Harriet Quimby


Harriet Quimby photo of Harriet Quimby
Harriet Quimby was born in the Coldwater area on May 11 1875, to Ursala (Cook) and William Quimby. The Quimby family moved to Arroyo Grande, California, in 1884, then to San Francisco. In 1902, Harriet became as journalist for the San Francisco Dramatic Review. She later wrote features for the San Francisco Chronicle and worked for the Call-Bulletin. In 1903 she went to New York City as a drama critic and a feature writer for Leslie's Weekly. At the Belmont Park Aviation Meet in October 1910 she became fascinated with flying. At the Hotel Astor, mingling with the theatre crowd, she met John Moisant, who was celebrating his victory at the meet. She soon began taking lessons at the Moisant School of Aviation in Mineola, New York. She later toured the United States, Mexico and Europe with the Moisant Fliers.
 
 
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Harriet Quimby, the first woman in the United States, and the second in the world to obtain a pilot's license, received Federation Aeronautique Internationale license No. 37 from the Aero Club of America on August 1, 1911. On April 16, 1912, Quimby became the first woman to cross the English Channel, flying from the Cliffs of Dover to Hardelot, France. She returned in triumph to the United States after being feted in Europe. In June, she shipped her plane to Boston so that she could fly in the Harvard-Boston Aviation Meet. On July 1 she flew the manager of the meet, William A.P. Willard, around the Boston Light. During the flight, her Berliot plane was caught in turbulent air and nose-dived, plummeting both Willard and Quimby to their deaths in Dorchester Bay.

Photo courtesy of Tom Glowacki.

Registered Site L1490
Erected 1988

Location: Airport parking lot
Coldwater, Branch County

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