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On November 2, 1929, twenty-six licensed women pilots gathered together at Curtiss Field, Valley Stream, Long Island, New York, to discuss the formation of a club "to promote women pilots among themselves, and to encourage other women to fly, as well as to break down general opposition to aviation." (1) After that first meeting, letters were sent out to the 117 licensed women pilots in the United States, giving all of them the opportunity to become charter members in the new club. The name of the club was to be determined by the number of women who wished to join. When 99 letters were returned by the approved date, the club became known as The Ninety-Nines. Many famous female pilots of the time, including Amelia Earhart, Ruth Elder, Viola Gentry, Phoebe Omlie, and Louise Thaden were charter members. In the succeeding years, The Ninety-Nines have ably fulfilled the purpose set forth in the original letter. Many aviation records have been set by members of The Ninety-Nines. Amelia Earhart was the first woman to pilot an aircraft across the Atlantic and, in 1936, Louise Thaden and Blanche Noyes won the Bendix Trophy Race. Since 1941, the organization has bestowed a variety of scholarships and grants to members who are seeking advanced training in specialized branches of aviation. Today, the Ninety-Nines, Inc. has grown to include 6,500 members in 35 countries. (1) Clara Trenckmann to Mr. Skinner and Mr. Mellen, October 1, 1929. "September 1, 1929 -- September 1, 1930," Folder 1, Box 1, Ninety-Nines, Inc. History Books Collection (Acc.XXXX-0470). Archives Division, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.



Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by David Schwatz, 2002. Finding aid encoded by Amanda Buel, 2016.


Ninety-Nines (Organization)




Ninety-Nines, Inc., unknown, XXXX-0470


8.73 Cubic feet (23 boxes)


The Ninety-Nines, Inc. History Books Collection consists of scrapbooks (yearbooks) complied by the officers of the Ninety-Nines to document the organization. Included in the yearbooks are the following: photographs of the members and officers; news clippings of the organization, individual chapters and sections, and about individual members; programs from air races, including Air Race Classic, Angel Derby, and the Powder Puff Derby; minutes from the annual meetings; and newsletters of the organization, The 99news, Ninety-Nine News, and Ninety-niner.


No restrictions on access.


Collection descriptions

Archival materials




Arrangement note

The Ninety-Nines, Inc. History Books Collection is arranged chronologically, by date and/or volume number.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of 19 bound scrapbooks and 34 unbound scrapbooks chronicling the history of the Ninety-Nines. Some of the volumes are described with a date range (September 1, 1937 -- September 1, 1938), while others are described with a volume number and date range (Volume 28, 1956 -- 1957). Organization of the Ninety-Nines History Books varies somewhat over the years. Usually, the books begin with photographs of the officers of the national organization, followed by minutes and a program from the annual meeting. The books end with copies of The Ninety-Nines Newsletters from the previous year. Additional contents of each book are dependent upon the events that happened in a particular year. In the early years of the organization, the books include further refinements of the constitution and by-laws, and various newspaper and magazine articles regarding accomplishments of the organization or individual members. In subsequent years, the history books focus more on the air races in which members participated or various events sponsored by the organization. The researcher will note that in 1953 volume numbers were assigned to the books. For the sake of continuity and clarity in the finding aid, the processing archivist assigned volume numbers where appropriate. These numbers appear in square brackets where appropriate, i.e. [35]. Due to the fragile nature of the bound scrapbooks, photocopying may not be possible.






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Air Race Classic

Angel Derby

Ninety-Nines (Organization)

Powder Puff Derby

Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937

Thaden, Louise (McPhetridge), Mrs, 1905-1979

Topics Periodicals
Aeronautics -- Societies, etc.
Air pilots
Women in aeronautics


Ninety-Nines Inc., History Books Collection, Acc. XXXX-0470, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Finding Aid Online Finding Aid