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Minnesota Historical Society buys Charles Lindbergh goggles

Lindbergh, the first person to ever fly a solo transatlantic flight, has a complicated legacy.

The Minnesota Historical Society has acquired a pair of goggles once belonging to Charles Lindbergh, the latest in a number of artifacts the organization keeps from the famous Minnesota aviator.

The aviator goggles were bought at auction for $8,500 after they were gifted to a New York City physician by Lindbergh’s widow, according to a Monday press release from MNHS.

Lindbergh, a former reserve officer in the Missouri National Guard, gained international fame when he flew the first solo transatlantic flight in 1927 in the Spirit of St. Louis. But Melissa Peterson, site manager at Charles Lindbergh House and Museum, said the goggles purchased by MNHS serve as a reminder of the work Lindbergh did after the historic flight.

Following his crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, Lindbergh served as an advisor for Pan American Airways and Transcontinental Air Transport, where he helped establish transcontinental and intercontinental air route systems, according to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

“These goggles will help MNHS share additional stories of Lindbergh's work in aviation beyond his 1927 flight,” Peterson said in the press release.

It's hoped that eventually the goggles will become part of a larger collection of Lindbergh artifacts by the MNHS, which operates the Charles Lindbergh House and Museum in his hometown of Little Falls.

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But Lindbergh’s legacy in Minnesota and across the globe is complicated by his actions later in life, which include a documented fascination with the practice of eugenics.

In Scott Berg’s book “Lindbergh,” Berg writes Lindbergh frequently talked about the practice with his colleague Dr. Alexis Carrel.

“Sitting in the doctor's high-walled garden or by the fireplace late into the night, the two men discussed improving qualities within the human species and the population at large, through diet and reproduction,” Berg wrote.

The goggles will also be made available for viewing on MNHS’s website. 

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