“Lindbergh Lands in Paris,” May 21, 1927: The Story about the Story

This is the day that Charles Lindbergh landed in Paris, after 33+ hours alone in The Spirit of St. Louis, the day that changed his life and the world forever.

mpls journal 052227 headlineNewspapers all over the world trumpeted the news in banner headlines, but I’ve always been partial to this one, from the Minneapolis Journal (which no longer exists, like most papers from 1927), published the next day (May 22), of course.  The reason I’m fascinated by it is that stack of headlines on top and off to the left.  The “news” here is not just that Lindbergh had landed in Paris the night before, but that here, right here in THIS newspaper, he “tells own story.”   Those are key words:  Lindbergh will be doing the telling, and it will be his OWN STORY–not the words of some breathless ghostwriter.  Then   another layers of headline:  “World’s First Flier To Hop Ocean in One Flight Tells His Story.”  Then another:  “Lindbergh, in U.S. Ambassador’s Pajamas, Recounts Adventures.”  (more telling).  Then another:  “The Journal herewith presents Captain Charles A. Lindbergh’s own story of his epic flight . . . as told this morning to the American ambassador, Myron T. Herrick.”

Lindbergh was indeed in pajamas when he told his story at the American embassy to a small group of reporters, but later he would telling even more of it in an exclusive deal with the New York Times.  What’s interesting here is that the newspaper is selling the fact–repeatedly–that it has THE story, and that its Lindbergh’s own.  Clearly, readers of newspapers in the scandal-ridden days of 1920s “ballyhoo” had come to expect quite the opposite–flamboyantly embroidered stories of celebrities and crime.  Here, the paper announced, was going to be the Real Thing.

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