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Mr. Durant's Ascension from Boston

 Digital Record
Identifier: VBI_000103


  • Creation: 1834

Conditions Governing Use

Access to the Theodore Newton Vail Collection of Aeronautical Images, Broadsides and Clippings is not authorization to publish. Separate written application for permission to publish must be made to the Institute Archives. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Ferson Durant was one of the most significant early U.S. aeronauts. He was also a recognized amateur scientist, farmer, businessman, printer, and a candidate for Mayor of Jersey City on the People's Party ticket. He trained in France with balloonist Eugene Robertson and made the first of his twelve American flights, attended by 20,000 viewers, from Castle Garden in New York on September 9, 1830. Durant was responsible for several technological advances in ballooning, including the design of a barometer specifically for aeronautics, and is often credited with introducing Americans to ballooning as entertainment. His final ascent took him 17 miles from Boston to Lincoln, Massachusetts.

Language of Materials


Existence and Location of Originals

Box 5

Physical Description

Art on Paper


20.3 x 17.0 cm

General Note

Engraving of Charles Durant’s final ascent, made from Boston on September 13, 1834. The print shows Durant waving to the large audience assembled below, many on the roof of a temporary amphitheater built for the ascent.

Sources used for Biographical/Historical note

Crouch, Tom D., The Eagle Aloft, Two Centuries of the Balloon in America (Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C., 1983), 145-158.

Rolt, L.T.C., The Aeronauts: A History of Ballooning 1783-1903 (Walker, New York, 1966), 140.

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
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