Jersey trivia:

December 17th, 2013 will be the 110th Anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ 1st successful flight of a powered heavier than air aircraft, but did you know that a Jersey girl flew a powered aircraft solo six months before them?

Aida de Acosta from Long Branch, NJ was visiting Paris during the summer of 1903 when she saw Alberto Santos-Dumont’s flying dirigible and asked him to give her lessons — after three lessons, she flew the craft solo for two hours and Santos-Dumont declared,  Mademoiselle, vous êtes la première aero-chauffeuse du monde!” (“Miss, you are the first woman aero-driver in the world!”).

The press did not, however, carry the news, as her father firmly believed that a woman’s name should only appear twice in her lifetime…when she was married and when she died!  (The story came out years later after she was on her second marriage… you can read it here.)

There are many  other early female aviators whose extraordinary accomplishments were  obscured by the fame (and mysterious disappearance) of Amelia Earhart.   (Incidentally, New Jersey also played a role in Earhart’s famous transatlantic solo flight — she flew her plane from Teterboro airport to Newfoundland before flying across the Atlantic.)

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About Carol Simon Levin

Carol Simon Levin has had a career as a college & children’s librarian, author, storyteller and program presenter. Whether she is impersonating the woman who helped to build the Brooklyn Bridge, telling the amazing stories of early women in aviation, engaging families in a rousing Halloween Hootenany of songs and stories, expanding on the mathematical and artistic possibilities of a simple square, or sharing the story of a dolphin who learned to swim with an artificial tail (along with activities to help children understand what it is like to live with a disability), she always strives to create exciting programs that engage her audience’s interests and expand their horizons. She has always been particularly fascinated by the history of technology and women’s history. She has authored Remembering the Ladies: From Patriots in Petticoats to Presidential Candidates and has created three programs introducing the women — well-known and unknown — who worked tirelessly for women’s rights in this country. For more information on any of her Telling Her Stories presentations, check out the website tellingherstories.com. She can bring her presentations to libraries, senior centers, historical societies, schools, camps and other venues. Each can be tailored to different ages. Additional programs and resources for children and teachers can be found at: www.carolsimonlevin.blogspot.com. Carol Simon Levin is a member of the New Jersey Storytelling Network, the New Jersey Library Association, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She can be reached at: cslevin59 (at) gmail.com or by phone 908 781-6041 (home) or 908 361-6519 (cell).
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