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Handwritten letter from Alberto Santos Dumont (1927)

Handwritten letter from Alberto Santos Dumont (1927)

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"I'm only 54 years old, but I think I've been working too hard and I'm like a 70-year-old man because everything tires me."

Unpublished handwritten letter from Alberto Santos Dumont to Paul Tissandier. One page. In French. Gstaad, Switzerland. January 8, 1927. Excellent condition. Single piece.

Portuguese translation

My dear Tissandier,

I came here to Gstaad, it's close to Val-mont, two hours already seems like a long journey!

I'm only 54 years old, but I think I've been working too hard and that I'm like a 70-year-old man because everything tires me: I don't feel like skiing anymore, I go for a walk, I haven't done any of the excursions yet.

As for/As far as the future is concerned, I don't know what I'm going to do. It is very likely that I will return to Val-Mont. I'm afraid I can't live in a big city anymore.

I'm sorry I can't tell you if I'll have the strength to travel to Paris. A thousand friendships for the whole family.

Your Friend.

Santos Dumont.

Park Hotel, Gstaad, 8.1.27

Known by Brazilians as the father of aviation, Alberto Santos Dumont (1873 - 1932), the first man to take off aboard a plane propelled by a gasoline engine, does not hold the same title in other countries around the world. The question about who invented the first plane still provokes clashes. The North Americans, Wright brothers have their paternity recognized in most of the nations. In France, for example, Clément Ader carries the honor of merit. However, if they all contributed to the history of aviation, why not share this child's record? Whether this is a question of ego or authorship, for the great geniuses, it was difficult to share the glories of their revolutionary invention.

Even so, the era of pioneers came to an end, and the blow was very hard for the Brazilian aviator. Dumont's weak mental state can be seen in the letter he wrote to his friend Tissandier, a famous engine inventor, in 1927. At that time, our father of aviation was already admitted to a rehabilitation clinic in Valmont, Switzerland , where he spent several years treating his psychiatric condition. In the letter, Dumont talks about his tiredness, and that despite being only 54 years old, he feels like a 70-year-old man, without energy for activities that previously gave him pleasure. As for the future, I don't know what to do, he said in his lyrics.

After the years of hard work that drained his health, aviation became popular, and with it, the exclusivity of its creators disappeared. Other events ended up undermining the creator's self-esteem, he had to admit that the Wrights were the creators of the first plane, and, moreover, he saw his great invention being used for military purposes of mass destruction in the First World War. Perhaps for this reason, Dumont, as he himself states in his letter, no longer thought of living in a big city, he was tired of the buzz.

Even if the story doesn't have the happiest of endings, it is certainly a learning experience. Dumont was a genius who revolutionized the world, but he couldn't control his thoughts. Whether or not he was the sole inventor of the airplane, his contribution is undeniably part of the whole human effort to fly, and it is as part of a society, not as isolated individuals, that we evolve. What would Dumont say if he knew that his invention was essential to proliferate the health crisis we are experiencing today? But also how many hugs, encounters and moments of happiness did aviation bring to our lives? When we learn to share the glories and the calamities equally, we will collectively grow.

This letter announces the tragic end of Santos Dumont whose letters, autographs and photographs are sought after by collectors around the world.

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