No one quite knows who rescued the books from their landfill fate, but soon they landed at Fred Washington’s OK Trading Post. There they lay, beneath some carpets, (or maybe they were tarpaulins) until a student at a local university noticed them and brought them to the attention of a Houston art collector. By 1970, all 12 volumes had found more permanent homes. Dealers and historians eventually tracked down some additional Dellschau works, including a series of three journals called Recolections [sic], that also tell the story of the Sonora Aero Club and its inventions, with “ink drawings of fanciful airships that accompany the texts look for all the world as if they had flown off the pages of a Jules Verne novel,” as flight historian Tom D. Crouch describes them.
What are these scrapbooks? Are they an elaborate fantasy, spun out of the overactive imagination of an aging man? An outright delusion? Or are they earnest recollections of a lost time, a commemoration of the best years of a long, hard life?
[Images: Courtesy of Stephen Romano]
Read more about the mysterious story of the Sonora Aero Club and Charles August Albert Dellschau, whose awe-inspiring work evokes images of a gold-hungry nation “seized with a dream of flight.”