The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

Cheyenne's stewardess school, and another achievement for the Equality State

Cheyenne's stewardess school, and another achievement for the Equality State

December 2019

This month, we feature the first female flight attendants, trained in Cheyenne; plus another step forward for women’s rights that is often overlooked.

Loading luggage, lugging food and soothing nervous passengers

Boeing Air Transport, a precursor of United Air Lines, trained the world’s first stewardesses in Cheyenne beginning in 1930. This and other aviation-related industries boosted Cheyenne’s economy through the end of World War II and beyond; the stewardess school finally closed in 1961. Read more in Michael Kassel and Starley Talbott’s new article “Wyoming’s Friendly Skies: Training the First Stewardesses.”

A close vote for women’s rights

Would the Equal Rights Amendment jeopardize alimony and child support, or would it bring women better opportunities and a fairer society for all? As the 42nd Wyoming legislature prepared to vote in January 1973, concerned citizens lobbied, wrote letters and argued on all sides of the question. Read more in Rebecca Hein’s new article “Wyoming Ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment.

New Esther Hobart Morris biography

Esther Hobart Morris: The Unembellished Story of the Nation’s First Female Judge, by Kathryn Swim Cummings, with a foreword by Will Bagley. Glendo, Wyo.: High Plains Press, 2019, 286 pages. $19.95 paperback. As the title of this well-crafted biography suggests, the story of the first woman justice of the peace needs no embellishment. In 1870, Morris made history for women and for Wyoming when she successfully applied for the post of judge for the Third Judicial District Court in South Pass City, Wyoming Territory. Before and after, certain facets of her life resembled that of other ordinary women of the times: She encountered discriminatory laws, struggled to earn money and lived with an alcoholic, abusive second husband at a time when little legal protection was available.
Two of her nieces worked in New York City with suffrage activists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton at the office of The Revolution—the official publication of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Cummings notes that Morris, also living in New York City at the time, “probably visited the offices of The Revolution and met Susan B. Anthony.” Discussions with her nieces and reading the latest suffrage news “[c]ertainly stiffened Esther’s resolve to fight for suffrage whenever and wherever she could.” Nevertheless, Cummings stresses, Morris was a traditional woman, staying home and caring for her children whenever circumstances permitted.

The book is available at bookstores, online from High Plains Press or by calling 1-800-552-7819.

Special Suffrage anniversary celebrations

Traveling exhibit at Wyoming State Museum
Reception for the traveling exhibit on women’s suffrage, 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9 and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday Dec. 10 at the museum, 2301 Capitol Ave. in Cheyenne.
Anniversary March, official ceremony and Capitol tours
The march will begin at 8 a.m. at West 17th & Carey in Cheyenne and end at the Wyoming State Capitol,  followed by special announcements from Gov. Mark Gordon at 9 a.m. as he proclaims December 10 as Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Day. 
The Capitol will be open for tours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Learn more about Wyoming women’s suffrage history in the newly restored State Capitol. Tours will also include the unveiling of the Historic Territorial Chamber, where women’s suffrage was upheld.
Performance: “Wonderful Wyoming Women Voters”
Starting at noon at the Wyoming State Capitol, five members of the Cheyenne League of Women Voters will perform “Wonderful Wyoming Women Voters.” The play revolves around four Wyoming women critical to passing the first legislation giving women their inherent right to vote and hold office. It’s an informative and entertaining way to highlight the history of Wyoming’s suffrage movement, appropriate for all age groups. 

Presentation: Historical Events & Timeline, “Marching Toward Suffrage” 
1 p.m., Wyoming State Capitol.
PBS celebration at the Cheyenne Civic Center
On Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at 7:00 p.m., Wyoming PBS will host a free public screening of “The State of Equality,” a new Wyoming PBS documentary, at the Cheyenne Civic Center. The event will open with the University of Wyoming Bel Canto Women’s Choir singing the program theme song, “Circle of Light.”
While the event is free, tickets can be reserved in advance by going to CheyenneEvents.org or by calling the Cheyenne Civic Center ticket office at 307-637-6363. “The State of Equality” will also premiere on Wyoming PBS statewide Thursday, December 12, 2019, at 7 p.m.
Women’s suffrage celebration at the Campbell County Rockpile Museum
On Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at 7:00 p.m., the Campbell County Rockpile Museum and the Campbell County League of Women Voters invite the public to this screening of the brand-new Wyoming PBS documentary, “The State of Equality.” The Campbell County Historical Society will have its newly published book available for purchase: Wyoming: Home of the Women’s Vote: 55 Amazing Campbell County Women. For more information call the museum at (307) 682-5723 or visit www.rockpilemuseum.com.
The Sheridan Press celebrates at the Brinton Museum
On Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at 5:30 p.m., at the Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyo., The Sheridan Press will host the northern premiere screening of “The State of Equality,” a Wyoming PBS documentary. Also featured will be a living history exhibit featuring local theater students, a panel of Wyoming experts discussing the past, present and future of women in the state and a cocktail hour with honored guests, including several of the features of The Press’ series “Year of Wyoming Women.” NOTE: This event has sold out. To be placed on the waiting list for complimentary tickets, please email headlines@thesheridanpress.com.