Bill to Break the Sound Barrier
If you were the first woman to break the sound barrier, who would you pick to fly the chase plane behind you?
Jacqueline Cochran tapped her friend, Colonel Chuck Yeager for the task for her May 18, 1953 flight. A logical decision, since he was the first pilot to break the barrier in 1947.
Here is his final bill for his expenses, including the replacement of dead chickens that stampeded when her low-flying Sabre jet flew over a ranch.
-from the Eisenhower Library
“This is the first time since I’ve been in the White House that we have received a woman Chief of State. Add to this the particular alchemy of the Nehru name and the size of the Indian country as an Asian democracy and you have a day alive with drama.”
— Lady Bird Johnson, in A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 411. Photo: LBJ Library C1563-6, public domain. This photo was taken on the North Portico of the White House, at the State Dinner for Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 3/28/1966.
Betty Ford will be honored in the 2013 National Women’s Hall of Fame
From the announcement:
“A groundbreaking First Lady, Betty Ford is often remembered for her candor in addressing the controversial issues of her time. Shortly after she became the First Lady of the United States in 1974, Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a radical mastectomy. Rather than suppressing the diagnosis, Ford courageously shared her story and inspired countless women across the nation to get breast cancer examinations. In 1978, following a family intervention, Ford underwent successful treatment for addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs. She again used her story to raise public awareness of addiction, and in 1982, she co-founded the Betty Ford Center to treat victims of alcohol and chemical dependency. Ford was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 and the Congressional Gold Medal, with President Gerald R. Ford, in 1999.”
Go Betty! (1918 – 2011)
Photo: Photograph of First Lady Betty Ford Expressing Her Support for the Equal Rights Amendment in Hollywood, Florida, 02/25/1975
It’s Girl Scout Cookie Day, so in honor of this delicious “holiday,” we’re sharing this photo of First Lady Lou Hoover.
Lou was very involved with the Girls Scouts. She was a troop leader and later a board member. Lou received her investiture pin from Girl Scout Founder Juliette Gordon Low in 1917 when she was installed as the Acting Commissioner of the Washington, DC, Girl Scout Council.
In this photo from the Hoover Library, Lou is speaking from the President’s Study in the White House on a special Girl Scouts program. Lois Kuhn (left) and Peggy Starr were also there to talk about what Girls Scouts had done to help the Woman’s Division of the President’s Emergency Committee (March 23, 1931).
For more on Lou Hoover’s adventurous life: http://blogs.archives.gov/prologue/?p=8369
-from the National Archives
The original 19th Amendment will be on display from October 19-24 at the Clinton Presidential Library. If you’re near Little Rock, Arkansas, visit the Library to see the amendment that guarantees all American women the right to vote.
Pictured here, President William Jefferson Clinton, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton waving from the back of the campaign train during the Huntington Train Kick-off event for the whistle stop tour. Huntington, West Virginia. 8/25/96
-from the Clinton Library, National Archives ID: 6160456
Creative Women Behind Ike’s 1952 Campaign
During the 1952 campaign, Jacqueline Cochran, businesswoman and aviatrix, persuaded employees at Walt Disney Studios to produce an animated cartoon in support of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s candidacy.
Staff at Disney worked off the clock to produce the short animated commercial, “We’ll Take Ike.” The lyrics for this song were written by Gil George, who was actually Hazel George. She was first hired as a nurse at Disney Studios. After her knack for writing was discovered she wrote song lyrics for The Mickey Mouse Club and a number of Disney animated feature films.
In the pictured telegram, Jacqueline Cochran wrote, “I personally believe the proposed short could be the greatest piece of propaganda in the whole campaign…” 9/30/52
Also pictured, a letter from Bill Anderson at Disney that accompanied an autographed animation cel setup and copy of the song, “We’ll Take Ike” for the newly elected President Eisenhower. 11/19/52.
-from the Eisenhower Library
“I think I have a good deal of my Uncle Theodore in me, because I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on.”
On this day in 1884, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born. Learn more about her life here.
-from the FDR Library
June 13, 1922: Veterans Bureau employee Viola LaLonde and Census Bureau employee Elizabeth Van Tuyl pose beside a Ford automobile before making their cross-country drive from Washington, DC to San Francisco. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Keep in mind, these women crossed the country before the construction of a national highway system. Forget Econolodges and Denny’s restaurants, they packed their own fuel and food, sleeping in the car.
Eisenhower drove cross country on the Lincoln Highway in 1919 as part of an army convoy which took four months to cross the country. The contrast between that experience and his experience driving on the Autobahn during World War II led to Eisenhower’s proposal for a national highway system.
On September 25, 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to be sworn in as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
President Reagan had nominated O’Connor earlier that summer, and he wrote in his White House diary, “Called Judge O’Connor in Ariz. and told her she was my nominee for Supreme Ct. Already the flack is starting and from my own supporters… I think she’ll make a good Justice.”
O’Connor helped inspire a generation of women to pursue careers in law—when she was appointed, thirty-six percent of law school students were women; by the time she retired from the court in 2006 that percentage had risen to forty-eight percent.
Last year, O’Connor spoke to a group of high school students at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley and told them:
“It was exciting to be the first, but I did not want to be the last.”
Photo: Sandra Day O’Connor being sworn in as Supreme Court Justice by Chief Justice Warren Burger. Her husband, John O’Connor looks on. 9/25/81.
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