This Roosevelt Field map apparently relates to A Complete Map for Pilots Showing Long Island, New York and All Nearby Pastures for Flying Machines, a 1937 map by Eric Sloane printed on an aluminum foil sheet, which includes within a larger composition an inset map of Roosevelt Field. Indeed, it has some virtually identical elements such as the naming of the roads surrounding Roosevelt field. both maps are stylistically, artistically, and conceptually very similar, and immediately recognizable as the unique work of Sloane. Like the Complete Map, the offered Roosevelt Field map appears to have been produced and published in limited quantity by Sloane. The offered example is a photographic process black-and-white print on glossy thick paper, which perhaps was a proof edition or a master for printing the map in a publication, or making further prints.
Roosevelt Field was the nation’s first airport, located in Westbury, Long Island, New York. Originally called the Hempstead Plains Airfield, it encompassed 1,000 acres was a training field for the U.S. military during the World War I. Its eastern section was named Roosevelt Field after the death of President’s Theodore Roosevelt’s son during the war. During the Golden Age of Aviation it was the origin of historic flights such as Lindbergh’s 1927 solo transatlantic crossing. It expanded dramatically after 1929 into the country’s largest civilian airport, with hangars that could house up to 250 airplanes, new ramps and runways, the Roosevelt Aviation School for training pilots, and a variety of other buildings related to airport operations and travel. During World War II, general aviation moved to Floyd Bennett Field and what later became LaGuardia Airport, and the acreage gradually shrank until the last runway officially closed in 1951, to be replaced by a shopping center that bears its name.
Eric Sloane was born in New York City. He was an artist and self-educated Renaissance man: author, illustrator, painter and possibly the first TV weatherman. Initially trained in sign painting and lettering, he left home as a teenager to become an itinerant artist, painting signs on barns and stores. Back in the New York area and fascinated by aviation, he began painting lettering on airplanes at Roosevelt Field in Long Island. He traded painting lessons for flying lessons with the famous aviator Wiley Post. Aviation led to a lifelong passion of painting clouds and skies. He also was a prolific painter of landscapes, especially marsh scenes and picturesque rural vistas. Probably his best-known painting is Earth Flight Environment, a mural in the lobby of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Sloane also authored 38 books on American history, rural architecture, Early American tools, weather and aviation. According to his web site, “Sloane is credited with being the first television weatherman, having come up with the idea of having farmers from all over New England call in their weather observations to a Dumont, New York TV station where they could be broadcast to the regional audience.” His collection of antique tools is housed in the Sloane Stanley Museum in Kent, Connecticut. A colorful character, Sloane lived to age 80 and was married five times.
Complete Title: here’s to Roosevelt Field That fabulous Field of Flight and Fortune, the Focus for Famous Flying Folk.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, handling, and wear.
Smith, Marshall. “A Short Biography of Eric Sloane.” Eric Sloane. 1 November 1999. http://www.ericsloane.com/ (19 May 2009).
Waldvogel, Robert G. “Roosevelt Field: The Airport.” Metropolitan Airport News. 14 November 2022. https://metroairportnews.com/roosevelt-field-the-airport/ (9 October 2023).