Below are newspaper articles that are about Vicky. They are not complete, but I will include any information I have available. Some of these I have scanned them, but they are not clear. I hope that you will be able to read them. In case you can’t I will write part of the articles.
Mrs. Lederer Hunts Missing Hus14, 1927. When Vicky’s second band. The New York Times: April, husband, Ward Lederer walked away from her she looked all over for him. He left their home at 135 East Fiftieth St. on Jan. 27, 1925. She never saw him after that. She looked for him on her own because she thought she could find him herself. She found out that he was definitely in Albuquerque, New Mexico but she couldn’t find him there. After two years she finally went to the police to help her. She felt that Ward’s mother knew where he was but couldn’t prove it. She told the police that Ward was the brother-in-law of millionaire automobile magnate William C. Durant. Vicky thought his mother was sending him money. Vicky also was sent money, but she hated and said, “I want my life straightened out.” “I am not going to live on their charity.” She didn’t want a divorce but “wanted to be accorded enough respect to be given some status in life.” She was twenty-five and alone neither unmarried or married.” She became so sick that she wasn’t able to work as she had done in past years. ￼ Continue reading →
I found so much information in Vicky’s address book. I hope that a relative might have family stories of my Aunt Vicky. I have gathered so much information from her memorabilia and researched through books and computer sites. Maybe, by a fluke, someone will see their family name and respond to me. It’s very remote but I don’t know if I don’t try.
Even if I find a relative of people, I wrote I understand that they may have no information about Vicky I hope that this information will help me find even one person that knew of Vicky.
The Travel Information came from Ancestry. Com. Unfortunately, the pictures of Vicky’s travels have no captions. I wish they did. I will post the travel pictures at another time. The information is not complete, but I will post what I have found out.
Departure: Le Harve, France: Arrival Date: 1928
Port of Departure: Calamata, Greece
Arrival: New York: Ships Name: Express
Departure: Naples, Italy: Ships Name: Executive
Port of Departure: Piraeus, Greece
More of Vicky’s Memorabilia
Recently, I looked at all the information I had accumulated. I found so many facts I never presented to you. There is probably more but this is all I can find for now. Readers expect this process to take some time. Look for the first part of my project.
This will be a difficult project, but I think it will be fun…sort of like solving a puzzle. Play with me and maybe we will find the missing pieces to an unusual woman…my father’s sister, my aunt, and women I admire and love. I hope you will enjoy this unusual journey to find Victorine Florsheim, Potter, Lederer, LaMonte. I hope you will reply. Even if you have no knowledge of her just let me know if you are related.
This post is madefrom statements I found in the book Aviatrix by pioneer pilot Elinor Smith. Of course, some of it is truly one-sided. Recently, I have discovered these same or similar words as stated here.
Amelia was a wonderful woman, a beacon for women pilots. She encouraged women to become all that they could be. But she wasn’t the greatest pilot in the world. Her fame has continued and if she hadn’t disappeared, she wouldn’t be as famous as is today. Elinor was the first women to fly over the entire Atlantic Ocean. Amelia’s first claim to fame was not exactly true because of George’s manipulation. She according to George was the first women to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Only part of that statement is true. She did fly across the ocean but only as a passenger. She did not fly the plane. When she arrived in France. She was greeted like a movie star. The public overlooked the fact that she didn’t fly the plane. Amelia didn’t know what to think. She tried to set the enormous crowd that she was just a passenger and just sat there “like a bag of potatoes. “She didn’t want the adoration, but George sure did. He felt he had a winner with Amelia. I am not writing to criticize Amelia or Elinor. I admire both women and I want to tell the truth about them. George talked Elinor Smith into dropping out Powder Puff Derbys the most important race because it was the first all women air race. George offered Elinor $75 per week to fly Amelia around the country for her speaking engagements and promotional tours. When photographers would take pictures, Elinor was to stand to the side as if Amelia was flying the plane. When Amelia got out of the plane she was dressed in a clean dress and looked immaculate, so she really wasn’t dressed to fly. George kept Amelia in the spotlight by deception. Elinor turned down George’s offer. It was so disgusting. Amelia didn’t know about this offer, or any other way George tried to keep Elinor out of the spotlight. Amelia told Elinor that he would do anything he needed to make sure