Section One

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Smash All Records
Harold Doolittle, James G. Haizlip
Unidentified artist, 1932

When Jimmy Doolittle was featured on this 1932 Shell Oil Company advertisement, his achievements as a Massachusetts Institute of Technology–trained aeronautical engineer doing pioneer aviation research was eclipsed by his fame as a record-setting, trophy-winning stunt flyer about to compete in another race.

The image is dated September 6, 1932, the day Doolittle won the one-hundred-mile Thompson Trophy race in Cleveland, and it also acknowledges another Shell flyer, Jimmy Haizlip, who had recently broken a transcontinental speed record. The poster, however, is designed to promote the Shell Oil Company and its products, not a specific event. The photographs of the two popular aviators are given a sense of immediacy in the context of a newspaper “extra,” tipped up slightly so that the small headline, “All Major Events Won By Shell,” is clearly legible.