The female pioneers of flight all began with aviatrixes, such as Amelia Earhart, Betty Wharton, and Blanche Noyes, in 1929.
Their fame started with the creation of the “Ninety-Nines,” an international organization of licensed women pilots established
to educate and support their fellow women who have passion for flight. Named for the original 99 members, the “Ninety-Nines”
were established at Curtiss Field, Long Island, New York. Of course each woman began her flying career in her own time and
reached success for her own achievements, but all thanks to the support of her fellow aviatrixes and their organizations gave
these female pilots the strength to fulfill their passion for flying.
Along with the “Ninety-Nines,” the Women’s Air Derby was born in 1929 as an official air race for women to compete in flight
in the United States, modeled after the men’s transcontinental races. As part of the National Air Races, the Women’s Derby,
also known as the “Powder Puff Derby,” was a cross-country race where only women pilots participated, the first of which included
Amelia Earhart, Ruth Elder, Betty Gillies, Blanche Noyes, Thea Rasche, Bobbi Trout, Gladys O’Donnell, along with many more.
Unfortunately with the stock market crash, flying planes became too expensive and only a few women could continue to race.
During World War II, under the direction of the United States Army Air Forces, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) was
established for civilian female pilots to fly military aircraft. Two famous aviatrixes, known as Jacqueline "Jackie" Cochran
and Nancy Harkness Love, proposed to free male pilots from their duties by employing female pilots for non-combat missions.
Although both proposals were denied in 1940, once the U.S. was involved in the war they began to realize there weren’t enough
male pilots, therefore establishing two programs that later merged together to become WASP under the direction of Cochran
in 1943. After the war was won, WASP was disbanded since the female pilots weren’t needed anymore. In 1947, the “Ninety-Nines”
(also written as 99’s in this collection) resurrected the Powder Puff Derby for those women who still wanted to pursue their
dreams of flying. For 30 years, women raced for AWTAR, the All Women's Transcontinental Air Race, which had its own office
and board members preparing for the annual races. In 1947, the final race was held due to high costs and a lawsuit for not
allowing male pilots to race.
The Whirly-Girls was established in 1955 as an organization for international women helicopter pilots. The goals of this organization
are to promote women in the helicopter industry through scholarship awards and mentoring for training women pilots, exchange
information among other female helicopter pilots, and promote community acceptance of rotorcraft. As of 2011, there are over
1700 registered members representing 44 countries.
The women featured in this collection, and their involvement in history as aviatrixes, are listed below and their individual
info can be found in boxes #5 and #6.
1 Cubic Feet
This is a 6 box collection. In addition, it also is composed of a file cabinet. It is comprised of Artifacts, Documents,
Magazines, Newspapers, and Photographs.