlin Tuesday, July Nineteenth Seven-Thirty P.M. Hotel Commodore

[New York: M. B. Brown, Printing & Binding Co., 1927] octavo, 24 pp., plus wraps, with the manuscript notes of Lt. Col. Henry Pleasants, a guest at the banquet, seated at table 74, on rear wrapper, in good, clean condition.


Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr. (October 25, 1888 – March 11, 1957) was an American naval officer and explorer. He was a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the highest honor for valor given by the United States, and was a pioneering American aviator, polar explorer, and organizer of polar logistics. Aircraft flights in which he served as a navigator and expedition leader crossed the Atlantic Ocean, a segment of the Arctic Ocean, and a segment of the Antarctic Plateau. Byrd claimed that his expeditions had been the first to reach both the North Pole and the South Pole by air. His claim to have reached the North Pole is disputed. He is also known for discovering Mount Sidley, the largest dormant volcano in Antarctica.

In 1927, Byrd announced he had the backing of the American Trans-Oceanic Company, which had been established in 1914 by department-store magnate Rodman Wanamaker for the purpose of building aircraft to complete nonstop flights across the Atlantic Ocean. Byrd was one of several aviators who attempted to win the Orteig Prize in 1927 for making the first nonstop flight between the United States and France.

Once again, Byrd named Floyd Bennett as his chief pilot, with Norwegian Bernt Balchen, Bert Acosta, and Lieutenant George Noville as other crewmembers. During a practice takeoff with Anthony Fokker at the controls and Bennett in the co-pilot seat, the Fokker Trimotor airplane, America, crashed, severely injuring Bennett and slightly injuring Byrd. As the plane was being repaired, Charles Lindbergh won the prize by completing his historic flight on May 21, 1927. (Coincidentally, in 1925, then Army Air Service Reserve Corps Lieutenant Charles Lindbergh had applied to serve as a pilot on Byrd's North Pole expedition, but apparently, his bid came too late.)

Byrd continued with his quest to cross the Atlantic nonstop, naming Balchen to replace Bennett, who had not yet fully recovered from his injuries, as chief pilot. Byrd, Balchen, Acosta, and Noville flew from Roosevelt Field, East Garden City, New York, in the America on June 29, 1927. On board was mail from the US Postal Service to demonstrate the practicality of aircraft. Arriving over France the next day, they were prevented from landing in Paris by cloud cover; they returned to the coast of Normandy and crash-landed near the beach at Ver-sur-Mer (known as Gold Beach during the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944) without fatalities on July 1, 1927. In France, Byrd and his crew were received as heroes and Byrd was invested as an Officer of the French Legion of Honor by Prime Minister Raymond Poincare on July 6.

After their return to the United States, an elaborate dinner in their honor was held in New York City on July 19. Byrd and Noville were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by Secretary of the Navy Curtis D. Wilbur at the dinner. Acosta and Balchen did not receive the Distinguished Flying Cross because, at that time, it could only be awarded to members of the armed services and not to civilians.

Byrd wrote an article for the August 1927 edition of Popular Science Monthly in which he accurately predicted that while specially modified aircraft with one to three crewmen would fly the Atlantic nonstop, another 20 years were needed before it would be realized on a commercial scale.