Women in History: Olive Ann Beech

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  • co-founded an aircraft company with her husband and ran it during parts of his life when he was sick and then after he died.
  • was the first woman in charge of a major aircraft company.
  • was a wife and a mother.
  • was nicknamed “The First Lady of Aviation.”
  • helped support the arts and education during her lifetime.

From http://www.kansasmemory.org/item/712

Others said

  • “Your selection… signals recognition of your contribution to the quality of life in Kansas. Your civic and community involvement has enriched the lives of countless Kansans. We are all grateful for your efforts.” -Governor Carlin

From http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2007/fortune/0709/gallery.MPW_100_years.fortune/6.html

She said

  • “I like to have around me people who find ways to do things, not tell me why they can’t be done.”
  • “You have to sit on your own blisters.”
  • “I would say I was very fortunate throughout my life that I didn’t have to do anything that I didn’t like. I enjoyed what I did.”

From http://specialcollections.wichita.edu/exhibits/beech/exhibita.html


  • Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy (the first woman to receive this)
  • American National Business Hall of Fame (only person from Kansas to receive this)
  • National Aviation Hall of Fame
  • One of 12 Most Distinguished Women in America
  • Woman of the Year in Aviation
  • Outstanding Woman in the Field of Business
  • One of the 10 highest-ranking women executives in major corporations
  • Bendix Trophy
  • Kansan of the Year
  • NASA Space Shuttle Study Committee nomination
  • Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame
  • 1981 Distinguished Achievement Award
  • Honorary Doctor of Business Administration from Wichita State University
  • Business Hall of Fame of Junior Achievement of Wichita

From http://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/partners/29.htm

Books (Note, I haven’t read, I’ve just found them)

From http://www.wingsoverkansas.com/history/article.asp?id=225

The Salvation Army in Wichita has an Olive Ann Beech Hall.

If you go to Wichita State University, you might be eligible for the Walter H. and Olive Ann Beech Collection Endowed Fund.

There is also the Olive Ann Beech Scholarship for Primary Care in Kansas.

Southwestern College has the Olive Ann Beech Science Center.


For more women who did incredible things in history, check out my list here.


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