Bringing equality in the sky – “The Powder Puff Derby of 1929”

Some of the participants in the first Women's National Air Derby - Source:

Some of the participants in the first Women’s National Air Derby – Source:

This excellent book by author Gene Nora Jessen chronicles the first Women’s National Air Race. Starting in Santa Monica, California, these 19 female aviation pioneers raced to Cleveland, Ohio a mere two months before the Stock Market Crash and the start of the Great Depression.

Sadly, despite the fact that the 1929 air derby clearly demonstrated the skills of these talented female pilots, it was many years before American women were able to occupy the pilot’s seat in passenger airliners or serve in other principle aviation/aerospace roles.



Fielding an impressive list female aviators of the time, The Powder Puff Derby of 1929 (a named coined by Will Rogers, who was also a strong support of the race), included:

If you are at all interested in aviation, women’s rights, the Roaring ’20s, transportation, or American history in general, you should enjoy this well-researched and interesting book. Two of the best aspects of the book are the biographies of each pilot and the history of women in aviation, both provided near the conclusion of the book.

This entry was posted in aerospace, air travel, airport planning, airports, art, book reviews, books, Communications, feminism, geography, historic preservation, history, infrastructure, literature, Maps, North America, Statistics, transportation, Travel, Women, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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