|The Lady and the Plane (Vanity Fair, 1919)|
In the June, 1920 issue of British VOGUE, an anonymous correspondent tried her hand at prophecy:
"As surely as the woman of yesterday was born to ride in a limousine, the woman of today was born to fly an aeroplane."
-that said, we have higher hopes for the women of the 21st Century - however, a year earlier, the Vanity Fair writer charged with covering all aspects of motoring, both horizontal and vertical, penned this enthusiastic article and filled it with the names of many of the women aviators who were at that time, striving to make new records in aviation history; it must have been a very exciting time in history to experience (except for the dental care).
*Watch This Amazing Clip In Which A Young Woman Changes A Plane's Tire In Mid-Air*
Ruth Elder: American Super-Girl (Literary Digest, 1927)
An article about American pilot Ruth Elder (1902 - 1977), who attempted to be the first woman aviator to fly to Paris; crashing in the Atlantic mid-flight:
"she has to her credit the longest flight made entirely over water, beating the Pacific fliers by about 200 miles...She will rank with the most daring fliers of this year of aerial wonders."
Elder parlayed her notoriety into a starring roll in a Hollywood movie that came out the following year: "Moran of the Marines".
•Hanna Reitsch Remembers Her Days Flying for the Third Reich•
The Women's Air Derby: Santa Monica to Cleveland (Literary Digest, 1929)
To those of us living in the digital age, the concept that the pilots of an airplane race should be segregated by gender in order to compete seems just like a dictate from Sharia law - but for our great-grandfathers, it made perfect sense. This article is about the Women's Air Derby of 1929, which had a list of women pilots that read like the "Who's Who" of 1920s women aviation.
Amelia Earhart was one of the competitors.
Katherine Stinson Offers Her Services to the Army (The Stars and Stripes, 1919)
"Katherine Stinson wants to carry letters up to Third Army".
By the time Katherine Stinson (1891 - 1977, a.k.a. "the Flying Schoolgirl") had applied for the job of carrying the mails to the occupying American forces in post-war Germany, she already had the distinction of being the fourth American woman to earn a pilot's license and the first woman to ever deliver air-mail for the U.S. Post Office. She didn't get the job...
Storming the Skies : The Story of Katherine & Marjorie Stinson , Pioneer Women Aviators
Amelia Earhart: Hawaii to California (Literary Digest, 1935)
"'All well', Amelia Earhart (1897 – 1937) radioed repeatedly during her 2,400-mile flight from Hawaii to California last week. 'Alls well that ends well,' she might have said as she set her monoplane down at Oakland Airport Saturday afternoon, eighteen hours and sixteen minutes after she took off from Wheeler Field, Honolulu. What she actually said was, 'I'm tired'"
"Thus she has become the first woman to fly the Pacific from Hawaii to California, and the first person of either sex to fly it alone. Her record has been studded with 'firsts' ever since she learned to fly in 1918."
The WASPs of W.W. II (Think Magazine, 1946)
"The WASP program, for as such the Women Airforces Service Pilots became known, was begun in August, 1943. In addition to providing women fliers who could take over certain jobs and thereby release their brothers for front-line duty, the program was designed to see if women could serve as military pilots and, if so, to serve as a nucleus of an organization that could be rapidly expanded...The women who took part in the pilot program proved of great value to their country, flying almost every type of airplane used by the AAF, from the Thunderbolt fighter, to the C-54 transport, they flew enough miles to reach around the world 2,500 times at the Equator."
The WASPs were fortunate enough to have pioneering aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran (1906 – 1980) serve at their helm.