History In Ink®  Historical Autographs


Eddie Rickenbacker

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Beautiful signature of the World War I ace

from the year of his near-fatal airplane crash

Edward Vernon Rickenbacker, 1890–1973.  American World War I ace.  Bold signature, Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker 1941, on a 3" x 5"card.

This is a magnificent signature of Rickenbacker, America's foremost fighter pilot in World War I.  As a member of the 94th Aero Squadron, Rickenbacker scored 26 victories over German fighter and reconnaissance planes and observation balloons over France.  He held the American record until World War II.  In 1931, President Herbert Hoover belatedly awarded him the Medal of Honor for his performance in World War I.  He also received the Distinguished Service Cross and the French Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre.

This signature dates from 1941, the year of Rickenbackerʼs near-fatal plane crash.  After World War I, Rickenbacker became involved in various business ventures, including owning both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which he bought in 1927, and Eastern Air Lines, which he bought in 1938.  On February 26, 1941, Rickenbacker was extremely gravely injured when the Eastern Air Lines Flight 21, a Douglas DC-3 airliner on which he was traveling, crashed near Atlanta, Georgia, while attempting to land.  Eight of the 16 passengers were killed, including Maryland Congressman William D. Byron.  Rickenbacker and seven others survived.  Rickenbacker was trapped in the wreckage and twice nearly left for dead, first at the crash site and later at the hospital.  His left eyeball was blown out of its socket, and he suffered a fractured skull and other head injuries, broken ribs, a broken pelvis and left knee, a crushed left elbow with a crushed nerve that paralyzed his left hand, a crushed hip socket, and a severed nerve in his left hip.  It took several months for him to recover.

Rickenbacker has signed this card in black fountain pen with his World War I rank and has dated it beside the signature.  The card is uniformly toned and has an almost imperceptible light ⅝" horizontal crease above the “C" in "Capt."  The corners are rough from prior mounting.  On the back of the card, Rickenbackerʼs name is written in black ink at the top, and there is an old dealer price notation in pencil.  Overall the piece is very fine.

Unframed.  Please ask us about custom framing this piece.

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