Display Status This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

The first crossing of the United States by airplane was achieved by Calbraith Perry Rodgers in 1911 in his Wright EX biplane, named the Vin Fiz. Rodgers decided to attempt the coast-to-coast flight in response to publisher William Randolph Hearst's challenge which offered a prize of $50,000 for the first transcontinental flight completed in 30 days. To finance the trip, Rodgers secured backing from the Armour Company, a Chicago firm that was introducing a new grape-flavored soft drink called Vin Fiz. Rodgers began his journey from Sheepshead Bay, New York, on September 17, 1911, but due to numerous stops, delays, and accidents, the 30-day time limit had expired before Rodgers reached California on November 5, 1911. Author Eileen F. Lebow wrote a book about Cal Rodgers' famous flight entitled, Cal Rodgers and the Vin Fiz: The First Transcontinental Flight. The book was published by the Smithsonian Institution Press in 1989.



Processing Information

Arranged, described, and encoded by Patti Williams, 2020.


Lebow, Eileen F.


1911 - 1976


Eileen Lebow, Gift, 2006, NASM.2007.0004


1.09 Cubic feet (3 boxes)


This collection consists of one cubic foot of research material gathered by Eileen Lebow to write Cal Rodgers and the Vin Fiz: The First Transcontinental Flight. The following types of material are included, which trace Rodgers' flight: copy photographs; vintage prints and postcards; copies of newspaper articles; and brochures.


No restrictions on access.


Collection descriptions

Archival materials

Newspaper clippings



Arrangement note

The collection is organized based on Ms. Lebow's original order. Box one consists primarily of photocopies of original source material (newspapers, correspondence), Ms. Lebow's correspondence, her notes, and brochures collected. Box two consists primarily of photocopies of news clippings from local papers following the flight of the Vin Fiz. Box three holds a variety of items, including photocopies of news clippings, published material on the Vin Fiz, photographs (both vintage and copy prints), notes and memorabilia. The material ranges in date from 1910 to 1997.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of one cubic foot of research material collected by Eileen Lebow for her book Cal Rodgers and the Vin Fiz: The First Transcontinental Flight. Included in this collection are the following materials: copy photographs, vintage prints and postcards, copies of newspaper articles, and brochures. Ms. Lebow's original order, which appears to be chronological, was primarily maintained; however, some folders were combined to encompass a broader topic (i.e. folders about individual family members were combined into "Rodgers Family Background" folder.)


Newspaper clippings




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.


Rodgers, Calbraith Perry

Topics Aeronautics -- Flights
Wright (Co) Model EX "Vin Fiz"
Airplane racing


Cal Rodgers and the Vin Fiz: The First Transcontinental Flight Collection, NASM.2007.0004, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

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