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Women Aviators Focus of 'History Alive' Lecture

Alexander D. Bevil will discuss "Angels at 7 o'clock," his illustrated portrait of pioneering women aviators who made history between World War I and the 1930s.

The next "History Alive" lecture, sponsored by the Lemon Grove Historical Society, on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. in the H. Lee House Cultural Center, 3205 Olive, Lemon Grove, will feature the superb storyteller, Alexander D. Bevil, discussing "Angels at 7 o'clock," his illustrated portrait of pioneering women aviators who made history between World War I and the 1930s when U.S. aviation was in its infancy.  

"Though faced with gender bias, ridicule and sometimes outright sabotage, these 'First Ladies of Flight' had a single-minded determination to fly," said Bevil, who has been a California State Parks historian since 1998 and is the current president of the Congress of History of San Diego & Imperial Counties. 

Women aviators tested aircraft, flew bombers, and carried out spy and rescue missions, earning their wings alongside male pilots.  One aviator, the late Isabelle McCrae, Lemon Grove, began flying in the 1930s and later trained on an AT-6 military plane as a WASP (Women's Airforce Service Pilots).  See the attached photograph of McCrae in uniform; the latter is now in the San Diego Air & Space Museum, Balboa Park.

Bevil researches and documents historic aviation crash sites in California State Parks.  One, a World War II bomber crash site in Riverside County was nominated to the California Register thanks to Bevil.  He is now working to nominate a 1922 military aircraft crash site at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park to the National Register of Historic Places.  

The SDSU graduate was formerly associated with the San Diego Architect's office, where he recorded many historic homes in San Diego neighborhoods.  He has lectured widely and received numerous awards for his writing from the San Diego Historical Society and other organizations.

Questions and answers and refreshments will follow the presentation.  To promote lifelong learning, the lecture series is free and suitable for ages 13 and over.  Donations are gratefully accepted.  For more information, call 619-460-4353.

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