NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY MANUSCRIPT FINDING AID
RG3046.AM: Dorothy LaVone Barden, 1903-1993
Scrapbooks (photocopies): ca. 1927-1978
Bridgeport, Morrill County, Neb.: Parachute jumper, rigger, and teacher
Size: 1 folder
Dorothy Barden, a native of Redington, Wyoming, began her unique aerial career in 1927 or 1928, when she made her first parachute jump at the Morrill County, Nebraska fair. Although her first jump ended in a lake, she was undeterred by this setback and over the next twenty years Barden made some 420 jumps in a professional career that took her all over the West.
At an early age, Barden became hooked on flying and eventually received her pilot’s license. She soon became interested in parachute jumping and began appearing in barnstorming shows billed as “the queen of the ‘chute jumpers” and “Nebraska’s famous falling star.” Barden eventually organized her own show, which included stunt flying and parachute jumping.
Dorothy Barden was the first woman in the country to get a parachute rigger’s license. During World War II, this skill was put to use as she ran a parachute shop and became parachute foreman for North American, a Kansas City aeronautics firm. Barden’s parachute jumping career ended around 1950 after she broke her neck while jumping at the dedication of the Lake Tahoe, Nevada airport.
From 1951 to 1960 Barden worked at McLellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, California as a parachute rigger and evaluator for airplane instruments. She retired to Bridgeport, Nebraska in the mid-1970s. Dorothy L. Barden died in Bridgeport on February 15, 1993.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
This collection consists of one folder containing photocopies from scrapbooks, ca. 1927-1978. This material relates to Dorothy Barden’s career as a parachute jumper, rigger, teacher and pilot. The collection is comprised of photocopies of newspaper articles, photographs, and publicity materials relating to Barden’s aerial career. In many cases, Barden’s handwritten notes provide additional information to the reports given in the newspaper clippings. Also of particular interest is a copy of a 1944 letter to Barden from “Sharpie” (Evelyn Sharp), famous airplane pilot from Ord. Although this collection contains material from the late 1920s through 1978, the bulk of the material, much of which is undated, pertains to Dorothy Barden’s parachute jumping and rigging career during the 1930s and 1940s.
- Scrapbook material (photocopies), ca. 1927-1978
Aeronautical sports — United States
Barden, Dorothy LaVone, 1903-1993
Parachutes — Rigging
Parachuting — United States
01-28-2010 Revised TMM