Wednesday, December 31, 2008

an aviatrix with a charming smile

I expect we all know something about Amelia Earhart, but who's heard of The Flying Schoolgirl Katherine Stinson? Just out of her teens, Stinson became the 4th American woman to earn a pilot's license in 1912 and soon after earned fame as a barnstorming stuntflyer. In 1915 she was the first woman to do a loop and shortly after became the first woman air mail pilot. During the WWI her application to join the US Air Force was rejected, but although most civilian flight was banned, she was allowed to fly across the United States for the Red Cross on a fund raising tour. At the end of the war she came down with the flu while working as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross in France and was forced to retire from aviation when it turned to TB in 1920. The Women Aviators wiki has a good bio. See other biographic links below.

Most of these photos come from the Prints and Photos collections in the Library of Congress.

Undated photo in the G.G. Bain collection


Just before the US entered the First World War Stinson toured Japan and China. On 12/16/1916 she was the first woman pilot to perform an airshow over Tokyo. This is another photo in LC's G.G. Bain collection.

In Tokyo.


Same. The race car driver is identified as Dario Resta.



This was taken shortly before she left on the trip to Japan and China.

In Tokyo. Shows Hantaro Nagaoka and his daughter. Stinson was only 5 ft. tall.

Same. With Marquis Ōkuma Shigenobu.

The Stinson Sisters: Katherine And Marjorie (SI Air & Space Museum photo)


Katherine Stinson on Centennial of Flight

Katherine Stinson on

the Women Who Dared the Skies on

Katherine Stinson on

Katherine Stinson, 1893-1977 on Ralph Cooper's pages

Katherine Stinson on Wikipedia

Katherine Stinson Otero, 1891-1977 on

A page about the Bain Photos in LC.

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