Mary Goodrich Jenson (1907-2004)

Mary Goodrich Jenson (1907-2004) grew up in Wethersfield, Connecticut. She attended Collegio Gazzola in Verona, Italy, the Katherine Gibbs School and Columbia University. In 1927, at age 20, Jenson became the first woman in Connecticut to earn a pilot’s license. She worked for the Hartford Courant as its first aviation editor and later became the first woman at the Courant to have a bylined column.

In 1929, Jenson was a charter member of the Ninety-Nines, an organization created to provide support for women in aviation. Jenson was the only female passenger of the Hindenburg when it flew over Hartford in 1936. She piloted a Fairchild KR-21 bi-plane and made history as the first woman to fly solo to Cuba. She served as director of the Betsy Ross Corps, a group of female pilots organized to assist in national defense.

Jenson also worked in advertising and promotion, working for Walt Disney Productions in Hollywood, California for a brief time in the 1930s. At Disney, she met her husband, Carl Jenson, with whom she had two children. The family returned to Wethersfield in 1941 where Jenson served on the Board of Education, the Republican Town Committee, the Council of Social Agencies of Greater Hartford and as President of the Women’s Association.  Jenson was inducted in the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in 2000.

References:

Inductees, Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.  Accessed at http//www.cwhf.org/ on July 10, 2012

Hartford Courant obituary, January 5, 2004

Photo Credit: Wethersfield Historical Society