OTD: Sweet teaching flying at RPI

#onthisday in 1944 the Troy Times published the following article about pilot Virginia Sweet from Quaker Springs.
Pretty Brunette Has Taught 375 Men How To Fly Planes Air-minded students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found themselves a flying teacher who tips the scales at 107 and wears a bright red coat and black pumps while conducting classes at the Troy Airport.
She is Virginia Sweet, an attractive brunette who as her students say, “really makes a plane sit up and talk.”
Teaching may be traditionally a woman’s profession but teaching flying, especially to young men in the technical profession, is an unusual job for a pretty girl. The young flying instructor has taught 400 persons how to fly and about 375 have been men.
“Ginger,” as Miss Sweet is called, instructs ten members of the Rensselaer Flying Club, working all day Saturday and Sunday.
“They’re above average students,” she said of the R.P.I, group. She was up in the Flying Club’s Taylorcraft with one of her students when she was visited last weekend. The student was attempting a landing while several of his classmates were kibitzing below. When the black and gold two seater landed, Miss Sweet got out, picked up the plane’s tail and turned It around. “It’s light,” she said modestly.
The slender girl has her hair braided around her head and wore a bright red princess-style coat. “The plane is heated and I always wear regular clothes when teaching,” Virginia said. She was teaching take-off and landing, devoting- one hour to each student.
Her next student was freshman Arnold Pecker, was at the controls while Ginger was outside shouting “Switch off! . .. throttle closed! . . . brakes on!”
Arnold was giving her the kind of attention which would make his other teachers green with envy. Getting undivided attention from students almost twice her size is old stuff now for Miss Sweet, who has been teaching flying for years and was the first Schenectadian to enlist in the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, the WASP. “
Ginger’s” flying career was inspired by her grandfather and her reading of Amelia Earhart’s books when she was a youngster. When “Ginger” came home at the end of her sophomore year at Duke University, she found that her grandfather had a brand new car. She wanted to learn to drive it but he said no one was going to drive his new car.
“Then I’m going to learn to fly instead,” Virginia retorted and did just that. During her 22 months in the WASP Virginia flew 28 different types of planes, completed fifty ferrying missions and numerous training light* which included hops as long as 3,000 miles and as many as 101/2 solo hours in a single day.
In addition to the Rensselaer boys, Ginger instructs a group from Siena College at the Albany Airport and holds an office job in Albany during the week.
The pretty teacher is also a flight examiner the only one in this entire area who is a woman, appointed by the Civil Aeronautics Administration on the basis of experience and ability.
The Rensselaer students fully recognize this ability. As George Lincoln, Secretary of the Flying Club, put it: “Ginger teaches you just as much as the best male instructors and uses a much softer touch. When you do something wrong the doesn’t scream at you.”
The article through today’s eyes is sexist and it is symbolizes much to the treatment of women including pilots during this period. This link (follow to the end) will provide some background on Virginia Sweet, https://ift.tt/2nhBnjN
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We do history in Saratoga!

