Harriet Quimby

This toy monoplane celebrates the man who was first to fly across the English Channel (1909). He also developed the model of plane Harriet Quimby flew as the first woman to fly across the Channel. She had ordered a 70hp craft from Bleriot, but flew a borrowed 50hp plane cross-Channel. She was also the first licensed US woman pilot (August 1, 1911), and the second in the history of the world.

Monoplane “Blériot”, c. 1910

Exceptionally rare tin toy by Ernst Plant, Nuremberg, commemorating Louis Blériot’s 1st “Channel” flight from France to England in 1909.

Near Boston, on July 1, 1912, Harriet and a passenger died in a fall from her new 70hp Bleriot. Engineers, pilots, and mystery lovers still contest how this could have happened. The plane survived relatively intact.

Another surviving Bleriot can be viewed at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome during its season.

Harriet was hailed as the “Queen of The Air” for her flying feats, her lovely and lively persona, and the style with which she carried on her life. She was a journalist by profession. Harriet was the second cousin, once removed from the Quimby brothers. They were invited to a ceremony at the Kenisco Cemetery in Valhalla, NY, where Harriet is buried. Her grave site is part of a “Historic and Scenic Tour” of the grounds. The brochure reads, ” …beneath two large loak trees and behind the Smith monument, is a tall marker with a plaque picturing an airplane. This monument belongs to the famous aviatrix, Harriet Quimby (1875-1912).” It goes on to relate her life.