ELDER, RUTH

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ELDER, RUTH - Ruth Elder Manuscript Just Two Days after her Failed Attempt as the First Woman to Fly Across the Atlantic
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ELDER, RUTH - Ruth Elder Manuscript Just Two Days after her Failed Attempt as the First Woman to Fly Across the Atlantic

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Ruth Elder, Just Two Days after Returning from her Failed Attempt as the First Woman to Fly Across the Atlantic Wonders: “Just how far can a woman go in aviation?”

 

ELDER, RUTH. (1902-1977). American aviation pioneer and actress dubbed, “Miss America of Aviation.” AMsS. (“Ruth Elder”). 1p. 4to. New York, November 13, 1927. Written on Warwick hotel stationery and likely a statement provided to a member of the press.

 

“Just how far can a woman go in aviation? In the short time I’ve been back this question has been asked of me a hundred times or more by young girls enthusiastically bent on a flying career. Many of them, I fear, are lured by the rewards and the romance of the game only. Flying commands love! Some feel, that like horse-back riding, flying a plane will afford her a chance to wear smart sport clothes under the proper conditions. Others, I daresay, believe it is a life that is devoted almost entirely to posing for pictures and ‘using a lip stick while facing death.’”

 

While working irregularly as an actress, the news of Charles Lindbergh’s historic transatlantic flight inspired Elder to try and become the first female to fly across the Atlantic. Selecting a Stinson Detroiter monoplane named The American Girl, Elder and her co-pilot, George Halderman, departed New York’s Roosevelt Field on October 11, 1927. However, a leaking oil pipe and bad weather over the North Atlantic forced them to crash land on the ocean where they were rescued by a Dutch tanker. The airplane was destroyed while attempting to hoist it onboard. Despite falling short of the Azores by just over 300 miles, the pair established a new over-water endurance flight record and, the longest flight ever made by a woman. When Elder and Halderman returned to New York City on November 11, 1927, they were greeted by Mayor Jimmy Walker and a ticker tape parade. On Sunday the 13th, the day she wrote out our manuscript, a special dinner hosted by the National Women’s Party was held in her honor.

 

Elder’s fame landed her a movie contract and she starred in such films as Moran of the Marines and The Winged Horseman, yet she continued to remain active in the field of aviation.

 

Elder’s phrase criticizing thrill seekers “devoted almost entirely to posing for pictures and ‘using a lip stick while facing death’” is incorrectly attributed to another aviatrix, Ruth Nichols, in Still Missing: Amelia Earhart and the Search for Modern Feminism by Susan Ware.

 

Folded and creased with some slight show through from mounting on the verso. In very good condition and rare, particularly as the manuscript is dated just two days after her official reception.

 

 

 

Item #660  


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