We do history in Saratoga!
This photo by Walter Ardzieuice of the 2005 Surrender Day at Fort Hardy park along the Hudson River. Each year visitors get to witness the recreated surrender of British General Burgoyne to American General Gates. There is the singing of patriotic songs with Schuylerville and Salem school children. Everyone gets to drink 13 original toasts to the American Victory! This event is sponsored by the Village of Schuylerville and Town of Saratoga. It is a long local tradition and we try to celebrate close to October 17 (we make some modifications to allow the school children to participate.) What makes this event unique is that it is at the historical ground where the British forces surrendered and laid down their arms on October 17, 1777, bringing to an end the Battles of Saratoga.
We do history in Old Saratoga. Whether you call us Saratoga, Old Saratoga, Schuylerville, Victory Mills, Clark’s Mills, Northumberland, Easton, Greenwich, we are all part of a community with so much history and so many traditions. It’s hard to find a month in the year that doesn’t have an remembrance, event or festival! A variety of local organizations ensure that the Earth Day, Memorial Day, Turning Point Parade, 18th Century Day, Candlelight Tour, Veterans Day, Dutch Christmas and more brings visitors, neighbors and friends out to enjoy the music, remembrances, costumes and heritage.
The Town of Saratoga is proud be a part of these efforts. The Town works with a wide range of partners to help promote and participate in many other events like Saratoga National Historical Park, Old Saratoga Historical Association, Hudson Crossing Park, Lakes to Locks Passage, Friends of the Battlefield, Saratoga PLAN, Historic Hudson-Hoosic Rivers Partnership, Heritage Hunters of Saratoga County, Schuylerville Area Chamber of Commerce, villages of Schuylerville and Victory, and the Turning Point Parade Committee ….and more.
Remembering, commemorating, and celebrating together fosters community ownership and neighborliness, develops more volunteers that work together to create positive changes for our community and encourages visitors to get to know us better. It is how we do history. Join in the fun, and you’ll appreciate the sense of community that’s been at the foundation of Saratoga for centuries. There are many ways you can help care for Old Saratoga, from one-time to reoccurring volunteer opportunities for youth, families, groups and individuals. To learn more about volunteering contact historiantosaratoga@gmail.com

On this day – November 18

On this day in 1774, Philip Schuyler writes to Capt. Philip Van Rensselaer, dated Saratoga, “Please to ask Philip Livingston, Esq., for the bell which he was so good as to promise for the Saratoga church;” in 1804, Philip Schuyler died; in 2014, Saratoga County Deceased Veterans Ceremony honored deceased Town of Saratoga veterans Robert Morris Lang and William Donald Lang for their service to our country, both brothers enlisted in the Navy almost immediately after graduating from Schuylerville High School, Robert served in World War II as an Aviation Radio and Radarman in the Navy Air Force and William served in the Korean War as a Hospital Corpman; and in 2016, nine Schuylerville High School students have been accepted to the Area All-State Music Festival.

On this day is a chronological timetable of events that occurred on this day in history around the Town of Saratoga. Discover what happened today in local history by subscribing to our blog at https://historianatsaratoga.wordpress.com/

(Thank you to Deputy Historian Patricia Peck for compiling information for this timetable.)

November 18

A Great Fact in the History of Nations

One hundred years ago, on this spot, American Independence was made a great fact in the history of nations. Until the surrender of the British army under Burgoyne, the declaration of Independence was but a declaration. It was a patriotic purpose asserted in bold words by brave men, who pledged for its maintenance their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. But on this ground it was made a fact, by virtue of armed force. It had been regarded by the world merely as an act of defiance, but it was now seen that it contained the germs of a government, which the event we now celebrate made one of the powers of the earth. Here rebellion was made revolution. Upon this ground, that which had in the eye of the law been treason, became triumphant patriotism.
– ADDRESS OF HON. HORATIO SEYMOUR
Celebration at Schuylerville, October 17, 1877
Horatio Seymour (31 May 1810 – 12 February 1886) was Governor of New York from 1853 to 1854 and from 1863 to 1864. He was the Democratic Party nominee for president in the 1868 presidential election. Seymour never again sought public office but remained active in politics and supported Grover Cleveland’s 1884 campaign for president.
The actions in the Town of Saratoga have contributed to the shared American identity and an evolving sense of patriotism.  The Saratoga Monument is just one example of a long tradition to honor the sacrifices of our forefathers and commemorate the American victory at Saratoga. The Saratoga Campaign in 1777 was an attempt by the British to gain military control of the strategically important Hudson River valley during the American Revolutionary War. It ended in the surrender of a complete British army.
In 1877, Governor Horatio Seymour said, “at the break of day one hundred years ago, in the judgment of the world, our fathers were rebels against established authority. When the echoes of the evening gun died away along this valley, they were patriots who had rescued their country from wrong and outrage. Until the surrender of the British army in this valley, no nation would recognize the agents of the Continental Congress. All intercourse with them was in stealthy ways. But they were met with open congratulations when the monarchs of Europe learned that the royal standards of Britain had been lowered to our flag. We had passed through the baptism of blood, and had gained a name among the nations of the earth.
Saratoga is known for being the turning point of the American Revolution. The Americans’ determined resistance at Saratoga, coupled with British strategic blunders, resulted in a stunning defeat and surrender for a British army. This timely victory reversed American military fortunes, boosted patriot morale, and gained them international recognition and support, including military assistance. That is why studying the Battles of Saratoga is integral to a good understanding of the American freedoms.

