Ho hum!

Here’s a photo from the August 2 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a woman planning to fly from New York to Greece.

Elvy Kalep (1899-1989) had already led a very eventful life by the time of this photograph. Born in Estonia, she moved to Russia as a teenager, and was in St. Petersburg when the February Revolution of 1917 broke out. While waiting in line to buy a train ticket out of the country in a failed attempt to flee, she witnessed six men being shot.

She then settled in Vladivostok, where she married a Russian general; they had a son. After eight years there, the family fled to China. Her son died and her husband disappeared; since she spoke Russian, Chinese, English, and German, she was able to get work as an interpreter.

She returned to Estonia in 1926 and then moved to Paris, where she studied oil painting and remarried. In the late 1920s, she met Dutch aviator Anthony Fokker and asked him to teach her to fly. In 1932, she planned on becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, but then met and befriended Amelia Earhart, who was about to achieve this herself. Instead, she and a co-pilot planned a flight from Los Angeles to Athens, captioned in the photograph above, to commemorate the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games. This flight was later cancelled.

About this time, Ms. Kalep married her third husband, stockbroker W.E. Hutton-Miller; this marriage ended about when the war started. In 1936, she published a children’s book, Air Babies. Later in her life, she became a toy designer and then moved to Florida and became an artist, specializing in three-dimensional paintings made of pieces of coloured leather.

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