PBS "History Detectives" Crew Drops in at University Archives

Tukufu Zuberi (left) of PBS’s “History Detectives” interviews Westport, CT autograph expert John Reznikoff University Archives. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

A PBS “History Detectives” series crew spent last Monday with University Archives' president John Reznikoff at their offices in Westport, Conn. Why? To see if John could help them solve a mystery about aviator Charles Lindbergh, famous for his 1927 nonstop flight from New York to Paris aboard his single-engine plane, “Spirit of St. Louis.”

Tukufu Zuberi, one of the show's hosts, interviewed Reznikoff for the program, which airs in June. They wanted him to authenticate autographs purportedly of Lindbergh and Igor Sikorsky on a piece of plexiglass-covered fabric and dated August 1943.

The autographs are owned by Jimmy Patterson of Staunton, Va., who said that his father worked at Sikorsky in 1943 when Lindbergh was a consultant. The autographed fabric was given to his dad as a souvenir.

Patterson said his father said the fabric was from the “Spirit of St. Louis,” but he didn't know why  helicopter inventor Sikorsky signed it. His father died when he was a teenager, before Patterson thought to ask more about it.

Zuberi asked Reznikoff if he thought the autographs were real and if the fabric actually came from the historic plane. Reznikoff been an innovator in the field of relics, and even holds a Guinness Book of Records entry for this field.

Among the relics University Archives currently owns are two of John F. Kennedy’s cars, Ernest Hemingway’s typewriter, Annie Oakley’s gun and Abraham Lincoln’s desk.

“History Detectives,” in its ninth season, explores the complexities of historical mysteries, searching out the facts, myths and conundrums that connect local folklore, family legends and interesting objects.

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Tags: John, Reznikoff, archives, autographs, charles, detectives, fabric, history, igor, lindbergh, More…of, signed, sikorsky, spirit, st.louis, university

Comment by Lou reves on February 16, 2011 at 7:49pm
This I gotta see! Love that show but since the republicans want to cut public tv maybe it wont be on!  Way to go John!
Comment by john reznikoff on February 17, 2011 at 4:33am
Thanks Louie....not allowed to talk about it but it was a great deal of fun!!!!!!
Comment by Steve Cyrkin, Admin on February 17, 2011 at 12:36pm
John, please post when the show will be on in June. Thanks
Comment by john reznikoff on February 17, 2011 at 12:45pm
I will for sure
Comment by Brandon Mysinger on February 24, 2011 at 5:50am
Comment by jp Cohen on July 19, 2011 at 9:46am
Looking forward to watching the show. I saw John Reznikoff on the show Pawn Stars last night! AWESOME John!


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