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Signed letter from Jean Batten (1935)

Signed letter from Jean Batten (1935)

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Visiting Brazil in 1935, shortly after crossing the South Atlantic, Jean Batten is grateful for the compliment from an admirer.

  • Letter signed by Jean Batten to an admirer.
  • Rio de Janeiro, November 21, 1935.
  • In English.
  • One page.
  • 24.7 cm x 18.7 cm.
  • Good state.
  • Unique piece.

When we talk about “aviation pioneers”, we forget about the pioneers. In fact, there were women involved and decisive in all inventions, directly or indirectly. Genius and courage have no gender, and I intend in the coming months and years to introduce you to even more glorious women who have been underestimated and deserve our attention.

Today I want to talk to you about one of them, who really fascinated me: Jean Batten . In its time, it was very famous and attracted crowds. The reason for its fame? A mix of audacity, beauty (she was called “Garbo of the Skies”) and above all her various distance and flight time records, at a time when planes were still unreliable and there were very few female pilots, due to machismo.

After her first flight, from Great Britain to Australia, she set a world record on November 13, 1935, by flying from Great Britain to Brazil in thirteen hours and fifteen minutes. It was on this occasion that she wrote and signed this small letter in Rio de Janeiro. Jean was awarded the National Order of the Southern Cross, becoming the first person - who was not a member of the Royal Family - to be honored, due to this record. He then accomplished another incredible feat by flying from England to New Zealand, his homeland.

In 1938, Jean was the first woman to receive the International Aeronautical Federation Medal, aviation's highest honor. However, the Second World War put an end to his aerial adventures. Although little by little forgotten, the international terminal at Auckland Airport is named after him. And she stays for eternity, in the restricted club of aviation pioneers.

This simple letter caught my attention for several reasons. First, it deals with the beginnings of aviation, a fascinating topic that I learned to explore with Santos Dumont. Secondly, she is an exceptional woman, who I admire. And third, this letter was written in Brazil, a week after one of his greatest achievements, crossing the South Atlantic. I make this trip several times a year, comfortably seated in my seat on the huge Airbus, and I'm sure that next time, I will think about Jean who made this journey alone, in her small plane.

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