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Artifact Friday: The Scrapbook of Lucille Fredeman (Smith)

Happy Friday!

Women’s History Month continues at the Arkansas Air and Military Museum! Here is another famous woman from our state!


 Everyone knows Louise Thaden, the famous aviatrix who was born in Bentonville, Arkansas.

She received her pilot’s license in 1928.

However, there was another young woman from Little Rock, Arkansas who received her pilot’s license before Thaden.

Her name was Lucille Fredeman.

Aviation grew considerably in Arkansas during the 1920s, including with an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution that authorized the funding of airfields.

Meanwhile, the scope of the aviation field widened to include women as well as men.

Mrs. Fredeman took advantage of this opportunity and began flying lessons. Her journey was completed in September of 1926.

She recorded much of her journey in the scrapbook the museum has in its archives. One newspaper clipping in the book states, “She is enthusiastic over her success and her instructors say that she is without fear and flies with all the assurance of a veteran[1].”

Apparently, she was quite the novelty in Little Rock, as more of her flights were recorded by the newspaper, including when she took her husband for a ride. It is quite humorous what was written, “Greater faith has no husband in his wife than this: That he permits her to take him joyriding in an airplane[2].”

Further down in the article, there is an imagined conversation written between the airborne couple which implies that Mrs. Fredeman made many requests to Mr. Fredeman to which he agreed to her asking for a hat, a fur coat, and a pair of shoes, if only she delivered him safely to the ground! While this conversation most likely never took place, the paper did point out that Mr. Fredeman was happy to get back to the airfield.

There are more aviation highlights in the scrapbook, including an interesting tidbit about an “Air Carnival” the American Legion in Little Rock was going to host with the approval of Arkansas Governor Thomas Terral. The National Guard was flying military aircraft in formation and there were even rides offered in civilian aircraft at $2.50 per person. Additionally, Lucille was going to be one of the featured acts in this carnival along with her husband again accompanying her as a passenger.

The event was noted as being a success for aviation and the American Legion despite the event having to be postponed from Saturday to Sunday due to rain.

The pieces in Lucille’s scrapbook depict pieces of Arkansas history that would otherwise go unnoticed!

Her scrapbook is not on exhibit, but, for right now, it will remain in our archives to preserve these stories for years to come.







[1] The Arkansas Gazette (Direct quote), September, 27 1926

[2] The Arkansas Gazette (Direct quote), September. 27 1926

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