that she that Amelia remained the top woman pilot. George promoted Amelia as Lady Lindy. Amelia was tall and slim like Lindbergh, and he thought that he could promote her as the female counterpart to Lindy. Amelia’s first claim to fame was not exactly true because of George’s manipulation. She according to George was the first women to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Only part of that statement is true. She did fly across the ocean but only as a passenger. She did not fly the plane. When she arrived in France. She was greeted like a movie star. The public overlooked the fact that she didn’t fly the plane. Amelia didn’t know what to think. She tried to set the enormous crowd that she was just a passenger and just sat there “like a bag of potatoes.” She didn’t want the adoration George sure did he that Amelia was his winning ticket. Elinor didn’t want to be Amelia. She hoped that George would promote her like Amelia. That never happened. He wanted to use Elinor ability as a pilot to help Amelia get more speaking engagements. He thought Amelia should never smile for the camera because she had a space between her teeth. Everything was done for publicity. George wanted Elinor to endorse a line of casual dresses for women to wear when they flew. Elinor turned her down because she was wearing practical clothes when she flew. Elinor didn’t want to wear clothes that she would only get grease and dirt on. Elinor usually wore her brother’s knickers, his old shirt, a windbreaker, argyle socks, and worn-out sneakers. Elinor felt that because she flew over the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic that she should wear clothes she could quickly get out of if she needed to in case she had crashed into the water. Practical clothes would be easier to swim home. Amelia wanted the money for endorsements so that she could buy more powerful planes and enter more races. Truthfully, it was George who insisted that Amelia do many endorsements and Amelia felt she had to follow along. That’s why I call George Amelia’s Puppeteer. Elinor would not endorse products that she didn’t use or believe in. She needed the money, but she just couldn’t commit to being involved in things that weren’t right for her. Elinor had $15,000 worth of endorsements of her own. Not as many as Amelia but after her flight under the bridges she was in many newsreels and even had her pictures on buses. Elinor thought Amelia was warm and friendly and not shy and retiring like George portrayed her. He also wouldn’t let the press Amelia know that she was 30 yrs old. He felt that the younger she was the public would think that she was more unique. He didn’t respect Elinor because she was too young to be taken seriously. One time Amelia and Elinor went up in a very powerful plane. Elinor asked Amelia if she’d like to take over the controls. Amelia couldn’t handle it and let Elinor take control again. Amelia was very embarrassed, and it seemed to Elinor that Amelia was not the experienced pilot that George said. Elinor realized that Amelia had not flown and landed on her own. It turned out that another pilot who George said was her mechanic was really landed the plane for Amelia. When Amelia left the plane she looked like a picture, perfectly dressed and had no dirt or grease stains anywhere. She looked immaculate. This proved that George was perpetrating a hoax on the reporters and public. Elinor knew that George was a liar. Amelia went along with this deception because George told her what to do and she followed along. Elinor really liked Amelia and encouraged her to take a refresher pilots course in order to increase her skills. Elinor was pleased that she did this in private at her parents Rye, N.Y. estate. George spread rumors that I was very difficult to work with and that aviation manufactures shouldn’t hire me to promote their planes. He did everything to stop me from finding a way to earn money for my flights. In 1929 Amelia and other women pilots started a group to support each other in aviation. Elinor never joined because she felt that women at that time shouldn’t fly and compete against men in the big-time races. Elinor thought that women should fly the smaller and not as heavy planes. Amelia had a difficult time earning her transport license. This was the highest rating that you could receive. Elinor earned hers at age 17. George said that Amelia was so competent that she didn’t even need to take the written or physical test. Elinor wanted to buy a powerful plane by a well-known manufacturer named Bellanca. She needed this plane to compete in a race. Mr. Bellanca promised her the plane to Elinor. Unfortunately, George talked Bellanca to let Amelia buy the plane. This would ultimately cause Elinor to drop out of the race. George didn’t allow anyone to question if Amelia was really the pilot in some races and appearances. In actually, it was somewhat known that someone else, possibly her mechanic was the pilot not Amelia. Some reporters noticed on several occasions that she was supposed to be the pilot she left the plane perfectly dressed. No oil or dirt on her