By Gabriella Leone
On May 20, 1913, nationally renowned suffragist, Rosalie Gardiner Jones, made a spectacular debut in Staten Island, where she became the first suffrage activist to fly for the cause. To achieve this feat, she met her pilot Harry Bingham Brown, one of Staten Island’s resident pilots, at the Grant City train station and boarded his plane. The New York Times reported, “Gen. Rosalie did not show a sign of fear as she took her seat in the biplane, seized a steel rod, the only thing to hold to, with her left hand, had her skirts tied down with a little piece of blue string, and, with a bunch of leaflets in her right hand, nodded a smiling good-bye to the crowd below.” Decorated with 'Votes for Women' banners, the plane arrived at its destination, roughly two miles away on the island’s eastern shore, in fifteen minutes. It landed at the Flying Carnival of the Staten Island Aeronautical Society in a flurry of yellow leaflets, which Jones had been scattering along the way.
Copyright (c) 2018 Columbia University Press. Used by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.
This is the latest in a series of posts based on the letters of the New York socialite, Julia Gardiner Gayley (1864-1937), to her eldest daughter, Mary Gayley Senni (1884-1971), a countess who lived on the outskirts of Rome. In 2010, the author purchased a trove of the letters in a Roman flea market. This mother-daughter correspondence spanned the years 1902-1936 and provides an intimate and unfiltered view of life in New York during the early twentieth century. You can find the earlier posts on our homepage.
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