Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Whirly-Girls Digital Collection Takes Off

The U.S. Helicopter Team with HRH Prince Phillip at the 2nd World Helicopter Championships, 1973. TWU Libraries Woman's Collection, Whirly-Girls Digital Collection.

Since January 2012, staff member Kat Bell of the Woman's Collection of TWU Libraries has been hard at work on the Whirly-Girls Collection, a growing research collection based on the records of the Whirly-Girls International and the personal papers of individual women helicopter pilots. In an effort to expand the digital portion of this collection, Kat has been digitizing photographs and documents that highlight the wonderful history of this organization of female helicopter pilots.

Founded in 1955 by Jean Ross Howard Phelan and affiliated with the Helicopter Association International, the Whirly-Girls is a support network and a scholarship provider for women helicopter pilots. The Whirly-Girls began with 13 charter members; its membership has grown to almost 1,800 members today. As of July, 2012 the digital collection consists of over 1,000 images. Photographs from all the membership files have been added, accompanied by biographies of the individual pilots. Two photo albums and nine scrapbooks have also been digitized. Seven scrapbooks have yet to be digitized; these include documents from the early years of the organization and material received by the TWU Libraries Woman's Collection this summer.

The Woman’s Collection of Texas Woman's University Libraries has been the official archive of the Whirly-Girls since 1996.

~Kat Bell

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