This signed, typescript agreement between Lindbergh and his ghostwriter, J. Carlisle MacDonald, dated June 14, 1927, lays out the royalties the men would split—10% of the first $100,000; 7½% on the next $100,000; and 5% on any amount above $200,000—as well as the advance MacDonald would earn ($1,000), as the two collaborated on the book.
Lindbergh and MacDonald had worked together before on a series of New York Times reports, which earned Lindbergh $35,000 plus royalties. (Three years ago, an invoice outlining these payments sold at auction for a mere $200). For the book, however, Lindbergh was reportedly unhappy with MacDonald’s slipshod draft and demanded a three-week extension from his publisher, G.P. Putnam, during which he rewrote it in longhand.
We was a runaway success, selling more than 650,000 copies in the first year.
The contract, which goes to auction in New York on April 26, is estimated to reach $30,000-50,000. It was most recently owned by real estate developer and philanthropist Jay Kislak, who died in 2018.
Publishing contracts seldom appear at auction, although Pat Garrett’s contract to write a book about Billy the Kid sold for $21,562 at auction last year.