• “Blanche Stuart Scott at the controls of her plane,” 1912. Courtesy of the California Historical Society via the University of Southern California Libraries.

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    Blanche Stuart Scott at the controls of her plane
    • Date
    • 1912
    • Description
    • Photograph of aviatrix Blanche Stuart Scott at the controls of her plane at the Dominguez Hills Air Meet, 1912. Scott is seated in her plane at center, facing to the right. She is holding a steering wheel in her gloved hands. She is wearing leather b... more
      Photograph of aviatrix Blanche Stuart Scott at the controls of her plane at the Dominguez Hills Air Meet, 1912. Scott is seated in her plane at center, facing to the right. She is holding a steering wheel in her gloved hands. She is wearing leather boots, a thick hooded jacket and goggles. Her plane is made of wood and the wing is covered with canvas. There is a single wheel in the foreground at right, and the plane's engine is visible at left. less
    • Rights
    • Public Domain. Release under the CC BY Attribution license--http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/--Credit both “University of Southern California. Libraries” and “California Historical Society” as the source. Digitally reproduced by the... more
      Public Domain. Release under the CC BY Attribution license--http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/--Credit both “University of Southern California. Libraries” and “California Historical Society” as the source. Digitally reproduced by the USC Digital Library; From the California Historical Society Collection at the University of Southern California. Send requests to address or e-mail given. Phone (213) 740-5900; fax (213) 740-2343. USC Libraries Special Collections. Doheny Memorial Library, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0189. Specol@usc.edu. less
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    • University of Southern California Libraries
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    • California Historical Society

  • “Blanche Stuart Scott and a crowd of spectators,” 1910. Courtesy of the California Historical Society via the University of Southern California Libraries.

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    Blanche Stuart Scott and a crowd of spectators
    • Date
    • 1910
    • Description
    • Photograph of Blanche Stuart Scott and a crowd of spectators looking off into the distance, Dominguez Field, 1910. Miss Scott, known as the first American aviatrix, is walking at center, dressed in a dark-colored jacked, pants, and knee-high boots. S... more
      Photograph of Blanche Stuart Scott and a crowd of spectators looking off into the distance, Dominguez Field, 1910. Miss Scott, known as the first American aviatrix, is walking at center, dressed in a dark-colored jacked, pants, and knee-high boots. She has a scarf and goggles on her head. She is surrounded by at least nine men dressed in suites and wearing hats. The crowd is intensely looking to the left, at what the picture file card identifies as something dangerous. less
    • Rights
    • Public Domain. Release under the CC BY Attribution license--http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/--Credit both “University of Southern California. Libraries” and “California Historical Society” as the source. Digitally reproduced by the... more
      Public Domain. Release under the CC BY Attribution license--http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/--Credit both “University of Southern California. Libraries” and “California Historical Society” as the source. Digitally reproduced by the USC Digital Library; From the California Historical Society Collection at the University of Southern California. Send requests to address or e-mail given. Phone (213) 740-5900; fax (213) 740-2343. USC Libraries Special Collections. Doheny Memorial Library, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0189. Specol@usc.edu. less
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    • University of Southern California Libraries
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    • California Historical Society

  • “Miss Blanche Stuart Scott in her biplane,” 1912. Courtesy of the California Historical Society via the University of Southern California Libraries.

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    Miss Blanche Stuart Scott in her biplane
    • Date
    • 1912
    • Description
    • Photograph of Miss Blanche Stuart Scott in the air over Dominguez Field at the Air Meet, 1912. Scott's Curtiss biplane is at center and is climbing towards the camera. It is silhouetted against a cloudy background. Many spectators are watching Americ... more
      Photograph of Miss Blanche Stuart Scott in the air over Dominguez Field at the Air Meet, 1912. Scott's Curtiss biplane is at center and is climbing towards the camera. It is silhouetted against a cloudy background. Many spectators are watching America's fist female aviator from grandstands at right, and several more are standing on the runway at center. The left side of the runway is lined with early-model automobiles. A caption below the image reads "Man's dream of transportation above the earth is exemplified by this early aviation attempt at Dominguez Field in 1912". less
    • Rights
    • Public Domain. Release under the CC BY Attribution license--http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/--Credit both “University of Southern California. Libraries” and “California Historical Society” as the source. Digitally reproduced by the... more
      Public Domain. Release under the CC BY Attribution license--http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/--Credit both “University of Southern California. Libraries” and “California Historical Society” as the source. Digitally reproduced by the USC Digital Library; From the California Historical Society Collection at the University of Southern California. Send requests to address or e-mail given. Phone (213) 740-5900; fax (213) 740-2343. USC Libraries Special Collections. Doheny Memorial Library, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0189. Specol@usc.edu. less
    • Partner
    • University of Southern California Libraries
    • Contributing Institution
    • California Historical Society

Blanche Stuart Scott was already an accomplished automobile driver before she took an interest in flight. Scott was one of the first women to drive cross country, a trip that took over two months, and was made lengthier by the fact that there were only 218 miles of paved road in the United States at the time.

Nicknamed “Tomboy of the Air,” Scott may have been the first woman to fly solo in an airplane.  Unfortunately, the historical records of her flights are unclear. Conflicting reports suggest that she either took off in Hammondsport, New York, in August or September of 1910, or in October 1910 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. At the time, she was taking lessons with Glenn Curtiss, a well-known airplane manufacturer.

She never obtained a pilot's license, so she was unable to fly on the East Coast of the United States. She decided to go west to California in 1912, where there was no license requirement. She took an interest in flying exhibitions and was known for doing “death dives” from up to 4,000 feet. By 1916, she decided to retire from flight when she found that the crowds were more interested in crashes than the flying itself. She moved to Hollywood and had a career in film and radio before being hired as a consultant for the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.