clothes. Even her hair was perfect. It was not her that made the “perfect landing because she wasn’t really flying or landing the plane. If George was asked about Amelia’s ability, he just said that Amelia was too important to answer that question. He felt that he didn’t have to convince anyone. Elinor believed Amelia that she didn’t know anything about George’s attitude toward her. Elinor told Amelia that she was pushed out of races and events because he only wanted Amelia to be the top pilot. Elinor told Amelia that George spread rumors that she was too difficult to work with and that manufacturers should stay away from her and only work with Amelia. Amelia said that George never told her anything about his push to keep Elinor out of the money races. Few know that Amelia did poorly in the Cleveland Air Races and only finished 3rd. She was flying the fastest ship, but she really didn’t know how to control it. She didn’t have enough skills to properly fly this large plane. She only received her solo license 5 months before the race and didn’t have the expertise to properly pilot the plane. This would have surprised the general public if they knew the truth about Amelia’s abilities. To the public she was their Lady Lindy, and they wouldn’t believe their hero was anything but the best woman pilot. Truthfully, it was George who created this illusion. George blamed the manufacturer not Amelia’s ability. He wasn’t going to let the press criticize Amelia. her to write about her adventures. Amelia surprised Elinor when she told her that she was going to marry George. Amelia said that it wouldn’t be a real marriage but George would help her raise money so she could do what she loved to do. Amelia didn’t like writing books or speaking at functions but that would give her money to fly in the big races and have more powerful planes felt Elinor couldn’t stand George, but she liked Amelia and wished her well in her marriage. Elinor felt that George never understood that Amelia wasn’t a great pilot with too little experience and knowledge to perform the flights he promoted for her, Elinor believed that Amelia needed more practice and was glad when she did take time to get more experience with flights near her home in Rye N.Y. On Amelia’s last flight she made a serious mistake by taking George’s advice. Amelia didn’t take a powerful enough radio on that flight; George told her that she couldn’t wait for the proper radio to be shipped to her. He had scheduled speaking engagements that couldn’t be changed. If she had that radio maybe she wouldn’t have gotten lost. I still believe that Amelia should be honored as an important part of the advancement of women in aviation and other fields. I just believe that other women should be honored too. This post may open the eyes of people that Amelia was a good pilot and did advance women in many fields. I hope that you will read Elinor’s book entitled “Aviatrix” and get a different picture of Amelia Earhart. George offered Elinor the moon but gave her nothing. Actually, he got in her way. He worked to stop her from getting the publicity like Amelia. Elinor hoped that George would do the same for her that he did for Amelia. that Amelia was in many different pictures, but Elinor couldn’t be in those pictures. She also, couldn’t George said that Amelia wasn’t physically sturdy for the Powder-puff Race. He was critical of her bad performance in the race. He was angry with Amelia but to the press he criticized the plane not her ability. George tried to stop Elinor from flying in the big prize money races. He said that he would do anything to protect Amelia’s interests. Amelia didn’t think that she needed the help from the ship Itasca. She didn’t believe that she would need help finding Howland Island. Amelia delayed her last flight because of bad weather. Really, the Navy reported that the weather was fine. The real reason was Amelia was exhausted. On March 20 Amelia took off from Honolulu and her plane swung out of control. Amelia postponed the flight.
My research said that Vicky was a bush pilot in Juneau. If she was, she would have had a hard time. There were very few women pilots in the 30′ in the US let alone in Alaska. I will write the Juneau Historical Society and see if they have any records about her. Research said she was a waitress. Who knows. Another mystery about Vicky.
Vicky was a risk-taker and courageous. I think that she was not afraid of danger or the unknown. These were the character traits of other women pilots. Vicky took flying lessons at the Roosevelt field and stayed at the Roosevelt Field Hotel. It was a place for dancing in the huge ballroom. It’s funny but I can picture so much about Vicky, but I wish that I had asked my parents about her. But that wouldn’t have worked. My mom really didn’t like her. At the hotel, they could eat outside on warm sunny days. The eating area overlooked the field and they could watch the planes land and takeoff. Roosevelt Field was the most famous airfield and everything was made for the pilot’s safety. The field had asphalt runways so it was the perfect place to learn to fly.
