1875 : Harriet Quimby Born, First Woman To Fly Solo Over the English Channel

May 11, 2018 all-day

 the autobiography of pioneer pilot Harriet Quimby

The first licensed American female pilot and the first woman in the world to fly solo over the English Channel was born in Arcadia in Kinderhook Township, Michigan on May 11, 1875. She flew across the English Channel on April 16, 1912.

She was highly competitive and a fearless, independent young woman with self confidence, beauty, ambition and brains. Harriet Quimby did not marry, drove an automobile, used a camera, a typewriter and flew an airplane. Any of these individually would have been a problem for men in the late years of Victorian America, but all of these accomplishments rolled into one woman were impossible for most men to deal with.


Seen here w/ her Moisant monoplance c. 1911. Courtesy of the Henry Ford / Benson Ford Research Center.

A true Renaissance woman, she was also a drama critic for Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly; a motion picture screenwriter and actress; a stage actress; and even a spokesperson for Vin Fiz grape soda.

Source : Michigan Historical Calendar, courtesy of the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.

Mary Zimmeth, “Sky Queens“, Seeking Michigan, March 1, 2011.

For more information, see Her mentor was an albatross : the autobiography of pioneer pilot Harriet Quimby / Henry M. Holden. Mt. Freedom, N.J. : Black Hawk Pub. Co., c1993 available for loan through MelCat.

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