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Berkshire Native and Grandson of Aviation Pioneer Writes Book
Benjamin Barrett Writes About Harold Bixby, Charles Lindbergh Friend and Backer


GREAT BARRINGTON, MA, August 2, 2019. Benjamin Barrett, owner of Berkshire Veneer has announced the publication of a book chronicling the evolution of technological flight through the life and experience of his grandfather, aviation pioneer, Harold M. Bixby (1890-1965). Bixby was a primary backer of Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic and is credited with naming the plane “The Spirit of St. Louis”. The Spirit Behind the Spirit of St. Louis gives a rare behind the scenes glimpse into Charles Lindbergh’s trans-Atlantic flight in 1927. The book contains photos and ephemera from Bixby’s life and work, including some rare and never before published images and correspondence. Barrett preserves the history of his grandfather’s significant role in the development of aviation worldwide, as well as illustrating the birth and history of aviation from balloons through his years at Pan American Airways, where Bixby worked until 1955.


“The impetus behind this book was the preservation of these wonderful historical documents that are part of our country’s aviation history, as well as that of the Bixby family. I felt the items were much too precious to have sitting on a shelf collecting dust. My hope is that future Bixbys will benefit from this archive, as well as the aviation historians of today and of the future.” stated Ben Barrett.


The Spirit behind the Spirit of St. Louis; Harold M. Bixby is a compendium of aviation history through the jet age as witnessed by Bixby himself. Historic events include ballooning in the early 1900s, the 1923 Air Races held in St. Louis, the first air mail routes as flown by Lindbergh, the preparation for and the execution of Lindbergh’s famous trans-Atlantic flight and the aftermath, Bixby’s 1933 trip to China as a representative of Pan American Airways and their 45% interest in China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) in order to establish passenger and airmail routes in China, the preparation for the arrival of the China Clipper in 1935 to the expansion of the Pan American empire worldwide.


I am thoroughly captivated by Benjamin Barrett’s book about the life and work of his grandfather, Harold Bixby, one of the most important figures in the development of aviation around the world. […] The book has been meticulously researched and beautifully presented, with careful arrangements of photographs, maps, letters and records for the reader to pore over. This is, first of all, a labor of love and hard work on the part of Ben Barrett in honor of his grandfather, but it is also a real gift to the history of aviation, and to those of us who remember the aviation pioneers.” —Reeve Lindbergh


The book has already received significant recognition, in the words of John H. Hill, Assistant Director, Curator-in-Charge of Aviation, SFO Museum: “A spectacular and insightful collection about one of the most important, and perhaps least known, figures in the development of American aviation.[ . . ] Rich in images and correspondence with other major players of the day, Ben Barrett has given us a rare look behind the scenes at the creation of the global air age.”