Sunday, April 19, 2009

Betty Wharton material sent to IWASM

Many months ago, I purchased a copy of the Powder Puff Derby Record - 1947-1977. Turns out, it came from the estate of Betty Wharton, one of the movers and shakers behind the Derby for 6 years (well, a vice-president). She also participated in a few of the races, as well as in other cross-country races.

In addition to the book, there were a few papers: a place card from a 99s meeting where pioneer pilot Betty Gilles had spoken, (don't know who that is? Check out the Women Aviators Wiki at

There was also an elaborate certificate, stating that Betty was a member of the Bier Uber Alles Staffel (Beer Over All Squadron).

And a Silver Wings newsletter called Slipstream (Silver Wings was an organization for pilots who had 25 years of flight time), and a manifest of the pilots in the first cross country race she had ever entered.

So, nothing of monetary value, but of great value as human interest stuff for a female aviator. I am sending it to the Womens' International Air and Space Museum, located in Dayton Ohio. They probably won't put it in a case for all to see - although the Bier Staffel certificate deserves to be framed! - but it will perhaps go into a drawer for "Betty Wharton papers" for any future researcher to take a look at.

If you know of any female pilots, pioneer or otherwise, don't let their papers disappear when they pass away! The IWASM would love them, or failing that, the Texas Women's University - for WASP and the Whirly Birds, and so on. Someone will take them, if you just ask around. Even me (although after I'm done with them I'd donate them to the IWASM).

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