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American Female Pilots: Topics in Chronicling America

In the early 20th century, American Women soared the skies. This guide provides access to materials related to the "American Female Pilots" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.

Introduction

"Aviatrices will race for title of universe. Miss Katherine Stinson in her observation plane and above, Miss Ruth Law." May 21, 1918. The Washington Herald (Washington, DC), Image 10. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Any field that men entered, women were soon to follow and aviation was no different. Women like Mathilde Moisant, Blanche Scott, Ruth Law, Katherine Stinson, and Laura Bromwell pioneered the field for so many women to come. Exciting, record-breaking, and notably beautiful, these women competed to be the best of the best, right alongside their male counterparts. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.

Timeline

July 24, 1911 Mathilde Moisant begins working toward her pilot’s license, even after the death of her brother by flying. She later becomes the second woman in America to earn a license after Harriet Quimby.
July 26, 1911 Blanche Scott is the first woman in America to fly cross-country.
January 19, 1912 Blanche Scott calls Harriet Quimby and Mathilda Moisant “grass-cutters”, a harsh insult in early flying.
December 1, 1912 Mathilde Moisant is accredited for being the first to evade police in an airplane.
June 13, 1915 Katherine Stinson plans trip from New York to the Panama Exposition in San Francisco.
September 1, 1915 Still a teenager, Ruth Law is a stunt pilot.
November 21, 1916 Ruth Law makes three new records in a flight from Chicago to New York.
December 12, 1917 Establishing a new non-stop distance record, Katherine Stinson flies from San Diego to San Francisco.
November 14, 1919 Laura Bromwell is the first female to earn her license after the First World War.
May 30, 1921 Breaking her own record, Laura Bromwell loops the loop 199 times.