Harry Waterson writes:
David Lange’s piece on Robert Friedberg jogged my memory. Gimbels not only contributed to coin collecting at the commercial level but one of the
sons of the Gimbel Brothers amassed one on the great aeronautical collections in the US. I do not think Friedberg had any influence on Richard Gimbel
who had worked at Gimbels until 1935. Friedberg did not start at the department store until 1947 according to my research but they were
contemporaries so maybe they knew each other.
Harry attached a brochure with the story of the collection. Thanks! Here's an excerpt. -Editor
Numbering more than 20,000 items, this prestigious collection is the result of dedicated effort on the part of Colonel Richard Gimbel.
Unrivaled in the world, it documents the history of mankind's dreams of flight from the earliest times to the advent of powered flight early in
the twentieth century. Colonel Gimbel willed his collection to the United States Air Force Academy.
The Gimbel collection is extraordinarily diverse. Five-thousand-year-old cylinder seals carved from semi-precious stones depict mankind's
earliest dreams of flight. Rare coins and medals commemorate the great aviators and their achievements. Sheet music records aerial melodies. More
than 5,000 books address every aspect of aviation, including early experiments with wings, balloon ascents, the first parachutes, rocketry, and
detailed accounts of historic flights.
Montgolfier and Wright Medals
These medals honor Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier and Wilbur and Orville Wright. In June 1783, the Montgolfier brothers were the list to give a
public demonstration of a hot air balloon ascent. In December 1903, the Wright brothers were the first to make a powered flight in a heavier-than-air
A beautifully illustrated overview of the collection, The Genesis of Flight, was published by The Friends in 1999.
Richard Gimbel collected more than just aeronautics literature, and he collected on a grand scale. He's more background from Wikipedia.
After taking a year off to travel the world, Gimbel worked for his family's business overseeing the construction of their Philadelphia store
in 1927 and then as a vice president of Gimbel Brothers Company. In 1935, he left Gimbel Brothers after a dispute with his cousin Bernard Gimbel over
strategy and moved to Miami where he profitably ran a Richards store. In 1940, he joined the Army Air Corp as a lieutenant colonel and with the
Eighth Air Force as a pilot during World War II. In 1951, he was appointed Professor of Air Science and Tactics at Yale University. In 1953, he
retired as full colonel in 1953 and stayed with the library as curator of aeronautical literature.
In 1942, during the London blitz, he visited a bombed-out bookstore in London and purchased a trunk of aeronautical books. Thereafter, he was a
voracious collector of books specializing in Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, and Thomas Paine in addition to anything aeronautical. He purchased
the Philadelphia home of Edgar Allan Poe, filled it with his non-aeronautical collection, and presented it to the city of Philadelphia as the Edgar
Allan Poe House and Museum. Upon his death, he had over 100,000 items in his aeronautical collection.
To read the complete article, see:
Richard Gimbel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Gimbel)
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: APRIL 21, 2019 : Gimbels Coin Department Ephemera
Wayne Homren, Editor
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