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Marie Marvingt was a world-class badass, by almost anyone’s standards. Just reading Wikipedia’s capsule biography of the women who became known in her native France as “la fiancée du danger” makes me a little tired. Born in 1875, Mlle Marvingt was, variously, an
athlete, mountaineer, aviator and journalist. She won numerous prizes for her sporting achievements including those of swimming, cycling, mountain climbing, winter sports, ballooning, flying, riding, gymnastics, athletics, rifle shooting and fencing. She was the first woman to climb many of the peaks in the French and Swiss Alps. She was a record-breaking balloonist, an aviator and during World War I became the first woman to fly missions during conflict as a pilot. She was also a qualified surgical nurse, was the first trained and certified Flight Nurse in the world, and worked for the establishment of air ambulance services throughout the world.
Marvingt was also, sad to say, an early example of what feminists today call a “chill girl.” She was an accomplished woman who didn’t, apparently, think that most women could accomplish much of anything, at least in the overwhelmingly male-dominated arenas in which she herself had had so much success.
A friend of We Hunted the Mammoth passed along this newspaper clipping from 1910 in which the famed “woman aviator” explains that aviation isn’t really suitable for most women:
You can see the original article in context in the December 5th edition of The Coffeyville [Kansas] Daily Journal here.
H/T — Susan Barnum, aka @megalibrarygirl