Gaicinta Bradley Koontz


This first complete biography of Harriet Quimby is visually charming for all ages and a handy reference for entertainment, photography, travel, and aviation historians. With over 150 vintage newspaper clips and dozens of never before published photographs, it’s a must for every fan of early aviation.

Carrie Vanderbilt’s pictures of her best friend, Harriet Quimby, remained in storage for over 85 years. These photographs and dozens of other never-before published images are artfully presented with vintage newspaper clippings and Quimby family documents, as if Quimby had pasted them into her own scrapbook. Reprinted for the first time are Harriet Quimby’s seven silent film treatments for American Biograph.

Quimby was disarmingly unique. Ignoring criticism, and creating her own sense of style, she owned several cars, learned how to repair them, and encouraged other women to do the same. She smoked cigarettes, lived alone, and lied about her age. Cleverly calculating her professional career, she represented all that was independent and modern, yet she distanced herself from feminist causes.

Harriet Quimby’s life touched the fringes of the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, the Ragtime Ear, and the new Age of Aviation. Moving from Michigan to California and finally to New York City during 1903, she was prepared to take it by storm. She had no alternate plan.

New York loved her. America admired her. The world was her oyster until tragedy struck. Before her death at age 37, her potential for continued fame, fortune, and contributions to U.S. history was limitless.

Scientific American eulogized that her death, ” while fitting for an athlete, should never have been the lot of such a fragile flower of sunny California.”.

This scrapbook represents more than the life of one woman. It is our cultural heritage.