History ETDs

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Katherine Stinson, the fourth female licensed pilot in America, was a pioneer in aviation and proved by example that flying could not be limited by gender. She represents an early feminist position by her actions rather than words. Katherine Stinson was a pioneer in aviation, unafraid to fly to fulfill her dreams. She began her aviation career eleven years before Charles Lindbergh took his first flying lesson and sixteen years before Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. A daring aviator, she achieved recognition as the “first” to accomplish many feats. She was the first woman to fly at night, to loop the loop, and the first person to sky write. Additionally, she set endurance and distance records and brought the spectacle of air travel to both Japan and China. Furthermore, she was the first woman in the United States, as well as the first person in Western Canada to officially deliver airmail. At a time when women were not allowed to vote, Stinson demonstrated the capabilities of women through her daring exploits as a pilot. Although she is well known by students of aviation history as one of the foremost aviators in America, she remains generally unrecognized today. Katherine Stinson’s flying career lasted only six years, but she made monumental strides for aviation and ranked as one of the most influential female pilot for the entire pre-World War I period.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Ferenc M. Szasz

Second Committee Member

Paul Andrew Hutton

Third Committee Member

Cathleen D. Cahill



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History Commons