Ruth Nichols Collection (MS-001)


Ruth Nichols Collection (MS-001)


The Ruth Nichols Collection relates to early aviator Ruth Rowland Nichols, a charter member of the Ninety-Nines Organization of Women Pilots. Nichols, born into a prominent family in New York in 1901, was nicknamed "The Flying Debutante" due to her socialite status. Nichols broke many distance and speed records throughout her multi-decade aviation career, founded an aerial nursing organization called Relief Wings during World War II, and became a public speaker and author later in life.


Ruth Nichols Collection of The International Women's Air & Space Museum.



Collection Items

Ruth Nichols Wearing a Fur Coat for Setting an Altitude Record
Ruth Nichols before or after setting an altitude record.

Photograph by H. A. Sohoenhals.

Ruth Nichols with Lady and Male Pilot
Aviation pioneer and multiple record breaker Ruth Nichols is shown in civilian attire next to an elderly woman and a male pilot. The threesome are standing in front of a plane.

Ruth Nichols Atop a Plane
An enthusiastic Ruth Nichols gives a big wave and smile while sitting on top of a plane's wing.

Ruth Nichols Talking to a Group of Men by Plane
Lone female pilot Ruth Nichols stands next to a plane, surrounded by a group of men appearing to be pilots and mechanics.

Photograph by H. A. Schoenhals Photography.

Ruth Nichols After Breaking Record
Well-known aviatrix Ruth Nichols is congratulated after setting a new altitude record by fellow pilot Clarence Chamberlin and his wife, Wilda.

Ruth Nichols Stands in Front of Plane
Ruth Nichols is seen in her regular clothes standing in front of a large airplane.

Photo by Schoenhals Photography

Sea Plane
Two military men and two mechanics are seen standing next to a sea plane.

Ruth Nichols and Two Men
Record breaker Ruth Nichols sits in a plane cockpit with a Chamber of Commerce employee and pilot.

Ruth Nichols Stands Casually
Famous and record breaking aviatrix Ruth Nichols poses in a casual fashion in front of a plane.

Mechanics Work on Ruth Nichols' Plane
The famous, record breaking aviatrix, Ruth Nichols sits in white on the rear wing of this airplane. The jumpsuit clad men appear to be working on the plane's mechanics.

Ruth Nichols and a Crosley Radio Plane
Aviation pioneer and multiple record breaker Ruth Nichols stands in front of a Crosley Radio Plane in a classic 1930s hat and long leather coat. Prowel Jr. and Lewis Crosley were inventors who were responsible for the first airplane radio broadcast…

Ruth Nichols Before Transatlantic Flight Attempt
Ruth Nichols sits high in the cockpit of a white Crosley Radio Plane before her attempt be the first woman to cross the Atlantic. She started on June 22, 1931 at the Floyd Bennet Airport in New York. Unfortunately her flight was short lived. Later…

Ruth Nichols About to Travel
Ruth Nichols shows off of her impressive pile of luggage as she stands in front of a plane, presumably about to take off. On the back of the photograph is written "All of this luggage went into the poor fledgling."

Ruth Nichols About to Travel Photograph Negative
In this photograph negative Ruth Nichols shows off of her impressive pile of luggage as she stands in front of a plane, presumably about to take off. On the back of the photograph is written "All of this luggage went into the poor fledgling."

Postcard of Unknown Man
Found within the IWASM collection of Ruth Nichols Photograph Collection is this postcard of a mysterious unknown man in glasses named Ivan Mauni. Handwritten, cryptic messages written in Latin appear under the man's picture: Inventus, meaning found…

Nichols and Child in Front of Plane
Famous female pilot Ruth Nichols poses for a photograph with her arm around a little girl. Behind them sits a Curtiss aircraft.

Airplane in the Distance
A plane, most likely one piloted by well-known aviatrix Ruth Nichols, is visible past a chain-link fence. Mechanics seem to be working on and around the aircraft.

Nichols in Pilot's Uniform
On 29 December 1931, successful aviatrix Nichols became the first woman to work for a commercial passenger airline as a pilot. She stands in her uniform here.

Postcard to Ruth Nichols
This postcard to famed female pilot reads "Merry Christmas from Valtiughan Field, Fredericksburg and Elijaheaa M. Pillips." It was addressed to Ruth Nichols who was currently living on Grace Church St. Rye New York. The postmark reads December 18,…

Ruth Nichols Fan Mail
Found in the IWASM's Ruth Nichols Photograph Collection was a picture from apparently included in a piece of fan mail. The picture shows a man named Roland P. Prickett in a flight suit standing in front of a Kitty Hawk 1046 at the Springfield…

Sitting on Large Wheels
In this faded photograph a group of seven men and a woman sit on and stand by the wheels of a large, possibly commercial, plane.

Ruth Nichols and H.A. Starks
This photograph, published in Ruth Nichols' 1957 autobiography Wings for Life, shows Nichols standing between two gentlemen. The information on the back of the photograph identifies one of the men as H.A. Starks; the other man is unidentified.

Ruth Nichols with Hunting Riffle
This photograph of Ruth Nichols shows the famed aviatrix standing in hunting attire holding a hunting riffle. Nichols spent October 1929 hunting in Ontario, Canada.

Ruth Nichols by Seaplane
While visiting Ontario, Canada in October 1929, record-breaking aviatrix Ruth Nichols stands with an unknown individual beside a seaplane.

Ruth Nichols with Moose Head
While hunting in Ontario, Canada in October 1929, either the well-known pioneer female pilot, Ruth Nichols or one of her hunting party managed to take down a rather large moose. The reverse side of the photograph claims the moose head, which is…
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