Clarence Duncan Chamberlin bibliography

Clarence Duncan Chamberlin (November 11, 1893 – October 30, 1976) was the second man to solo fly across the Atlantic Ocean, and he was the first to carry a passenger.
  • Time magazine; June 13, 1927; One was a wiry, serious-looking man of 32—Charles Duncan Chamberlin—a product of one of Iowa's many Main Streets, in the town of Denison. Early in life he developed a passion for tinkering with automobile engines. He studied electrical engineering at Iowa State University. He worked in a jewelry store. He married a pretty girl named Wilda Bogert. He went into aviation through the path traveled by so many young pilots—training in the Army during Wartime, barnstorming, stunt flying. Then he got a backer and a superbly designed Wright-Bellanca monoplane. He shattered the endurance record by remaining in the air (with chunky Bert Acosta) for 51 hours. He was ready to conquer the Atlantic long before Captain Charles Augustus Lindbergh came out of the West, but bickerings disturbed his camp. The other was a stocky Jew of 30—Charles A. Levine—an industrialist of Brooklyn. He began his business career by selling second-hand automobiles. He made several million dollars by salvaging ammunition after the War. He met his wife when she won a Brooklyn beauty contest. Something romantic in him, as well as shrewd business acumen, prompted him to affiliate himself with aviation manufacturing. The U. S. Government refused to grant him an air mail contract, criticized his record. Aviators said he was trying to commercialize a sport, when financial squabbles delayed Chamberlin's flight. Levine had to do something adventurous to vindicate himself. Secretly, in a Long Island hotel on the night before the takeoff, Levine planned to make the flight with Chamberlin. He wrote a letter to his wife telling why; he made his will disposing of a $5,000,000 estate. At 6:05 a. m. he amazed the crowd at Roosevelt Field and caused his wife to swoon, when he quietly climbed into the Columbia's cockpit beside Chamberlin and was off for somewhere in Europe. Chamberlin followed Captain Lindbergh's general route from Long Island to Newfoundland and thence across the Atlantic. Some 340 miles west of Land's End, England, Chamberlin and Levine circled around the Cunarder Mauretaytia, only 80 minutes after the liner had passed the U. S. cruiser Memphis, which was carrying Captain Lindbergh to Washington. With the setting of the sun, the lemon-colored wings of the Columbia were seen over Plymouth, England. Then the favoring winds seemed to point to Germany; so Chamberlin steered diagonally across the English Channel, Belgium and Holland. At dawn, with the gasoline supply exhausted, Chamberlin made a successful landing at Eisleben, Germany, 110 miles went of Berlin. He had flown 3,905 miles in 42 hours, 32 minutes —exceeding in distance, but not in speed, Captain Lindbergh's non-stop flight of 3,610 miles in 33 hours, 29 minutes. Revived with gasoline, the Columbia set out for Berlin where a gigantic welcome was in store. But fortune decreed an unromantic end. Off the course, lost in a fog, developing engine trouble—due perhaps to the new brand of gasoline—the Columbia smashed its propeller while making a forced landing in a muddy field near Kottbus, 70 miles southwest of Berlin. To Chamberlin and Levine, the good burgomaster of Kottbus offered beer.

