PBS ‘History Detectives’ Series Comes to University Archives in Westport, CT

    PBS ‘History Detectives’ Series Comes to University Archives in Westport, CT


    A crew from the PBS series “History Detectives” came to Westport today to try to solve a mystery about Charles A. Lindbergh, who gained world fame with his 1927 nonstop flight aboard his single-engine “Spirit of St. Louis” from New York to Paris.

    One of the TV show’s hosts, Tukufu Zuberi, interviewed Westport autograph expert and collector John Reznikoff, president of University Archives on Richmondville Avenue for a program which will air in June.

    The objects of their attention were autographs of Lindbergh and Igor Sikorsky on a piece of plexi-glass-covered fabric and dated August 1943. “History Detectives” was trying to determine their authenticity.

    The autographs belong to Jimmy Patterson of Staunton, Va. He told the program that his father worked at Sikorsky in Stratford during 1943 when Lindbergh was a consultant and that the autographed fabric was given to him as a souvenir.

    Patterson’s father reportedly said the fabric came from the “Spirit of St. Louis.” But it was not clear why would helicopter inventor Sikorsky sign this fabric. Since his father died when he was just a teen, the item’s owner didn’t have a chance to ask more about this souvenir.

    Zuberi spoke to Reznikoff about whether the signatures are authentic and whether the fabric actually came from the airplane.

    Reznikoff, who has operated his business in Westport for the past 12 years, has been an innovator in the field of relics, and even holds a Guinness Book of Records entry for this field.

    Currently, University Archives, which Reznikoff started in 1979, owns two of John F. Kennedy’s cars, Ernest Hemingway’s typewriter, Annie Oakley’s gun, and Abraham Lincoln’s desk, among many other of the world’s greatest treasures.

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

    Above text taken from the article written by Dave Matlow