Petticoat Pilots Meeting

Source: Daily Reflector Negative Collection (Manuscript Collection #741)

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

Description:

For decades women faced tremendous hurdles in their desire to become pilots.  In the early years they weren’t allowed to enter into competitions such as the National Air Race because these races were thought to be too dangerous for women.  In 1929 women pilots held their first National Women’s Air Derby.  Humorist Will Rogers, who was the starter for the race, referred to the women pilots as “petticoat pilots and flying flappers” and nicknamed the race the Powder Puff Derby.

This photograph shows a group of women welcoming Petticoat Pilots to the airport at Greenville, North Carolina, in August of 1965.  I don’t know what the occasion was for this group of women pilots gathering, but it is interesting that the nickname for women pilots in 1929 was still being used in 1965.

Information about the Powder Puff Derby came from Karen Bush Gibson’s book titled, Women Aviators:  26 Stories of Pioneer Flights, Daring Missions, and Record-Setting Journeys.

Ellen Zukunft McGrew

Source: Ellen Zukunft McGrew Papers, 1942-1958; East Carolina Manuscript Collection #723

Staff Person: Nanette Hardison

Description:
This featured portrait is of Ellen Zukunft McGrew of Portland, Maine, an X-ray technician who in 1942 joined the WAVES which is the acroylm for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. WAVES were more commonly known as, Women in the U.S. Navy, and were part of the National Naval Reserve. This portrait, which shows her in her WAVES uniform as a USNR (WAVES) officer, is an item from the Ellen Zukunft McGrew Papers. The finding aid for the Ellen Zukunft McGrew can be accessed at http://specialcollections.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/0723/.

Imperial Tobacco Company Factory Employees

Source: Daily Reflector Negative Collection #741.11.a.7

Staff Person:  Martha Elmore

Description:  In this August 1956 image taken for the Greenville, N.C., Daily Reflector newspaper,  African American women are sorting tobacco at the Imperial Tobacco Company factory.  Many other images related to tobacco production from the field, to the barns, to the warehouse, and finally to the factories can be found in the Daily Reflector Negative Collection.