On this day – November 17

On this day in 1955​, the Closson family (which was in business for 62 years) sold their undertaking business to John Still; in 1998, the former village clerk was arrested for embezzling over $3,000; in 2009, the Schuylerville/Victory Board of Water Management heard a report on the installation of a Reverse Osmosis Turbidimeters at the Water Treatment Plant; and in 2015, the U.S. Mint launched the 2015 Saratoga National Historical Park quarter at a ceremony at the Schuylerville High School, this release of the Saratoga quarter into circulation marks this year’s fifth and final issue in the America the Beautiful quarters series, attendees including U.S. Mint Acting Quality Manager Ron Harrigal, Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist Barbara Fox (who designed of the coin’s reverse), Saratoga National Historical Park Superintendent Amy Bracewell, and hundreds of school children.

On this day is a chronological timetable of events that occurred on this day in history around the Town of Saratoga. Discover what happened today in local history by following us on Facebook at https://

http://www.facebook.com/historiantosaratoga/ (

Thank you to Deputy Historian Patricia Peck for compiling information for this timetable.)

November 17

Hudson River Speedway

The Hudson River Speedway was a 1950’s stock car track was located beside the Hudson River and US 4 at Garnsey’s trucking. The Paul Garnsey family owned and ran the speedway. The Hudson River Speedway is an important part of our community’s 1950s landscape. The race track was located outside of the villages. Automobiles were the entertainment and the form the transportation to this social destination. In the post war recovery years, optimism pervaded the national attitude. Sports car racing was very popular with many tracks in Eastern New York and nearby Vermont. It is not known why the track ceases operations but American tastes changed. In late 1950s’, television sets had become affordable and with it less people venture out of their homes for entertainment. Times were good and people traveled. Automobiles began to reshape patterns of tourism. Riverside cottages and campsites multiplied as tourists took their vacations in the family car. The thrills of auto racing are no longer part of our community. It was a moment in time that was well thought of by the participants.

On this day – November 16

On this day in 1686, representatives of Louis XIV of France and James II of England sign the Treaty of Whitehall (Treaty of American Neutrality) agreeing that Continental conflict would not disrupt peace and neutrality in New France and New England, prohibited each nation from fishing or trading in the other’s territory, and also forbid each power from aiding Indian tribes who may be at war with the other, agreement broken after the outbreak of King William’s War in 1689, the first in the series of French and Indian Wars; in 1764, Native Americans surrender to the British in the Indian War of Chief Pontiac, also known as the Pontiac Rising or Pontiac’s Resistance. Detroit, Michigan (some English soldiers who served in Saratoga including John Stark and some of Burgoyne’s Native tribes were involved in the war); in 1801, the first issue of the New-York Evening Post (now the New York Post) appears, founded by Alexander Hamilton (General Schuyler’s son in law) as a Federalist newspaper; in 1927, the fifth Saratoga (CV-3) was commissioned on with Capt. Harry E. Yarnell in command; and in 2005, the Town Board of the Town of Saratoga to adopt Local Law # 4 of 2005, increasing building permit fees, adding boat storage as a special permitted use in the Lake Commercial, Rural Residential, and Rural Districts, and increasing Special Permitted Use fees.

On this day is a chronological timetable of events that occurred on this day in history around the Town of Saratoga. Discover what happened today in local history by subscribing to our blog at https://historianatsaratoga.wordpress.com/

(Thank you to Deputy Historian Patricia Peck for compiling information for this timetable.)

November 16