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Beryl Markham

The June 19 1937 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail included this photograph of British aviator Beryl Markham:

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Beryl Markham (1902-1986) deserves to be thought of as famous – she was the first female pilot to fly non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean. She accomplished this on September 4, 1936, after several women had died trying.

Ms. Markham led an interesting life. Among other things:

  • She grew up in Kenya, which was then part of British East Africa, on her father’s horse racing farm. She moved back to Kenya in 1952, and became a successful horse trainer there.
  • She had an affair with Prince Henry, a son of King George V.
  • She was a friend of Karen Blixen (who, as Isak Dinesen, wrote Out Of Africa), and had an affair with Blixen’s former romantic partner, Denys Finch Hatton. She turned down a chance to fly with him on the flight that killed him.
  • She wrote a memoir, West With The Night, that was published in 1942, and that remained obscure until one of Ernest Hemingway’s letters was discovered that praised her writing.
  • An impact crater on the planet Venus has been named “Markham” in her honour.

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