Harriet Quimby
Drama critic Harriet Quimby (shown here in 1911) became the first licensed woman pilot in the United States. Her interest in flight was piqued at an aviation meet in 1910. In April 1912, clad in her trademark plum-colored satin flying suit, she became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. Quimby promoted aviation for women and once wrote, ‘In my opinion, there is no reason why the aeroplane should not open up a fruitful occupation for women.’ In July 1912, the 28-year-old Quimby took a passenger up in her new Blériot monoplane from Boston to fly over Dorchester Bay in what would be her last flight. As she descended for landing, the plane went into a dive and, without seat belts, she and her passenger were thrown out into the shallow water of the bay, where they struck the muddy bottom and were crushed to death.

Photo: Library of Congress