Earhart's Peer: Pancho Barnes, Aviatrix
July 28, 2017 7:43 PM   Subscribe

Barnes was a large-living lady, flying, drinking, dancing, rebelling. She certainly didn't fit into her family's wealthy conservative style and eventually they gave up (after she escaped from boarding school and rode a horse into Mexico). She and Amelia Earhart were friends and helped put together a women flyers club. Here's a link to the official site, which has a lot of archives: Pancho Barnes site
posted by MovableBookLady (9 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
She looked like a downright hoot and a half to hang out with. Would have also loved to get her liquored up and let her tell stories for a while.
posted by Samizdata at 8:13 PM on July 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

Thanks for these links! A recreation of Pancho's Happy Bottom Riding Club is shown in the movie The Right Stuff, both intact and later, as it burns. I was always curious about it, and now I know enough of its backstory to have some context. Thanks!
posted by mosk at 10:18 PM on July 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

Ooh, I wanna party with that broad.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:18 AM on July 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Wow awesome! I'm embarrassed to say I'd never heard of her before this post. Thanks!
posted by Nelson at 8:36 AM on July 29, 2017

What a badass.
posted by vibrotronica at 8:37 AM on July 29, 2017

She has the very best smile, the generous kind that starts deep.

Thank you for this post.
posted by Caxton1476 at 12:17 PM on July 29, 2017

I think I need to Pancho Barnes my life a bit.
posted by chapps at 12:29 PM on July 29, 2017

Ah, the perks of being born into wealth and the confidence that it provides.
posted by BlackBox at 12:48 AM on July 30, 2017

I've been pondering precisely why that crack about "born into wealth" is so shitty. Maybe it's as simple as dismissing a woman's accomplishments in a time and profession were women were largely not welcome. And it's a drive-by comment that doesn't really add anything to the discussion, just makes us feel bad.

But I figured out the real problem. The dismissal ignores the achievements Pancho Barnes made. Sure, wealth and privilege may have been part of her being set up to succeed. But there are many wealthy people from this era who didn't do anything particularly interesting. There are precious few pilots of her skill in this era and almost no women. And also relatively few who then went on to build a career as an entertainer and host and successful businesswomen. Ms. Barnes did all of that and should be celebrated for it.

So good for you, Pancho Barnes. I imagine she wouldn't have been much bothered by Internet haters. She probably shrugged off a lot worse in her time.
posted by Nelson at 6:28 PM on July 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

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