When women started flying in great numbers of people wondered if flying was safe for women. Are they physically fit? Instructors wondered if women could learn because of their lack of mechanical knowledge. Women learned to fly for sport. They believed, it was a wholesome sport and adventure. But others took the idea of flying as serious business. They wanted to learn. But after getting their license they were restricted in finding jobs. Most women ended up selling planes or writing about planes. Maybe Vicky was one of the women who didn’t care what men thought. She just wanted to fly.
When her husband walked out on her Vicky reported Ward missing two years later in 1927. She looked for Ward on her own for 2 years because she didn’t want the publicity. When the police were alerted, they tried to talk to Wards mother Mrs. Anna D. Lederer, his sister Catherine Durant…neither would give any information to the police. Vicky stayed temporarily at the Hotel Manager. Vicky didn’t want to live on the family’s charity, but she sure changed her mind. It was such a mystery where Ward was living but she was tired of looking for him. Vicky said “Now I am neither unmarried or married. (New York Times, April 4, 1927) Ward wasn’t honest with his own wife. Now could he marry another woman and not give Vicky the courtesy of divorcing Vicky. She loved the parties the drinking, and the high life but she loved Ward more. Vicky made herself so sick that she couldn’t work, and she didn’t know how she would survive. She decided that she had to accept the money from Ward’s family. It was then that she went traveling and then learned to fly. When the world was in crisis Vicky lived well.
The beginning of the aviation age brought out some unusual beliefs. One was “The Winged Gospel.” book by Joseph J. Corn. This phrase meant that flying brought you closer to God. Some people thought that the airplane would change the world. There would be no sickness and no war. Of course, the airplane didn’t stop wars or sickness. The belief persisted.
This gospel of the belief in the airplane was furthered by preachers saying that a new age was coming. This new age would bring a kind of peace that people had never experienced before. They felt that anyone up in the sky must be receiving direction from God. These directions explained that man could be stronger, kinder and more serene. This would happen as their belief in God increased.
Many people thought that the airplane would bring everyone together quicker and easier. An understanding of others was one of the tenets of this unusual belief. Belief waned as people realized that wars were still going on. Many crashes and the deaths of pilots and passengers convinced believers that the theory didn’t bring peace or understanding of others,.Some felt that the peace they hoped for would take a long time to come.
I personally feel closer to God when I am flying, I have time to think and dream. Sometimes by the end of the trip, I have concrete dreams. I think of a way to make these dreams come true. I don’t believe in “The Winged Gospel” but it’s nice to dream that maybe being closer to God is where I need to be. The airplane is just one way to be closer. Everyone can be up in their imaginary airplane and dream of ways to make a better world. Maybe this phrase isn’t so ridiculous. Maybe we should all find our own way to be closer to God. If you don’t believe in God, just find your own way to make our world better.
I want to tell you why Vicky was so important to me. I want to outline how I now have 3,000 pages of research about Vicky and the era she shined. The ’30s were not only the Great Depression with everyone singing Brother Can You Spare a Dime. Some like Vicky were living the good life I want to outline how I researched Vicky. I think of myself as one person. We definitely aren’t totally alike but I know that we are alike enough for me to feel that we are as one, I really didn’t understand it.
Today I want to explain how my family influenced my life’s passion. People who know me think that my passion for aviation was due to my brother. My brother flew a plane before he drove a car. I don’t remember anything about his flying days. He got his private license and flew for a few years.
He became an aeronautical engineer and worked for Boeing for 40 years. Today he is retired but is a Docent and researcher at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. When I was in Seattle he gave me a tour of this wonderful museum.
Today he has many other interests and I think I’m more into aviation then he is. All he remembers about our Aunt Vicky is the saddle she kept in my parent’s basement. Vicky had her own horse but when she was separated from her husband she bounced from place to place. One of those places was my parents’ home. I also remember the saddle but nothing else comes to mind about Vicky. I was about 5 when she lived in Chicago. My brother is two years older and he doesn’t remember anything either.
