Minneapolis, Minnesota: circa 1931. Unbound. This grouping consists of three items: 1) An autographed airmail cover franked with a red and blue 5-cent Beacon airmail stamp (Scott #C11) and a Minneapolis station number “2” barrel postmark date Jul 27. It is addressed to a St. Joseph, Missouri address. The cover is autographed in the upper left corner “Florence E Klingensmith / “Tree Tops”. The cover is in nice shape. 2) An autographed 3.5” x 4.5” b/w photograph of Klingensmith leaning against her plan. In nice shape, however most of the autograph difficult to see straight on as the ink matches the black of the photograph. The last two letters “th” of Klingensmith’s name can be seen easily in the right margin, however, to read the full autograph, the photo must be tilted. 3) An undated newspaper clipping from the St. Joseph (Missouri) Gazette featuring a half=tone image of Klingensmith and reporting on her record-breaking flight: “Makes 1,078 Loops / Florence Klingensmith, Fargo, N. S., flyer made 1,078 loops in a plane over Minneapolis. The clipping is in nice shape. Very good. Item #009405
Florence Klingensmith (then Gunderson) was born on a small farm in Oakport Township, Minnesota. A daredevil since childhood, she became infatuated with motorcycles at high speeds. In 1928, Charles Lindbergh visited Fargo, North Dakota, where Klingensmith lived at the time, inspiring Florence to take flying lessons. That summer, she agreed to be a skydiver in return for flight lessons from Edwin Mead Canfield. Over that winter she was able to persuade Fargo businessmen to purchase a plane, Miss Fargo, for her to use to promote the city at fairs, flying meets, and air races. In June 2929 she became the North Dakota’s first licensed woman pilot and that summer she barnstormed county fairs and flew in her first air race, finishing in fourth place. She set repeated woman’s world records for making the most inside loops in on flight, first in April 1930 with 143 and then again on June 22, 1931 where before more than 50,000 spectators, Florence flew for 4.5 hours making 1,078 loops. At the 1931 National Air Races, she won four woman-only event and claimed over $4,000 in prize money. The next year, she won the most coveted prize in women’s aviation, the Amelia Earhart Trophy with an accompanying Exxex Terraplane automobile. In 1932, she placed second in the Shell Speed Dash, setting the stage for her entry into the otherwise all-male 100-mile Frank Phillips Trophy Race at the International Air Races in Chicago. In it she flew a fabric-covered Gee Bee Model Y Senior Sportster whose stock 22- horsepower engine had been replaced with a 670 horsepower Wright Whirlwind. During the race, while Florence was n fourth place, the stress on her overpowered aircraft was too much causing her to crash. She died instantly and was later buried in her family’s plot in the Oakport, Minnesota Cemetery. A nice grouping of mementos from one of the most important and successful of the early women aviators.