John and Charles Wise Ballooning Collection
Portions of this collection are digitized

Collection ID:
Wise, John, 1808-1879
Physical Description:
0.35 Cubic feet
1 box
The John and Charles Wise Ballooning Collection contains material related to American ballooning pioneer John Wise (1808-1870) and his son Charles.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of the following material relating to American ballooning pioneers John and Charles Wise: correspondence between John Wise and Major Albert J. Meyer during the Civil War, several unfinished manuscripts, including "Electricity of Instinct", envelopes, letterhead, and newspaper articles relating to the 150th anniversaries of John Wise's famous flights. Most importantly, this collection includes a scrapbook full of newspaper accounts, circa 1850-1870, of both John and Charles Wise's ballooning careers.

This collection is arranged in two series:
I. Documents
II. Scrapbooks

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
John Wise (1808-1879), known to his contemporaries as the "Father of American ballooning", made his first balloon ascension in 1835, flying from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Haddenfield, New Jersey. During his long career, he was to make 446 free balloon ascensions in such craft as the
, the
United States
, the
, the
, and the
. In 1855, Wise flew 1,200 miles in 19 hours and 50 minutes in the
, setting a duration record that would stand until 1910. In the 1850s, Charles Wise, the aeronaut's son, joined him in his activities. In 1879, at the age of 71, John Wise made an ascension with passenger George Burr from St. Louis in the balloon
; the balloon, Wise, and Burr were lost in Lake Michigan.

Allan Janus
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Jeanne Grist, Gift, 2000, NASM.2001.0002
Processing Information
Arranged, described, and encoded by Allan Janus, 2018.

Digital Content
More …
Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
No restrictions on access
Conditions Governing Use
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.
Preferred Citation
John and Charles Wise Ballooning Collection, Acc. 2001.0002, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

More Information

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Aeronautics Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Balloons -- pre-1900 Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Balloons -- History Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ballooning Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wise, Charles Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Air and Space Museum Archives
14390 Air & Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, VA 20151