On this day in 1912, American aviatrix Harriet Quimby flew from Dover, England to Calais, France—making her the first woman to fly across the English Channel. Alas, she achieved little recognition; her accomplishment was overshadowed by reports of the RMS Titanic which had sunk the previous day.
Quimby was born in a Michigan farmhouse in 1875. Her family moved to San Francisco around the turn-of-the-century where she developed an interest in movie screenwriting—and aviation. She is the first woman to earn her pilot’s license in America. She also authored seven silent movie screenplays, all of which were directed by D. W. Griffith.
Harriet Quimby died at 37 years of age— two-and-a-half months after her English Channel milestone. While participating in the Boston Aviation Meet in Squantum, Massachusetts, her brand new plane pitched-forward unexpectedly, tossing her and her passenger to their deaths. Her plane, reportedly, glided downwards and landed in the mud.
The cast bronze plane, pictured above, was crafted in Canada.