Anniston's aviatrix
by Nick Cenegy
Staff Writer
Aug 03, 2008 | 4225 views |  0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ruth Elder. Public Library of Anniston and Calhoun County
Ruth Elder. Public Library of Anniston and Calhoun County
slideshow
Ruth Elder. Public Library of Anniston and Calhoun County
Ruth Elder. Public Library of Anniston and Calhoun County
slideshow
She was daring, glamorous, and personified the "Roaring 20s" image of celebrity.

Anniston native Ruth Elder, "Miss America of Aviation," was a barnstorming aviatrix who captured the imaginations of Annistonians and the nation at large.

Elder was born Sept. 8, 1904, one of seven children. She grew up a tomboy, attended Anniston High School and graduated from Oxford High School.

She attempted to be the first woman to fly non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean on Oct. 11, 1927.

She and fellow pilot George Haldeman made it 36 hours into the flight over the ocean, 300 miles from Bourget Field, Paris, when they crash landed her plane "The American Girl."

They brought the plane down on the crest of a wave near an oil tanker. It was an hour before the tanker could pick them up.

The daring feat, though unsuccessful, sent her to Hollywood and thrust her into the national spotlight, bringing her an estimated $250,000 from personal appearances and movies, in just a few years.

Elder tried movies, writing, and later worked for an advertising business.

The attention also brought turbulence to her personal life.

She suffered numerous setbacks and six ill-fated marriages and she soon withdrew from public life.

At one point she chose to sever all connection with her glamorous past, dropping her given name and adopting that of a favorite aunt, Susan.

She died Oct. 9, 1977, in San Francisco.
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Anniston's aviatrix by Nick Cenegy
Staff Writer

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