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Finding aid for the USC Library of Aeronautical History Women's International Association of Aeronautics records 0055
0055  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Biographies of early woman aviators, correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, scrapbooks, instructional materials; copies of Aerogram, the WIAA publication; personal archives of Elizabeth L. McQueen (Mrs. Ulysses Grant McQueen, d.1958), founder of W.I.A.A. in 1929 and the Women's Aeronautic Association of California, and organizer of the Women's Air Derby ("Powder Puff Derby").
Background
Elizabeth Lippincott (September 26, 1878-December 24, 1958) was born in Pennington, New Jersey. She graduated from Pennington Seminary in 1898, and in March 1900 married Ulysses Grant McQueen (1864-1937), a wealthy New York City inventor and manufacturer. The couple lived in New York City until 1928, then moved to Beverly Hills, California. During World War I, Mrs. McQueen performed war relief work in Palestine under Field Marshal Allenby. In 1919 she founded the Jerusalem News, the first English-language newspaper in Jerusalem. She became interested in aviation when in 1920 she witnessed seven airplanes in military actions in the desert near Aden. In September 1928, Mrs. McQueen organized the Women's Aeronautic Association of California, which was soon followed by similar organizations in New York, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Canada, England, France, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. On May 23, 1929, she organized the Women's International Association of Aeronautics (WIAA), which became the principal focus of her activities for the rest of her life. Mrs. McQueen served as "founder and honorary president" of the WIAA; subsequent presidents included prominent British aviator Lady Mary Heath (1929-1932), British reporter Lady Grace Hay Drummond-Hay (1932-1940), educator Dr. Mary Sinclair Crawford (1940-1947), actress Mary Pickford (1947-1949), airplane manufacturing executive Olive Ann Beech (1949-1954), and pioneer aviator Matilde Moisant (1954-). A junior division of the WIAA was organized in 1931; members under 7 years old were called "tailwinds", those from 7 through 20 years old "zoomers". In 1929, Mrs. McQueen and Lady Heath appealed to the Federation Aeronautique Internationale in Paris to have women's air records recognized, an appeal that was ultimately successful. At the same time, in order to arouse greater interest in women's flying, Mrs. McQueen conceived the idea and was one of the principal organizers of the first Women's Air Derby from Santa Monica, California, to the 1929 National Air Races in Cleveland. 20 female aviators took part in this forerunner to the Powder Puff Derby. In 1932 and 1933, Mrs. McQueen published a column, "Happy Contacts", concerning women and aviation, in the monthly magazine Speed; she also published several articles in The Air Pilot in 1933. In July 1933, Mrs. McQueen, who in 1929 had been deputized as the first aerial policewoman in the world by Police Chief Charles Blair of Beverly Hills, organized the Women's Aerial Police Association, whose members were deputized to assist the civil authorities in times of emergency. From March 1940 to February 1941, she also undertook a Goodwill Tour to Mexico and Central and South America. From approximately 1942 to approximately 1947, Mrs. McQueen resided in the Mission Inn, in Riverside, California, the location of the International Shrine of Aviators and the Famous Fliers' Wall. By the late 1940s, she had returned to her house on Doheny Drive in Beverly Hills. Ulysses Grant McQueen died in April 1937, and about 1955 Mrs. McQueen married Dr. Irving Reed Bancroft, a prominent retired physician. She died at her home in Hermosa Beach, California at the age of 80; her ashes are interred in the Portal of the Folded Wing in Pierce Brothers Valhalla Cemetery, in North Hollywood. Although she had devoted her life to furthering the role of women in aviation, she had never obtained a pilot's license.
Extent
10.0 Linear feet 10 boxes
Restrictions
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
Availability
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.