29 April 2011

Ruth Law, an early aviatrix

Bought her first airplane from Orville Wright in 1912 at age 21.  First woman to do a loop-de-loop.  First woman authorized to wear a uniform by the U.S. Military.

Found at My Ear-Trumpet Has Been Struck by Lightning, where there are additional photos.

Addendum (hat tip to Ninabi for finding this anecdote about her):
[...] Robbie went down in baseball lore for his attempt to catch a ball dropped from an airplane. In 1908, Gabby Street had caught a ball dropped from the Washington Monument. Robbie scoffed that this was all that difficult a feat and so Ruth Law, a famous aviatrix, was enlisted to fly a plane higher than the Washington Monument and drop a ball for Robbie to catch.

There are several versions of what happened next-one version of which put Dodger Casey Stengel in the plane to make the drop. But Law flew alone. When Robbie, the old Oriole-now 53 years old-caught the object he saw falling from the plane, he was splattered with warm juice from a grapefruit. The impact knocked him to the ground whereupon he exclaimed: "Help me, lads, I'm covered with my own blood."

Law explained in 1957 that she had forgotten the baseball back in her hotel room and when she discovered the situation it was too late to retrieve the ball. So she took a grapefruit from the lunch of one of the ground crew and dropped it instead.


  1. http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargrave/law.html

    I was excited to find out more about her and then...well, she lived a very long life, but she found out about her retirement from aviation from the newspaper. Her husband put a stop to it, says the link.

    Painful to read that, as if she were a child who could not make a decision on her own instead of a daring pilot.

  2. I'm glad the post prompted you to explore further - that's a compliment to the blogger :.)

    And your link led me to an interesting anecdote about her, which I've added to the original post. Thanks, Ninabi!


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