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Draper (Birdie) Personal Papers
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Birdie Draper was an early female daredevil, pilot and parachute rigger.
Birdie Viola Draper was born in 1916 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1937 at the age of 20, Birdie began her training as a parachutist with Stub Chrissinger, an instructor for Hincks flying service. Mr. Chrissinger was one of two licensed parachute riggers in Minnesota at the time. After her training, Birdie joined a stunt group of Thrill Day Performers traveling to State Fairs. She was paired up with Captain F. F. (Bowser) Frakes who was best known for his daring plane crashing stunts. Birdie was recognized for crashing through sixteen sticks of dynamite with her car, as well as solid masonry walls. Her vast array of death defying stunts earned her the name, “The Queen of Daredevils.” By 1940, Birdie completed thirty-five parachute jumps. She retired in 1941 as a daredevil once she received her license as a parachute rigger from the Department of Commerce. Shortly afterwards she took a position as a rigger for Ryan Aeronautical Company. Birdie married George Griffin, a local attorney, and retired from Ryan Aeronautical Company in 1945. Birdie died on November 1, 2005.
1.25 Cubic Feet This is a two box collection. The first box – containing folders with documents and photographs – measures 12 ¼” x 10 ½” x 5. The second box – containing two posters and a scrap book – measures 24 ½” x 20 ¾” x 3”.
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The collection is open to researchers by appointment.