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Katherine Stinson the Flying Girl: Topics in Chronicling America

A guide for researching the topic of stunt pilot Katherine Stinson in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


Katherine Stinson. The Commonwealth (Greenwood, MS), October 10, 1917, Image 1. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Stunt pilot Katherine Stinson captivates adoring crowds with her youthful appearance and daring aerial feats. “She looks and smiles like a runaway schoolgirl on a lark and weighs only 103 pounds, but she can slide down a sky bank and do an air loop in a way that makes your hair curl,” reports the June 13, 1915 The Sunday Telegram.  One of the nation’s early outstanding pilots! 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.


July 1912 Becomes fourth woman to earn international pilot’s license.
April 1913 Founds the Stinson Aviation Company.
September 1913 Becomes first woman to fly U.S. airmail.
November 1915 Opens the Stinson School of Flying in San Antonio, TX.
June 1915 Plans trip from New York to the Panama Exposition in San Francisco.
July 1915 Becomes first woman to perform a loop-the-loop at Cicero Field in Chicago, IL.
November 1915 Performs the dippy twist loop, a stunt she invented.
December 1915 Becomes the first pilot to perform skywriting over the skies of Los Angeles.
December 1916 - May 1917 Travels through Asia on an exhibition tour. Becomes first woman to fly to Japan and China.
June 1917 Raises over two million dollars in pledges for Red Cross.
December 1917 Sets nonstop speed record flying from San Diego, CA to San Francisco, CA.
May 1918 Sets duration record flying from Chicago, IL to Binghamton, NY.
July 1918 Becomes first woman to fly Canadian airmail.
1918 - 1920 Becomes an ambulance driver for the Red Cross in France after being denied to fly for the U.S. military.
1920 Forced to retire from aviation after contracting influenza and tuberculosis.