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  • Louis Loud Collection

Albert Louis Loud was born in Virden, Illinois, in 1886. He began his career as an engineer accompanying his brother in law, photographer and engineer Melvin Vaniman, on Walter Wellman's third unsuccessful attempt to reach the North Pole by dirigible in 1909. The Wellman-owned dirigible, America, ended its flight after two hours when the ship lost the ability to stabilize and maintain altitude.

In October 1910, Loud again accompanied Vaniman as an assistant engineer on the America during an unsuccessful attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The crossing failed after 38 hours in flight after which the Royal Mail steamship Trent rescued the crew. Loud continued to work with Vaniman on a second attempt at the crossing on the airship Akron, but retired before the voyage in 1912 which ended when the airship exploded shortly after take off killing all aboard.

After his retirement, Loud moved to Danville Illinois and worked as an auditor for Fidelity Loan Company and as a salesman for a printing company.

The finding aid for the Albert Louis Loud Papers, 1890-1963 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum may be found at

Photographs in this collection include several images of the airship America in preparation for the 1910 attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean, aerial landscape photographs, and members of the America's crew.

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