Ruth Law Collection

Ruth Law (1891-1970) bought her first aircraft, a Wright Model B, from Orville Wright in 1912. She enrolled in the Burgess Flying School in June 1912, made her first flight on July 5, and soloed on August 12. She was the third American woman to earn her pilot's license. Among Law's accomplishments are the first woman to "loop the loop", the first person to fly a plane at night, and a one-time holder of the Chicago -- New York aerial speed record in 1916. In 1917, Law offered her services to the United States in World War I. She was the first woman authorized to wear a military uniform, but she was denied permission to fly in combat. Instead, she raised money for the Red Cross and Liberty Loan drives with exhibition flights. After World War I, Law was active in the Ruth Law Flying Circus, a three-plane troupe that traveled to state and county fairs. She toured Asia in 1919 and had the honor of carrying the first official air mail to the Philippine Islands. Her husband, Charles Oliver, persuaded her to retire from flying to "home and hearth" in 1922.