Celebrate the 110th anniversary of the Wright Brothers successful airplane flight with a program celebrating forgotten female flyers.
Most people when asked to name early female aviators can name only one name — Amelia Earhart. She was a daring pilot, but the mystery surrounding her disappearance over the Pacific overshadowed and eventually erased any memory of her equally accomplished peers — early aviatrices who defied gravity (and male disapproval) in flimsy airplanes, including:
- Aida de Acosta, the girl from New Jersey about whom Alberto Santos-Dumont (a rival of the Wright Brothers) proclaimed “Mademoiselle, vous êtes la première aero-chauffeuse du monde!” (“Miss, you are the first woman aero-driver in the world!”)
- Elise Raymonde Deroche, a plumber’s daughter from Paris who became the first female licensed pilot in the world and who was presented as “Baroness de LaRoche” to Tsar Nicholas II after competing in an airshow in Russia.
- Marie Marvingt, the only person (male or female) ever presented with a “Gold Medal in All Sports” by the French government who later invented the air ambulance service and was called by the American press, “the most extraordinary woman since Joan of Arc.”
- Harriet Quimby, the self-made journalist who was the first woman to solo across the English channel (news of which was unfortunately overshadowed by the Titanic disaster.)
- Katherine Stinson, the daring “Flying Schoolgirl” stunt pilot who regularly bested her male peers and who flew before the emperor and 50,000 people in her debut performance in Japan, or her sister Marjorie, known as “the Flying Schoolmarm” who trained much of the Canadian Royal Air Force for World War I.
- Elinor Smith, who at age nineteen was named the “Best Female Pilot” by her peers (including Amelia Earhart) and who successfully flew under all four East River bridges in New York City (the only pilot ever to do so!)
Carol Simon Levin can tailor this program for adult, teen, or elementary-aged audiences (and has a special offer for schools). For more information: http://nobodyownsthesky.wordpress.com/