NCS History

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General History

AE Scholarship History


1929 - Cleveland National Air Race - behind the grandstand. That was the “when” and “where” several lady pilots discussed the possible formation of a women aviators’ organization. The rest is history. The first organizational meeting was scheduled November 2, 1929, at Curtiss Field on Long Island, New York. Thus, the start of the 99 Club. Of the 99 Charter Members, fifteen were from North Central Section.

Lauretta Schimmoler (License #15907) served as the first North Central Section Governor in 1931 during Amelia Earhart’s first tenure of office. Then she was elected International Secretary-Treasurer during Amelia Earhart’s second term and the first year of Margaret Cooper’s presidency (1932-1934). Lauretta also spearheaded the formation of the Cleveland Chapter, the first 99 Chapter in Ohio, in 1932. Mary von Mach, a Charter Member, was the second North Central Governor (1932-1933) and a member of the Michigan Chapter.

Growth of the Section was slow. By 1932, there were only 30 members in North Central Section comprised of 9 states. Even by October 1936, there were only four chapters: Illinois, Michigan, Northern Ohio, and Southern Ohio. The other five states (Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin) had only one or two 99s in their respective states so could not form a chapter which required at least five members.

During her term as Governor (1937-1939) and as North Central Membership Chairman (1940), Florence Boswell (Cleveland) devoted a great deal of time traveling in her Cessna throughout the Section promoting 99s and assisting in Chapter formation. Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Eastern Missouri, Kentucky, and Wisconsin became new Chapters in the Section.

December 7, 1941, grounded all pilots. WWII brought members quickly into the war effort, not only on the home front, but in various other phases, including Civil Defense, WACs, WAFs, WASPs, WAVES, Red Cross, and Nurse Corps. Chapter activities became very limited.

1945 once again started 99 reorganization and membership growth. As Chapter memberships increased through the years, so have the number of Chapters in the Section. Divisions of some larger chapters have created new chapters covering smaller areas, making easier the attendance of chapter activities. Now, in 1991, North Central Section has twenty-four chapters. Since the Section’s formation in 1931, North Central has had 33 Governors.

Section members have served in various International offices and on the Executive Board. Serving as President are the following:


Year President
1935 - 1937 Mabel Britton
1945 - 1947 Jeannette Lempke (Sovereign)
1947 - 1948 Belle Hetzel
1951 - 1953 Alice Hammond
1955 - 1957 Edna Gardner Whyte
1959 - 1961 Eugenia “Deedo” Heise
1960 - 1970 Bernice Steadman
1976 - 1978 Lois Feigenbaum
1990 - 1992 Marie Christensen
2005 - 2006 Elaine Morrow

The first annual International meeting was held in Chicago on August 30, 1930. International annual meetings were held in Cleveland, Ohio, in conjunction with the Cleveland National Air Race in 1931, 1932, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, and 1939.

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Last updated: 01/23/2010