Actress Sara Sincell portrays Harriet Quimby, the first American female to get her pilot’s license and the first woman in the world to fly solo across the English Channel. Lost in history, the accomplishments of this incredible woman come to light in a one-woman show showcased in celebration of Women’s History Month.
Beyond her contributions to the world of aviation in the early 1900s, Harriet Quimby was a progressive artist, activist, and journalist, for which she also never received proper credit for. Come learn about this important woman in history, one who dedicated her life to breaking social barriers by following her dreams.
In 1911, the Aero Club of America issued Quimby her aviator’s certificate, making her the first woman to earn a pilot’s license. Crossing the English Channel under normal circumstances would have captured newspaper headlines, however, the hour-long flight received little press. The day before her scheduled demonstration took place, the Titanic ocean liner sank, commanding the world’s attention and eclipsing her landmark journey.
Harriet Quimby’s public life began as a writer for the San Francisco Dramatic Review and she also contributed to the Sunday editions of the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Call. She moved to Manhattan, New York City in 1903 to work as a theater critic for Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly and more than 250 of her articles were published over close to a decade.
Quimby continued to write for Leslie’s even when touring with airshows, recounting her fascinating adventures in a series of articles. Her unusual life captured the imaginations of her readers. Totally committed to her new passion, the dedicated journalist and aviator avidly promoted the economic potential of commercial aviation and touted flying as an ideal sport for women.
Quimby became interested in aviation in 1910 when she attended the Belmont Park International Aviation Tournament in Elmont, New York. There she met John Moisant, a well-known aviator and operator of a flight school, and his sister Matilde who would also receive her license to fly, the second woman to accomplish this.
Sara has a BA in Acting from Shenandoah University Conservatory, Winchester, VA, and an MA in Counseling Psychology with a Concentration in Drama Therapy from California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA. She lives in Studio City, CA, and currently has a private practice in Burbank, CA. Of course, she was born and raised in Mountain Lake Park, MD.