These digital reproductions of vintage French aviation postcards are from the Charles Lewis Collection in Dunbar Library's Special Collections and Archives. The images remind us of the precarious state of controlled, powered flight in the autumn of 1909. Printed in Lille, France, the images concentrate on French aeronauts such as Henry Farman, Louis Blériot and Louis Paulhan. The unknown publisher also chose to include international pioneers like Germany's Count Zeppelin, Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont, and Americans Wilbur Wright and Glenn Curtiss. Women in aviation are represented by the daring Baroness Elise de Laroche, a student of the pilot, Gabriel Voisin. These pioneers of the air were among the most famous celebrities of their day.

Wilbur Wright, 1867-1912

Wilbur Wright, 1867-1912

Robert Esnault-Pelterie, 1881-1957

Robert Esnault-Pelterie, 1881-1957

Maurice Clément

Maurice Clément

Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, 1838-1917

Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, 1838-1917

Henri, Comte de la Vaulx, 1870-1930

Henri, Comte de la Vaulx, 1870-1930

Bunau-Varilla, 1859-1940

Bunau-Varilla, 1859-1940

Germé

Germé

Kluijtmans

Kluijtmans

Ambroise Goupy, 1876-1951

Ambroise Goupy, 1876-1951

Roger Sommer, 1877-1965

Roger Sommer, 1877-1965

Louis Blériot, 1872-1936

Louis Blériot, 1872-1936

Louis Paulhan, 1883-1963

Louis Paulhan, 1883-1963

Louis Godard

Louis Godard

Comte de Lambert, 1865-1944

Comte de Lambert, 1865-1944

Jean Gobron

Jean Gobron