I know I went on a family vacation to see Aunt Vicky. I was about six when we visited her in San Diego. Vicky had remarried a man named George LaMonte. I don’t remember anything about that trip or George.
It wasn’t till my dad passed away that I developed my interest in aviation and Vicky. Dad had possession of an old suitcase of Vicky. I went through the newspapers, pictures, and medals of Vicky’s interesting life. I became enthralled with Vicky and aviation.
In future posts, I will explain what I found in this magical suitcase.
It wasn’t until the last few posts that I realized I was finding myself as I learned about aviation and Vicky. I know now that I am Cindy-Vicky or Vicky-Cindy and that I am beginning to like the person I became. I never felt that way before.
I am grateful for the technology that has taken me back decades and yet I also helped me live in the present.
Thank you for reading and following.
I wish you all:
BLUE SKIES AND SOFT WINDS THAT TAKE YOU THROUGH THIS FASCINATING RIDE CALLED LIFE.
Fay Gillis Wells was born in 1908 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was well-known for her contributions to aviation. She was a charter member of the 99 and received accolades as a foreign and Hollywood correspondent, and even a White House correspondent.
In the 1930s she was a freelance correspondent in the Soviet Union and also wrote for New York Herald Tribune, the Associated Press, and many aviation magazines.
In 1934 Fay married Linton Wells who was also a journalist. He asked her to help cover the Italian- Ethiopian war. She accompanied him and they both wrote articles for the New York Herald Tribune. Fay thought this trip would be exciting but she wished that they could go on a honeymoon instead. She chose Ethiopia.
Wiley Post asked Fay if she wanted to go on his trip around the world. She told him no because she had made up her mind to go to Ethiopia with her husband. Wiley asked Will Rogers to go with him. Unfortunately, they both died in a plane crash
When Fay and Linton returned to New York where she purchased a cheetah and a leopard. These two unusual pets lived with the couple in their apartment. When they moved to California the pets came with them. In California she wrote about the movies and her husband spent time writing a book.
She had a career that touched many many people all over the world. She helped in the World War 11 effort by buying war materials.
Fay became the first member of a club called the Caterpillar Club. She was the first woman pilot to use a parachute to leave a disabled plane in order to save her life.
This feisty woman was the first woman to sell aircraft. It makes me think of my Aunt Vicky who also sold and demonstrated planes for manufactures.
In my aunt’s memorabilia I found a letter signed by Fay Gillis Wells and 22 women attended this first meeting. This was a letter sent to all 117 women pilots in 1929 in order to get to know one another. 99 women were interested in attending the meeting in Valley Stream, Long Island. The women were very well dressed even though they met in a hangar at Curtis Field. Fay wore overalls, a helmet and goggles. The group decided that they needed each other’s support because they were in a man’s only field. Amelia Earhart was elected president and Fay was elected secretary.
I learned that my aunt never became a member of the 99’s. I have talked about this in other posts but I never did find the reason why she didn’t join. She was one of the first Jewish women pilots and there was a lot of discrimination at that time. This organization was open to any woman who had a pilot’s license. She received her license in 1931 when she was 40 years old. Maybe she felt she was too old or not an experienced pilot like so many in the 99’s.
Fay and her husband were asked by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to go to Africa to look for a possible homeland for the Jewish people.
Fay was a correspondent for thirteen years covering news for Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter.
She was asked by President Richard Nixon to go with him on his historic trip to China. While in China Fay wrote about this momentous trip.
Fay wrote about Soviet aviation and demonstrated the country’s planes and was the first woman to fly in the Soviet Union. In the late 30s Fay ended her life in flying when she did not renew her license.
In 1946 her only son Linton Wells 11 Was born in Angola. Then they returned back to the United States. In California she and her husband bought a houseboat and Fay wrote articles about living on it with her husband and son.
Say never lost her interest in aviation. In 1962 Faye helped introduce an Amelia Earhart stamp. She announced this At the 99’s first international convention.
Fay was instrumental in forming the Forest of Friendship. This place was to honor Fay Gillis Wells for her contributions to aviation and journalism.
For her 92nd birthday she flew and landed a plane in Elizabeth, New Jersey.