The typed letter dated the first of February, 1980, with Sanford N. McDonnell's letterhead, with personal intent to John F. Yardley on the event of his 55th birthday, during his time as Director, Office of Manned Spaceflight for NASA. The letter goes on to detail obstacles and successes at MDC in Yardley's absence (he returned to McDonnel Douglas in 1981), mentioning the three DC-10 crashes that occurred in 1979 (most notably American Airlines Flight 191, which crashed May 25, 1979 departing from O'Hare, as well as Western Airlines Flight 2605 on October 31st, and Air New Zealand Flight 901 (the Mount Erebus Disaster) on November 28th). Mentioned is the FAA absolving MDC of any blame for the crash at O'Hare, which is still the deadliest aviation accident to have occurred in the United States, killing 271. The letter is signed by hand "Sandy".

  • Purchased July 26th, 2013 from the estate of John F. Yardley, a crucial figure in early space travel and St. Louis native. Yardley served as chief engineer for the Project Mercury (1958-1963) spacecraft, which carried the first Americans into space, and then as technical director for its successor, the Project Gemini (1961-1966) spacecraft, as well as serving as associate administrator for manned space flight at NASA from 1974 to 1981. Returning to St. Louis, Yardley then served as president of McDonnell Douglas Astronautics until he retired in 1989.
  • Dimensions:
  • 10 1/2 x 7 1/4 in. (26.7 x 18.4 cm.)
  • Condition:
  • Clear fold lines evident to the backside, but not posing any threat to the structure of the paper.

Accepted Forms of Payment:

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


Shipment is the full responsibility of the buyer. Selkirk will not be responsible for any loss, damage, theft, or otherwise responsible for any items left in Selkirk's possession fifteen (15) days after the sale. If arrangements for shipping have not been made and communicated within thirty (30) days, Selkirk reserves the right, at this time, to charge a storage fee of $10 per lot per day for furniture and large format items and $5 per lot per day for all other items, and within sixty (60) days, at its own discretion, sell any items left on the premises. Accumulated fees resulting from storage and insurance cost will be taken out of any proceeds.

Objects that contain materials of endangered or protected species may be subject to regulations disallowing export and import into other states or countries. It is the buyer's responsibility to be aware of all applicable laws and regulations and to obtain any required export or import licenses or certificates and any other required documentation.

May 5, 2023 10:00 AM CDT
St. Louis, MO, US

Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 30% and any applicable taxes and shipping.

View full terms and conditions

Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $29 $5
$30 $99 $10
$100 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $2,999 $100
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $29,999 $1,000
$30,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 $99,999 $5,000
$100,000 $299,999 $10,000
$300,000 $499,999 $25,000
$500,000 + $50,000