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Aviation's "It" Girl

Airplanes and The Movies came of age at the same time, and Harriet Quimby—best known as the first American woman to earn a pilot's license—had a keen interest in both. In fact, by the time she fatally crashed her Blériot XI on this day in 1912, there was little the adventure-loving 37-year-old hadn...

Quimby in her purple flying outfit was a popular poster of the day (SI-72-10099~A)


Airplanes and The Movies came of age at the same time, and Harriet Quimby—best known as the first American woman to earn a pilot's license—had a keen interest in both. In fact, by the time she fatally crashed her Blériot XI on this day in 1912, there was little the adventure-loving 37-year-old hadn't done.

She was, at various times: a drama critic for Leslie's Illustrated Weekly (the TIME magazine of its day); the screenwriter of five short films made by D.W. Griffith (and a bit actor in one—1909's Lines of White on a Sullen Sea); the first woman to fly at night; and the first woman to fly across the English Channel (the day after the Titanic sunk in April 1912, so she didn't get much attention).

There's a fair amount of Quimbiana on the web, but this video and this essay are good starting points.

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