This collection consists of memorabilia relating to Blanche Stuart Scott. The material includes her certificates, membership cards, and ribbons, as well as a collection of newspaper clippings dating from 1939-1969.
The Blanche Stuart Scott Collection (NASM.XXXX.0062) contains approximately one cubic foot of material relating to the pioneer aviatrix. It includes correspondence, memorabilia and a great many newspaper clippings which have been photocopied onto acid-free paper.
Original order, when identified, has been maintained.
Blanche Stuart "Betty" Scott was born April 8, 1889, in Rochester, New York, where her father had a patent medicine business. Impetuous by nature, she soon attracted the attention and ire of the local authorities. The Rochester City Council objected to a thirteen year old driving an automobile about their city. However, there was not yet a minimum age for driving; Blanche was able to continue with her motoring trips.
A few years later, she would again make headlines behind the wheel of a car. In 1910, after attending finishing school, Scott became one of the first women to drive an automobile cross-country, travelling from New York to San Francisco. The trip was sponsored by the Willys-Overland Company and the car dubbed "Lady Overland." At the time, there were only 218 miles of paved road outside of the cities of the United States. Scott's trip totaled over six thousand miles, zigzagging between Overland dealers. Scott was accompanied by newspaperwoman Gertrude Buffington Phillips, who did no driving but filed reports as they progressed westward. They left New York on May 16 and reached San Francisco on July 23, 1910.
The trip had given Scott a taste for adventure and publicity. After meeting the press agent for Curtiss, Scott went to Hammondsport, New York, in August or September of 1910. She was accepted as Glenn H. Curtiss's first and only female student. Her first flight was on a 35 hp Curtiss pusher fitted with a governor to prevent takeoff on a student's taxi down the field. However, during one of Scott's "grass-cutting" sessions, a gust of wind lifted her suddenly airborne. She achieved a true solo flight shortly thereafter.
There is conflicting evidence regarding the exact date of Blanche Stuart Scott's first solo flight. That date was recognized by the Early Birds to be September 6, 1910. The date is variously given in newspaper accounts as early as August 18, 1910 and as late as mid-October of that year. Unfortunately, a fire reportedly claimed some of Ms. Scott's personal memorabilia during her lifetime. Whether Blanche Stuart Scott or Bessica Raiche was indeed America's first female aviator may never be determined.
After instruction, she joined Glenn Curtiss's Exhibition Team and made her first public appearance in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on October 24, 1910. Thus began the career of the woman who indisputably holds the title of America's first female professional flier, then billed as "The Tomboy of the Air." During her exhibition career she earned up to five thousand dollars a week, appearing in meets with such luminaries as Lincoln Beachey and Harriet Quimby.
In 1911, Scott found herself in the odd position of inadvertently setting an aviation record. Scott took off from Mineola one afternoon and impulsively flew sixty miles before alighting back at the field. It was the first woman's long distance flight.
Not long after, Scott became the first female test pilot. After contracting to fly for Glenn L. Martin in 1912, she flew Martin prototypes before the final blueprints for the aircraft had been made. In 1913, Scott joined the Ward Exhibition Team. She retired from active flying in 1916.
By the 1930s Scott was working in media, both print and broadcast. She spent nine years in California, writing for RKO, Universal, Warner Brothers, and other studios. In a succession of radio shows, Scott appeared as "Roberta" on Hollywood and Rochester area stations, which she wrote and produced. She would also try her hand at stage appearances and short story writing.
On September 6, 1948, Scott was once again achieving distinction. On a flight with pilot Charles E. Yeager in a
TF-80C, she became the first American woman to ride in a jet. For the pleasure of his passenger, Yeager included some snap rolls and a 14,000 foot dive.
With her skills and experience, Blanche Stuart Scott was uniquely suited for her next mission. Beginning in 1954, she began work for the United States Air Force Museum. Acting as a travelling public relations unit, she sought to obtain materials related to early flight for that museum's collection.
Blanche Stuart Scott passed away on January 12, 1970. She was a member of the Early Birds, the OX-5 Club, and the
Long Island Early Fliers Club.
Unknown, unknown, NASM.XXXX.0062.
No restrictions on access.
A. Francis Arcier, (1890-1969) was an aviator, scientist, designer and engineer whose pioneering work in aviation design spanned six decades and earned him many honors.
Scope and Contents:
The A. Francis Arcier Collection contains approximately 3 cubic feet of material relating to his extraordinary career in aviation. This collection has biographical and professional documents, technical information on aircraft designs, patents, correspondence, newspaper clippings, publications, certificates, photographs, negatives and three scrapbooks.
Note: The digital images shown for this collection were repurposed from scans made by an outside contractor for a commercial product which did not reproduce all materials found in this collection; some items have not been scanned.
Every effort was made to provide dates when possible and each series is arranged in chronological order.
The collection is arranged as follows:
Series 1: Biographical and professional material
Series 2: Technical material
Series 3: Publications
Series 4: Photographs
Series 5: Scrapbooks
A. Francis Arcier, (1890-1969) was an aviator, scientist, designer and engineer whose pioneering work in aviation design spanned six decades and earned him many honors. Born in London, he studied aeronautics in Passey, France under Sir Gustave Eiffel, the designer of the Eiffel Tower. He served as draftsman for such notable aircraft designers as Gabriel Voisin, Henri Coanda, Frank Barnivell and Gordon England. At the age of 21, he learned to fly and received his international aviator's certificate. He served as a flight instructor at the Hall School of Flying in Hendon, England and during World War I, with Handley Page, Ltd. He designed the first twin engine and the first four engine bombers used by the United States and its Allies. Arcier emigrated to the United States in 1919 and was employed as Chief Engineer at the Witteman Aircraft Corporation, makers of the Barling Bomber designed by Arcier. It was the largest heavier-than-air aircraft of its time. During his years with Witteman, Arcier won the Army Air Service Engineering Divisions' design competition for a bomber aircraft design. That same year, Arcier became Chief Engineer for the Fokker Aircraft Corporation, where among other notable accomplishments, he designed the Fokker Trimotor Transport which was used by Amelia Earhart and by Richard Byrd in his flight over the North Pole and also across the North Atlantic. After Arcier attained his United States citizenship in 1929, he became Vice President of Operations and Director of the General Airplanes Corporation in Buffalo, New York. In 1930 under his leadership, the "Mailplane", one of the first all-metal airplanes, was built. Later in 1930, Arcier became Chief Engineer of the Weaver Aircraft Company, WACO. He worked for WACO for 17 years in various capacities. Arcier and the Waco Aircraft Company made many contributions to the National Defense Program during World War II such as the Model UPF-7. The Waco Company was entrusted with the entire combat and cargo glider Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces. This was initiated in an Army Design Competition which the Company won and resulted in a program involving the design, prototype construction and, in some cases, production construction of some twelve models ranging from Model CG-3A to the CG-15A. These gliders were built by the thousands under Arcier's technical direction by sixteen prime contractors and many hundreds of sub-contractors throughout the nation. In 1948, Arcier became Chief Scientist for U.S. Air Force Intelligence at Wright- Patterson AFB until he retired in 1963. After his retirement, he served as consultant to the Commander, Foreign Technology Division and Special Advisor to the Division's Advisory Group on scientific and technical intelligence matters. Among his honors were the USAF Meritorious Civilian Service Award (1953), and the USAF Distinguished Civilian Service Award (1961.) A. Francis Arcier died on November 21, 1969.
Elizabeth Arcier, gift, 1972, additional material received from Francis Arnoult, 2019, NASM.XXXX.0072.
No restrictions on access.