|Birth: ||Dec. 3, 1884|
|Death: ||Feb., 1971|
When aviation was in its infancy, there were gray areas in terms of safety and passenger comfort. On virtually any photo taken to commemorate a first flight in the early days of aviation, there's a well-dressed, attractive woman wearing a hat. That's Clara Adams. In logging more than 150,000 maiden-voyage miles, she was frequently photographed with dignitaries, airline officials and flight crews,and through her conveying her thoughts about her experiences, the idea of flying became more widely accepted.
Born in Cincinnati, Adams got hooked on flying after her first experience, in a Thomas flying boat in 1914 at Lake Eustis, Fla. When she bought a ticket on the Graf Zeppelin, a round-trip fare from Europe to the U.S., in 1928 it was the first air ticket sold to a woman passenger to cross the Atlantic.
In 1931, Adams boarded a Pan Am Clipper headed from New York to Rio de Janeiro just to become the only woman passenger on the Dornier DO-X on the trip back to New York. The DO-X was an enormous, slow and heavy flying boat that hopped up the South American coast, stopping frequently. It boasted the ultimate in luxury, with three decks containing sleeping quarters, a bar, offices, bathrooms, a kitchen and dining room.
Adams was on the inaugural flight of the dirigible Hindenburg in 1936. After the Hindenburg crashed in New Jersey in 1937, Adams wrote to company officials in support and purchased a ticket for a next flight that never took place.
1936 also found Adams on Pan Am's inaugural flight of the China Clipper, a six-day trip from San Francisco to Manila to establish the trans-Pacific route for passengers and mail for the airline. That same year, Adams flew the first time the Honolulu Clipper went to Hawaii.
On July 15, 1939, Adams set a world record as the first woman passenger to complete an around-the-world air journey, the first leg of the trip on the Pan Am Dixie Clipper's inaugural flight. She left from New York and stopped in such ports-of-call as Lisbon, Portugal; Marseilles, France; Leipzig, Germany; Athens; Basra, Iraq; Jodhpur, India; Rangoon, Burma; Bangkok; Hong Kong; Wake Island; Honolulu and San Francisco.
Aware of the historical significance of what she was doing, she had the foresight to autograph anything she could get her hands on – luggage tags, tickets, fragments of Zeppelin skin, post cards. On one particular flight, she posted more than six pounds of mail."
World War II put an abrupt end to Adams' globe-trotting after a Clipper flight to New Zealand.
Adams took her final flight in 1971 when, after her death at 87, her wishes to have her ashes scattered from a plane were carried out. Her resting place is vaguely recorded as "the ocean,"
Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea.
Created by: Tom Cummings
Record added: Aug 26, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 41175709