When Byrd Was the Word (Richard E. Byrd)

Vintage Admiral Byrd Sports Apparel box

Until we stumbled upon this vintage apparel box in a nearby antique/book shop, we were unaware that there had been a clothing line named after the famous explorer Admiral Richard E. Byrd.

Sure enough, when we did an internet search, we actually found some vintage apparel from this line which is up for grabs!

Vintage Admiral Byrd leather jacket on E-Bay

Label inside Admiral Byrd leather jacket

Link to jacket offered for sale is HERE.

(Our thanks to Tynan for letting us post photos and a link to the jacket in this blog).

Not surprising, I suppose, for an American hero who was feted in not just one, but three ticker-tape parades in Manhattan during his glory days.

Famed aviator and explorer Richard E. Byrd (1888-1957) developed a passion for aviation after learning to fly during World War I.  It was the possibilities inherent in flight which captured Byrd’s imagination, and his abilities as an aviator became the means which led to his career as an eminent explorer.

A daring aviator, he was among the first to succeed in transatlantic flights.  In 1926 Byrd led an historic (and still controversial) first  flight to the North Pole.  His aviation experiences are detailed in his first book, Skyward (1928).

Skyward, Richard E. Byrd (Putnam, 1928, Second Printing, SIGNED by Byrd)

His apex of fame was reached during his first Antarctic expedition (1928-1930).  He named his base Little America and situated it on the Ross Ice Shelf, south of the Bay of Whales.  Little America established the first successful radio broadcasting from Antarctica, making regular broadcasts that could be picked up by household radio sets in the United States, more than 11,000 miles away around the Earth’s curvature.

During the 1934-35 expedition, many souvenir letters were sent from Little America, using a commemorative postage stamp issued by the U.S. government. On his second expedition, in 1934, Byrd spent five winter months by himself operating a meteorlogical station, Advance Base, where he narrowly escaped with his life after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning from use of a stove with inadequate ventilation.  This expedition is described by Byrd in his autobiography Alone.

Alone, Richard E. Byrd (NY: Putnam's, 1938, First Edition)

A film record of Admiral Richard Byrd’s 1928 expedition to the South Pole was entitled    With Byrd at the South Pole: The Story of Little America (1930).  The film was shot silent but was narrated by journalist Floyd Gibbons.  Here is a New York Times review of the film.

By the time of Byrd’s death, he had received twenty-two citations and special commendations, nine for bravery and two for extraordinary heroism in saving the lives of others. He received the Medal of Honor, the Lifesaving Medal, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Navy Cross.  The Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio was named in honor of Admiral Byrd in 1984.  Lunar crater Byrd is named after him, not to mention numerous ships, schools and libraries.

Richard E. Byrd is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

An extensive biography of Byrd is presented HERE.

Several books by or about Richard E. Byrd are available here at Old Scrolls Book Shop.

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