Over 125 Original Autographs of Aerospace Heroes

Collected by Major James G. Adams from 1931-1975

Over 40 Years Of Aerospace History Captured in Priceless Autographs on a Timeless Photograph of New York City

Orville Wright to Neil Armstrong, from the first flight to landing on the moon, over 40 years of aviation and aerospace history are chronicled on one iconic photograph. From 1931 to 1975, Major James G. Adams, a former World War I fighter pilot and World War II squadron commander, collected the signatures of almost every aeronautical great – all originals and inscribed on a black and white photograph of three biplanes flying over New York City. Airplane co-inventor Orville Wright’s signature is at the center of the photo.  Astronaut Neil Armstrong’s is in the right corner.


Among the 125+ signatures are those of Charles Lindberg, Amelia Earhart, Wiley Post, Ruth Nichols & Roscoe Turner. Adams began his autograph collection while he was operations supervisor at Floyd Bennett Field, New York City’s first airport. He played a role in an infamous airborne exploit. “I cleared ‘Wrong Way’ Douglas Corrigan for takeoff for California”, he said, “but then he flew to Europe instead.” Regarding Eddie Rickenbacker, “I trained with him during the first World War,” and Gen. Billy Mitchell, “I was his aide for a short time”.


“I met Howard Hughes (aviator, millionaire & recluse) after his around-the-world flight, when he landed at Floyd Bennett Field,” Adams said.  “He was in the lunchroom sketching and doodling.  Luckily I had the photograph with me.” Other famous signatures on Adams’ photograph include Gen. Paul Tibbets, who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Chuck Yeager, the first man to break the sound barrier, and Louis Bleriot, the first man to fly across the English Channel.


The collection also contains signatures of pioneers in commercial aviation and military greats such as Gen. Curtis LeMay and Adm. R. E. Byrd, the first man to fly over the north and south poles.  There is Jacky Cochran, “America’s greatest woman flier,” according to Adams; astronauts Deke Slayton and Thomas Stafford; and statesmen Prince Philip and Senator Barry Goldwater, a general in the Air Force Reserve. According to Adams, the Smithsonian Institution has expressed great interest in his unique collection. [Excerpts from the article “Picture This: A Souvenir Of Aviation’s Entire History, 40 Years Of Autographs” by Kit Salisbury, Palm Beach Daily News, Sunday, June 1, 1975.]


Major James G. Adams’ grandson and namesake, James Rardin is now the proud caretaker of this one of a kind and priceless historical treasure.



Dick Merrill-Eddie Rickenbacker-Harry Richman

Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan

Wiley Post

Jimmie Mattern

Roscoe Turner

Ruth Nichols

James G. Adams

Title: Major James G. Adams - Description: Photo of Major James G. Adams


Amelia Earhart

Howard Hughes

Jacky Cochran

George Pond-Casare Savelli