On Sunday, May 10, the United States and many other countries will be celebrating Mother’s Day. Several National Air and Space Museum Archives collections contain photographs of aviators and their mothers. Here are a few. Before he was promoted to Brigadier General for leading the 1942 bombing raids on Tokyo, James H. Doolittle was just little Jimmy in Nome, Alaska. His family had followed his father to Alaska to stake their claim in the Gold Rush. During their time there, Jimmy posed with his mother and a cat outside their house (you can even see the snow piles in the background). This photo can be found in the James H. Doolittle Scrapbooks (Acc. No. XXXX-0501), featuring Doolittle’s early years in Nome, his international and domestic travels, the Tokyo raids, and family events.
It is probably not easy being the mother of a daring record breaker. Evangeline Lodge Land Lindbergh’s first words upon hearing of her son Charles’ successful solo crossing of the Atlantic were: “I am grateful. There is no use attempting to find words to express my happiness.” The Lindberghs had separated when young Charles was seven and he and Evangeline frequently traveled between California, Minnesota, and Washington, DC, where Lindbergh’s father, also Charles, was a congressman. In 1923, Lindbergh took his mother barnstorming in Minnesota and Iowa. It is no wonder she posed proudly with her famous son.
Cecil M. Peoli began his aviation career as an award winning model builder and soon was taken under the wing of Captain Thomas S. Baldwin as an exhibition aviator. In August 1912, he made headlines with his plans to break the American passenger-carrying record by flying with his mother, Cassandra Peoli, from Mineola to Governor’s Island in a Baldwin Red Devil. Unfortunately, Peoli died in a 1915 test flight crash in College Park, Maryland, at the age of 22.
Even when not present, his mother was rarely far from an aviator’s mind. During World War II, Sgt. Edmund C. Kock, a member of a heavy bombardment group of the U.S. Army 15th AF, based in southern Italy, looked at a photograph and began his letter to Mrs. George Berruarch with, as the Army Air Force caption reads, “Two little words, familiar to Army men everywhere.” “Dear Mom.”
Happy Mother's Day!!