1931 · n.p.
Called ""one of the world's great artists"" by Alfred Stieglitz, Margaret Bourke-White ""epitomized the dynamic spirit of her age… covering the most important events of the mid-century"" (McDarrah, 52). A photographer at Fortune and Time, Bourke-White was ""one of the first photojournalists who told a news story in pictures and also wrote the text"" (New York Times), and as a Life staff photographer, she became ""of the most successful women in America"" (Parr & Badger I:140). During the early years of the Depression, Goodyear was one of Bourke-White's most important clients. She made this image of the airship Akron when it was removed from its hangar for the first time.The Akron was a helium-filled airship of the U.S. Navy which operated between September 1931 and April 1933. She was the world's first flying aircraft carrier, carrying F9C Sparrowhawk fighter planes which could be launched from and recovered by the airship while in flight. The Akron still holds the world record for largest helium-filled airship (the slightly larger Hindenburg and Graf Zeppelin II were filled with hydrogen). The April 4, 1933 crash of the Akron into the sea during heavy weather, which resulted in the loss of 73 crew and passengers (only three men survived)—the largest loss of life in any airship crash—spelled the end of the rigid airship program in the U.S. Navy, especially since one of the leading proponents of the airship program, Rear Admiral William Moffett, was aboard and died in the accident. The engraved inscription on the original frame reads: ""Winner/ C. Poley/ Third Annual Goodyear Dealers Zeppelin Race July-August 1931. This frame is made of Duralumin used in girder construction of the United States Airship 'Akron' built by the Goodyear Zeppelin Corporation."" Duralumin was the trade name of a very lightweight aluminum-copper alloy." (Inventory #: 60823)