  • Time magazine; June 20, 1927; There is no doubt that Pilot Clarence Duncan Chamberlin and Passenger Charles A. Levine accomplished a heroic feat (TIME, June 13). Daring, they made a non-stop flight of 3,905 miles—the longest in history. Resolute, they reached Berlin after twice being forced to descend en route. Worthy, they were honored by President Paul von Hindenburg and the German people. Yet, despite their courage, despite their achievement, certain critics, captious, unpraising, sought to undermine their standing as heroes. Passenger Levine was particularly subjected to ill-natured criticism. Glorious in itself, their flight was followed by a series of "incidents" regrettably interfering with true appreciation of their accomplishment. Prominent among such incidents were: Unlucky. Among the first utterances of Passenger Levine, after landing in Germany, was a cablegram to the Hearst press: "Lindbergh was lucky and we were not. If we had had one-tenth of Lindbergh's luck, we would have done much better. The wind was against us 75% of the way. . . . Still, we flew for 44 hours, and covered 4,400 miles as against Lindbergh's 33½ hours and 3,600 miles. But Lindbergh was lucky and we were not." Coolidge's Congratulations. The Jewish Press was irate because President Coolidge ignored Passenger Levine in cabling congratulations to Pilot Chamberlin. Said The Day (a Jewish daily published in Manhattan): "At last we, too, are convinced of the great economy of our President. He is so parsimonious, he watches so closely the cash register of Uncle Sam that even the great sum of about 66c (the cost of cabling three words to Germany) is of importance to him. "Two men left New York; two men risked their lives; two men have shown heroism and created a record even greater than Lindbergh's. Two men left; two men arrived, Americans both. But the President of the United States congratulates only one, and by strange coincidence the one whom the President has not found worthy of being mentioned by name is named Levine. "Would Roosevelt have acted in this way? Would Wilson have done it, or, for that matter Alfred Smith if he happened to be in the White House? But why should we wonder? Was ever a man with a Jewish name honored and recognized during the last Administration? "Sixty-six cents economy, or the recognition of an American pioneer—and the 66c win, or is it only because the pioneer happens to be called Levine?" Cancelled Stamps. Postmaster General Harry S. New reprimanded Fred Sealy, Hempstead, Long Island, postmaster, because he had cancelled air mail stamps on 250 letters which Passenger Levine carried across the Atlantic. Neither Levine nor Chamberlin had any right to carry U. S. mail. Furthermore, the cancellation and the trip to Europe increased the value of each stamp from a few cents to $50 to $1,000, according to varying estimates. Several dozen of the letters bearing these stamps were said to be addressed to Passenger Levine. Said Hempstead Postmaster Sealy: "Gosh, I'm sorry I got into this mixup. I didn't know that there was any controversy between the Post Office and Mr. Levine. "Gosh, I didn't mean any harm. I just felt patriotic and wanted to do a personal favor—that's all." Said Charles C. Lockwood, counsel for Mr. Levine: "It was, and still is, our purpose to deliver all the cancelled stamps which we receive back to Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, for them to retain such stamps as they want and distribute the others to museums and historic institutions." Passports. The flyers did not carry passports with them. Said Pilot Chamberlin: "I have no passport and I don't want one." Said Passenger Levine: "I doubt if anyone will trouble us over passports." French Reaction. The Berlin correspondent of the Paris Midi aroused Frenchmen with the following dispatch: "The moment has come to direct attention to the strange attitude adopted by the aviators as well as by the diplomatic representatives of the U. S., since the landing in Berlin. They systematically keep French journalists and officials out of all manifestations, social or political, in honor of the pilots of the Columbia." 
  • Time magazine; June 27, 1927; Pilot Clarence Duncan Chamberlin and passenger Charles A. Levine were last week enjoying the hospitality of Germans, resting in the watering place known as Bden-Baden, inspecting huge multi-motored airships at the Dornier and Zeppelin plants. Some of their doings: Fraulein Thea Rasche, Germany's only licensed woman pilot, was taken for a ride over Berlin by Pilot Chamberlin. Skillful, she also took passenger Levine for a ride. Correspondents heralded the trips as strengthening to U.S. - German relations. Flyers Chamberlin and Levine hustled to Bremen to meet their respective wives, who arrived from the U.S. Said Mrs. Chamberlin on seeing her husband: "Why, your knickers are awful. Didn't you even have them cleaned?" Then the two couples flew to Berlin in three hops. The two wives were reported to be feeling ill after the first hop. "The Columbia is not on the market," said Mr. Levine when Grover Cleveland Bergdoll, rich U.S. slacker now living in Germany, offered to buy the monoplane. Mr. Bergdoll let it be known that he desires to fly to the U.S. to show that he is no coward, that conscientious objection was his only reason for refusing to fight in the World War.