Born in Michigan in 1875, Harriet Quimby migrated to California as a teenager where she launched a career in journalism. Her passion for flight was born in 1910 after attending several airshows to write a series of articles about aviation. Quimby began taking flight lessons at the Moisant School of Aviation in Long Island, and on August 2, 1911, she received her pilot’s license, becoming the first American woman aviator. After touring the country to perform in airshows, she became the first woman to make a solo flight across the English Channel in 1912. Tragically, her career was cut short a few months later while performing at an airshow in Boston, when she lost control of her aircraft and plummeted to her death. The US Postal Service issued a 50 cent postage stamp featuring Quimby in 1991, and she was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2004.

Mentioned in the Bessie Coleman profile: