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Catalog Data

Wise, John, 1808-1879  Search this
Wise, Charles  Search this
0.35 Cubic feet (1 box)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
The John and Charles Wise Ballooning Collection contains material related to American ballooning pioneer John Wise (1808-1870) and his son Charles.
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of the following material relating to American ballooning pioneers John and Charles Wise: correspondence between John Wise and Major Albert J. Meyer during the Civil War, several unfinished manuscripts, including "Electricity of Instinct", envelopes, letterhead, and newspaper articles relating to the 150th anniversaries of John Wise's famous flights. Most importantly, this collection includes a scrapbook full of newspaper accounts, circa 1850-1870, of both John and Charles Wise's ballooning careers.
This collection is arranged in two series: I. Documents II. Scrapbooks
Biographical / Historical:
John Wise (1808-1879), known to his contemporaries as the "Father of American ballooning", made his first balloon ascension in 1835, flying from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Haddenfield, New Jersey. During his long career, he was to make 446 free balloon ascensions in such craft as the Meteor, the United States, the Experiment, the Vesperus, and the Comet. In 1855, Wise flew 1,200 miles in 19 hours and 50 minutes in the Atlantic, setting a duration record that would stand until 1910. In the 1850s, Charles Wise, the aeronaut's son, joined him in his activities. In 1879, at the age of 71, John Wise made an ascension with passenger George Burr from St. Louis in the balloon Pathfinder; the balloon, Wise, and Burr were lost in Lake Michigan.
Jeanne Grist, Gift, 2000, NASM.2001.0002
No restrictions on access
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.
Aeronautics  Search this
Balloons -- pre-1900  Search this
Balloons -- History  Search this
Ballooning  Search this
John and Charles Wise Ballooning Collection, Acc. 2001.0002, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
John and Charles Wise Ballooning Collection
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives