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Jeffries Air-Mail Letter Collection, 1784-1961
(ca. 0.75 linear ft.) 1 half archives box, 1 flat box, 1 folder

Abstract:
American physician; first American to be airborne. Includes a letter dropped from Jeffries' balloon during his historic flight, as well as clippings, correspondence and other materials about the letter.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

There is no restriction on access to boxes 1 and 2 of the Jeffries Air Mail Letter Papers for research use. Access to the original letter is restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Amherst College Archives and Special Collections

Biographical Note

On November 30,1784, American physician John Jeffries (1745-1819) and French inventor Jean Pierre Blanchard (1753-1809) flew in a balloon from London to Stone Marsh, Kent. Dr Jeffries was the first American to fly, as well as the first meteorologist; and this flight was the occasion for the first airborne scientific observations of the atmosphere. To amuse himself, Dr Jeffries wrote four notes to friends and dropped them over the side. Three of them were found and delivered to their addresses. The only one of these that still survives was addressed to Mr. Arodie Thayer. This note, considered the oldest piece of airmail in existence, was gifted to Amherst College by his nephew Thatcher Thayer (AC 1831).

The note is a badly stained, yellowed 3 x 5 card. The original is thought to have been written in a quick-fading ink made from pokeberries, and to have been traced over subsequently (and not always correctly) with pencil. Despite the tracer's efforts, a good portion of the note is too indistinct to be decipherable.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The collection consists of the original airmail letter written by Jeffries plus the following: several photographic reproductions, various clippings relating to the letter, correspondence about its preservation, and a scrapbook compiled by S.R. Williams, director of the Snell Museum of Physics at Amherst College, presented to the College in 1947.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

There is no restriction on access to boxes 1 and 2 of the Jeffries Air Mail Letter Papers for research use. Access to the original letter is restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

[Identification of item], in John Jeffries Air Mail Letter Collection [Box #, Folder #], Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library

History of the Collection


Additional Information
Contact Information
Amherst College Archives and Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
PO Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000

Phone: (413) 542-2299
Fax: (413) 542-2692

Email Reference Form: http://www.amherst.edu/library/archives/askus
URL: http://www.amherst.edu/library/archives

Language
English.