Our Blog has moved!

8 09 2010

A bit of news about the SDASM Library & Archives. We are moving our blog to a new site. Please click on this link to view all the latest news and happing at the Library & Archives.

Second, thank you for reading and supporting our blog and the Library & Archives.


Helen Richey

25 08 2010

A Young Helen Richey


Helen Richey (1909 – 1947) was a pioneering female aviator and the first woman to be hired as a pilot by a commercial airline in the United States. Richey was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Her father, Joseph B. Richey, was superintendent of schools in McKeesport from 1902 to 1935. During her teens, Richey was one of the few girls in McKeesport who wore pants. She learned how to fly a plane at age 20. Her father bought her a plane when she obtained her pilot’s license.  

 In 1932 Richey partnered with another female pilot, Frances Marsalis, to set an endurance record by staying airborne for nearly 10 days, with midair refueling. In 1934 Richey won the premier air race at the first National Air Meet for women in Dayton, Pennsylvania. Also in 1934, Central Airlines, a Greensburg, Pennsylvania–based carrier that eventually became part of United Airlines, hired Richey as a pilot; she eventually was forced to step down from the cockpit by the all-male pilots union.  In a newspaper article entitled, Helen Richey Grounded by Sex, said, ” I don’t want to be drawn into any controversy because I left Central Airlines in a very friendly spirit.” Amelia Earhart had harsher words to say about Richey’s firing: 


“Well, the pilot’s union refused to take her in, not because of lack of ability, but because she was a female.” [emphasis mine]  

After leaving Central Airlines, Richey continued to perform at air shows. In 1936 she teamed with Amelia Earhart in a transcontinental air race, the Bendix Trophy Race. Richey and Earhart came in fifth, beating some all-male teams.  

Dashing young pilot


Later, Richey flew with the British Air Transportation Authority during World War II. In addition to being the first female commercial airline pilot, Richey also was the first woman sworn in to pilot air mail and one of the first female flight instructors. Richey died in her apartment in New York City, apparently from a pill overdose. Her death was ruled a suicide.  

A Poem by a friend, D. Tepsis, entitled Darling Helen Richey captures here personality  

Pretty as a picture,  

As sweet as she can be-  

A darling pilot of world-wide fame  

You Bet! “Helen Richey”, is her name.  

Happy go lucky, full of fun  

Brains plus beauty, all rolled up in one  

Handling her “Cessna” like a veteran filer  

She’s the “kid”, all folks, admire.  

Possessing personality, charm and grace  

To her, ‘the sky’ is really the place  

She wears a winning smile upon her face  

And brings home the bacon, from each air race.    

Pioneer's of Women's aviation Helen Richey & Amelia Earhart


New Series Coming soon!

23 08 2010

Helen Richey

The Library & Archives is committed to promoting our vast collection to the general public. 

The Staff view social media (Flickr, Facebook, WordPress) as a new and exciting way promote  the L&A. With this in mind we are starting a new series on our special collections. Our Flickr site already has thousands of images from our special collections and to compliment that we are going to present articles on the men and women who contributed to the advancement of aviation. 

Stay tuned for our fist article on aviation pioneer Helen Richey.  

Cheers! ~ The Library & Archives Staff

Beat the Summer Heat with the Library & Archives!

19 08 2010

Summer is heating up in San Diego (finally after two mild months it feels like Summer) and the Library & Archives is ready to provide a break from the heat. Rumor has it that we are open to the Public Tuesday through Friday from 10am – 430pm? Well, its true and we are waiting for you!  Call 619-234-8291 or email nchase@sdasm.org to set up an appointment.

Stop by for an hour and search our vast photo collection of two-million plus, or thumb through the Ryan Collection and view original documents, letters, and photos relating to the Spirit of Saint Louis. Or just stop by and say hello and ask for a tour. The Staff are here to help with your research needs!

Stay tuned for some upcoming changes to as well. This is truly an exciting time for the San Diego Air and Space Museum and the Library & Archives.

Until then Cheers!

Nelson Chase, Research Assistant- SDASM Library & Archives

Picture of the Week(s)

16 08 2010

It has been a while since we have posted a picture of the week. So in lue of that we are going to post a picture of the last couple of weeks. Over these last two weeks we have had many volunteers and researchers utilize our collection. Last week we had two gentleman visit us from France. They were a real treat to have around the Library & Archives.  They work for a French Aviation magazine called Air Magazine. We hope to be able to work with them providing pictures and other archival material to be used in their publications.  So in honor of them we present a French Aircraft as our picture of the week(s).

The French Albert TE-1 from 1928 is our picture of the week(s). Enjoy!

Picture of the week, July 26-30 2010

28 07 2010

This week’s picture of the week is of the F9F Panther. The inspiration for this weeks selection came from one of our volunteers, Dan, who worked on the F9F. So, in tribute of that the Library & Archives presents this week’s Picture of the Week.

Volunteer Appreciation Night, 2010

23 07 2010

Two of the Library & Archives Volunteers at extreme ends- Nick Galatis and his wife on the Left. On the right is Bob Johnston and his wife.

Where would the San Diego Air and Space Museum be without our wonderful and dedicated volunteers?  It is a scary proposition to contemplate. Our volunteers help us with the day-to-day operation of our museum. In the Library and Archives we have a great team of volunteers who assist our staff with their time, treasure, and, most importantly, their talents.  The volunteers here today, Frank and John, have over 30 plus years of experience working here at SDASM.  Last night we honored our dedicated volunteers with our  annual Volunteer appreciation night.  Staff, Volunteers, and Family came together for a night of dinner, drinks, and fun. Our Board President, Mark Larson, addressed the packed SDASM Pavilion and awards and door prizes were distributed.

A Table full of Library & Archives volunteers and staff. From Left to Right: Karen Raines, Bob Cherry & Wife, Katrian the Head Archivist, Mark Mengtes

The Library and Archives had a strong showing of  15 volunteers and their families.  It was nice to relax, and fellowship with them outside of the normal day-to-day activities of our busy Library & Archives.

The Library & Archives Staff-Katrina, Alan, Pam and Nelson send their thanks to all of our volunteers. Your help is invaluable and we can’t do it with out your assistance.

Picture of the Week, July 19-23 2010

21 07 2010

This weeks picture of the week is the Gee Bee R-1 flown by General James Doolittle.Doolittle set the world speed record of 296.287 on Spetember 3, 1932.  Special thanks to our CFO and Marketing Director for picking the Picture of the Week.

Balboa Park featured on iPhone app

21 07 2010


Picture of the Week, July 12-16 2010

14 07 2010

This weeks picture of the week is of the Curtis SO3C-1 Seamew. The Seamew entered service in the 1940s and was used as a scout plane by the U.S Navy and other Allied Nations during the Second World War.