There’s a marvelous post on the New York Times photography blog, Lens, about women aviators taking to the sky at the dawn of aviation. Shall we call them aviatrices? Their fabulous stories, daring adventures, and frequent epic disasters are almost as romantic and swoon-worthy as their outfits. Poppy Wyndham (née Elsie Mackay), above, became a vaudeville actress against her father’s wishes and ran away with a fellow actor, scandalizing society- she perished in her plane attempting to cross the Atlantic.
Ruth Elder, who named her plane “American Girl”, was divorced by her husband, who claimed she “caused him many sleepless nights by her transatlantic flight attempt and much embarrassment in New York when she failed to kiss him upon her return”. She, like most good ladies, also packed a mean picnic for her transatlantic flights with lots of coffee and sandwiches. She had to bail out over the Azores, but was rescued by a steamer.Beulah Unruh, below, was a New York City waitress who got her license out on Long Island (she probably flew in and out of Governors Island and Floyd Bennet Field). She estimated that her pilot’s license (and those amazing knee high socks) cost her about 13,000 tips.Such a wonderful place to put your mind, to think about the frictionless allure of sky-bound women taking to the heavens in icy altitudes. See the whole piece here.