The Junior League Remembers: Cornelia Fort, Pilot

Cornelia Fort was an unlikely candidate to be the first American woman to die on active military duty. Born into a wealthy family in Nashville, the oldest of five children. A debutante. Sarah Lawrence graduate. Member of the Junior League of Nashville. Destined for a quiet life.

But Cornelia Fort wanted to fly, and fly she did. She took her first flying lesson in 1940, shortly after her father died. She soon became first female flight instructor in Nashville.

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The Volunteer Powerhouse, Chapter 2

Next up on our schedule of serialized reading is Chapter Two of The Volunteer Powerhouse, entitled “New Roles for Debutantes.” It explores the first decade of The Junior League and brings to light several traditions and core principles that remain vital threads in the Movement’s fabric even today.

We are given an in-depth portrait of the energetic and strong-willed Mary Harriman, who was intent on not living the life of the stereotypical sheltered rich girl by doing something meaningful with her life – and convincing her peers to do likewise. While commuting to Barnard one day in her horse-drawn carriage known as a sulky — or floating in a lake on her parents’ 20,000-acre estate in Orange County, N.Y. on another (reports conflict as to the timing of her idea)–she is said to have mused exuberantly that she and her fellow debutantes would go to work in the settlements on New York’s impoverished Lower East Side, work she had heard about in a lecture by Louise Lockwood.

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The Volunteer Powerhouse, Chapter 1

It’s time for our next installment of high-quality Junior League reading material.

This time we’re digging inside The Volunteer Powerhouse, an excellent history of The Junior League authored by Janet Gordon and Diana Reische and published in 1982 by The Rutledge Press.

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