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Finding aid of the Elizabeth Lippincott McQueen Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection and Container List
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material
  • Separated Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Collection number: 525
    Title: Elizabeth Lippincott McQueen papers
    Dates: 1912-1994
    Bulk Dates: (bulk 1927-1949).
    Creator: McQueen, Elizabeth Lippincott (Mrs. Ulysses Grant), 1878-1958
    Collection Size: 1 archive box + 1 oversize box (0.5 linear foot).
    Repository: Claremont Colleges. Library. Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library.
    Claremont, CA 91711
    Abstract: Photographs, correspondence, writings, clippings, and other materials, chiefly 1927-1949, relating to women in aviation, created and collected by Elizabeth L. (Mrs. Ulysses Grant) McQueen in the course of her activities as founder and honorary president of the Women's International Association of Aeronautics (WIAA) and as principal organizer of the 1929 Women's Air Derby.
    Physical location: Please consult repository.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish must be submitted in writing to Special Collections.

    Preferred Citation

    Box #, item #, Elizabeth Lippincott McQueen papers. Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library, Claremont University Consortium.

    Acquisition Information

    Date and method of acquisition unknown.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Michael Palmer, April 2010.


    Elizabeth Lippincott was born in Pennington, New Jersey, on September 26, 1878, the daughter of the Rev. Benjamin Crispin Lippincott, DD, and his second wife, Deborah Diverty. She graduated from Pennington Seminary in 1898, and in March 1900 married Ulysses Grant McQueen (1864-1937), a wealthy inventor and manufacturer in New York City. The couple lived in New York City until 1928, when they moved to Beverly Hills, California. During World War I, Mrs. McQueen served in war relief work in Palestine under Field Marshal Allenby. In 1919 she founded the Jerusalem News, the first English-language newspaper in Jerusalem.
    Mrs. McQueen became interested in aviation when in 1920 she witnessed seven airplanes "take the place of two British regiments of soldiers" in routing a large number of rebel Arab cavalry in the desert near Aden. "A vision, mental and spiritual, came to me of millions of women with the hands upraised acclaiming: 'Save my son from war, save my son from war, save my son from war!' I mentally saw these women's faces and hands upraised far into space and heard their voices entreating me. This vision has never left me. Then and there I dedicated my life to aeronautics as an instrument for World Peace."
    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; presidents of the association were, in turn, 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, the winners being Louise Thaden and, in the lighter aircraft category, Phoebe Omlie.
    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 t 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, on which she publicly read a letter from Eleanor Roosevelt and met with many pioneer female flyers.
    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, on December 24, 1958, aged 80, after a long period of declining health. 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.

    Scope and Content of Collection and Container List

    The bulk of the collection consists of photographs, together with considerably smaller amounts of correspondence, writings, clippings, and other materials relating to women in aviation, created and collected by Elizabeth L. (Mrs. Ulysses Grant) McQueen. The materials were at an undetermined time, and for an unknown reason, separated from the bulk of Mrs. McQueen's papers, which now form the Women's International Association of Aeronautics (WIAA) Collection, No. 55, Special Collections Department, Doheny Library, University of Southern California. Many of the photographs can be identified in a typescript list in the WIAA Collection. The descriptions in the list often refer to Mrs. McQueen as "the author", which suggests that it is an inventory of materials intended by Mrs. McQueen to illustrate her planned but unrealized history of women in aviation.
    Because of its small size, the collection is arranged as a single series divided into four groups, as follows: (1) People, (2) Organizations, (3) Events, and (4) Printed Matter. The first group (People) constitutes approximately two-thirds of the collection, and is arranged alphabetically by name. Most folders contain very few items, usually one or more photographs, correspondence, or a biographical account; the contents of each folder is indicated in the container list. The biographical accounts were often written by Mrs. McQueen, and many appeared in her "Happy Contacts" column in Speed (1932-1933). Of particular interest are the materials relating to Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes, Alys McKey Bryant, and Evelyn "Bobbie" Trout. The photographs of Mrs. McQueen include portraits of her in flying attire, in fancy dress, and with her parrot, Dick. Mrs. McQueen's writings include an undated account of aflight from Seattle to Juneau.
    The second group (Organizations) contains materials, almost exclusively photographs, relating to the Women's Aerial Police Association and to the Women's International Association of Aeronautics (WIAA). The materials relating to the women's aerial police include a 1994 account written by Gail F. Ryan-Johnson (added by the Honnold/Mudd Special Collections staff), an autographed photograph of Beverly Hills Police Chief Charles Blair, who had deputized Mrs. McQueen in 1929, and photographs of the dedication of a placque honoring the Association at the Mission Inn, Riverside, in 1938. The records of the WIAA include minutes of the annual Board of Directors meetings for 1953-1955 (the minutes for 1955 are missing the first page). The photographs include the Blind Flying Challenge Cup presented by Lady Drummond-Hay; an undated (but almost certainly 1934) gala luncheon, probably at the Del Mar Club in Santa Monica, attended by many of the leading pioneer women aviators of the day; meetings of the WIAA Board and of the general membership at the Mission Inn, Riverside (1946-1947); and the "Annual Aeronautical Literary Contest in All Languages", sponsored by the WIAA (1947 and 1949).
    The third group (Events) contains photographs of events not necessarily attended by Mrs. McQueen or associated with the WIAA. The majority date between 1933 and 1936, and include the visit of the brothers Auguste and Jean Piccard to the University of Southern California, the 99s visiting the Famous Fliers' Wall at the Mission Inn, Riverside, and several breakfasts at the Los Angeles Breakfast Club, honoring Air Commodore P.F.M. Fellowes; Col. Roscoe Tanner, Clyde Pangborn, and Thea Rasche; Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith; and Lady Drummond-Hay. Other events include the victory of Louise Thaden and Blanche Noyes in the Bendix Trophy Race, Mrs. McQueen's Goodwill Tour of Central and South America (1940), and a luncheon for Mrs. Amy Oris Earhart (1949).
    The fourth group (Printed Matter) consists of a single 1929 magazine clipping, 4 issues of an unidentified Japanese-language publication, and the 15th anniversary issue (1944) of the WIAA newsletter, Aero-Gram.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Air pilots
    Barnes, Pancho, 1901-1975
    Bendix Trophy Race
    Bryant, Alys McKey, 1880-1954
    Drummond-Hay, Grace M., Lady Hay, 1895-1956
    McQueen, Elizabeth Lippincott (Mrs. Ulysses Grant), 1878-1958
    Noyes, Blanche, 1988-1981
    Rasche, Thea, 1899-1971
    Thaden, Louise, 1906-1979
    Trout, Evelyn, 1906-2003
    Women air pilots
    Women's Aerial Police Association
    Women's International Association of Aeronautics

    Related Material

    James Carruthers Memorial Aviation Collection of the Institute of Aeronautical History, Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library, Claremont.

    Separated Material

    The bulk of Mrs. McQueen's papers constitute the Women's International Association of Aeronautics Collection, No. 55, held by the Special Collections Department, Doheny Memorial Library, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.