Tomboy of the Air: Daredevil Pilot Blanche Stuart Scott

by Julie Cummins

Pioneer aviator Blanche Stuart Scott once said of herself: “I always liked... read more

Pioneer aviator Blanche Stuart Scott once said of herself: “I always liked speed and I had a very good sense of balance.” She also had an ample dose of daring and indulgent parents who encouraged her to pursue her interests from an early age. She not only achieved a number of firsts that helped advance the art and science of flying, but also capably faced the constant barrage of social criticism — and even several assassination attempts — aimed at her as a woman in a male-dominated profession. Her sharp wit and spirited outlook are evident in the numerous direct quotes throughout Cummins’s meticulously researched and well-documented text. Scott’s aviation career, unfortunately, was grounded after a serious accident in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1913, which led to 41 broken bones and an eight-month recuperation. She went on to produce independent films and work as a screenwriter in Hollywood, returning to the air briefly in 1948 to set one more record as the first woman to fly a jet plane. The author did make several unfortunate generalized statements about the role of women in society in the text, stating, for example, that few women worked in the era when Scott was a young woman. Of course there were thousands of working women, but few of them were in Scott’s privileged economic class. Still, this compelling biography of a courageous, independent, and intelligent woman will no doubt leave you wondering why Blanche Stuart Scott isn’t a household name. (Ages 8–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2002

show less