Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006

Charles Lindbergh: 1927

Lindbergh was TIME's first Man of the Year, for making the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean on May 20–21, 1927. For that 33 1/2-hour flight, Lindbergh was honored with awards, medals and parades throughout the world. But this intensely private man was never quite comfortable with the idolization thrust upon him, and did not conform to the image of hero the public sought.

Perhaps there was a hint of this in TIME's list of his characteristics: "Modesty, taciturnity, diffidence (women make him blush), singleness of purpose, courage, occasional curtness, phlegm." Although he found great happiness with his wife, Anne Spencer Morrow, whom he married in 1929, tragedy brought on by fame shattered their lives when their infant son, the first of their six children, was kidnapped and murdered in 1932. In his final years, Lindbergh developed a great interest in environmental causes. "If I had to choose," he said, "I would rather have birds than airplanes."

Researched by Joan Levinstein, the Time Inc. Research Center