Alys McKey Bryant Papers

Collection Summary

Title: Alys McKey Bryant Papers
Call Number: MS 87-02
Size: 4.5 linear feet
Acquisition: Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum, 6-1983
Processed by: DM, 8-1986; JEF, 12-12-1997
Restrictions: None

Literary Rights

Literary rights were not granted to Wichita State University. When permission is granted to examine the manuscripts, it is not an authorization to publish them. Manuscripts cannot be used for publication without regard for common law literary rights, copyright laws and the laws of libel. It is the responsibility of the researcher and his/her publisher to obtain permission to publish. Scholars and students who eventually plan to have their work published are urged to make inquiry regarding overall restrictions on publication before initial research.

Content Note

The Alys McKey Bryant collection contains her correspondence, photographs, slides, clippings and memorabilia. Included in the collection are copies of her memoir , “Born With Wings, Wings of a Lady Early Bird,” which gives a detailed look into her life and times. A detailed inventory of the items in this collection is available.


Alys McKey, born in 1880 on an Indiana farm, took up flying in Los Angeles in 1912 and became a member of Early Bird Association. She soon married John Milton Bryant, and together they became popular aviators. An expert pilot, Bryant was the first woman to fly in Washington, Idaho and Oregon, and in Canada, where she performed for the Prince of Wales and Duke of York. In Seattle, she set a new women's altitude record of 2900 feet. Another of her interests was deep-sea diving. She trained U.S. pilots during World War I. In her sixties during World War II, she was hired to work for TWA. She died September 6, 1954, at the age of 74.

Detailed Description: Series Listing

Series 1 Box 1-Box 1A Correspondence and Personal Writings
Series 2 Box 2-Box 5 Clippings and Scrapbooks
Series 3 Box 6-Box 7 Photographs
Series 4 Box 8-Box 9 Miscellaneous

Detailed Description: Box and Folder Listing

Series 1 ‒ Correspondence and Personal Writings

Box 1 FF 1 Correspondence to Mrs. Bryant dated November 16, 1917 to April 5, 1950. Some names mentioned in the letters are W. F. Shaw, Ernest Jones, Annette Gipson, Al J. Engel, J. E. Graf, John J. McHale, H. (Nick) Rippen, George Fawkes, Jack Vilas, H. H. C. Richards, Augustus Post, Clara Adams, Marion Melcher, Frederic G. Dawson, etc.
Box 1 FF 2 Letters and personal writings dated March 23, 1936 to April 22, 1947. Some notable names are John J. McHale, Calbraith Perry Rogers, Orville Wright, etc.
Box 1 FF 3 Poetry by Mrs. Bryant dated January 1, 1932 to September 21, 1937.
Box 1 FF 4 Personal writings written on August 2, 1939. Some items have no dates. This folder contains information on an American women pilot. It also includes her memoir entitled Born With Wings, Wings of a Lady Early Bird.
Box 1 FF 5 Continuation of Born With Wings, Wings of a Lady Early Bird.
Box 1 FF 6 Continuation of Born With Wings, Wings of a Lady Early Bird.
Box 1 FF 7 Miscellaneous items and papers concerning Mrs. Bryant and aviation. Dates listed are from January 3, 1931 to February 26, 1947.
Box 1A FF 1 Typed anuscript copy of Born With Wings, Wings of a Lady Early Bird, pages 46-313 (incomplete).
Box 1A FF 2 Incomplete typed manuscript of Ms. Bryant's writings
Box 1A FF 3 Incomplete typed manuscript of Ms. Bryant's writings (copy of Box 1A FF 2)
Box 1A FF 4 Miscellaneous typed pages from various writings of Ms. Bryant.
Box 1A FF 5 Miscellaneous typed pages from various writings of Ms. Bryant.

Series 2 ‒ Clippings and Scrapbooks

Box 2 FF 1 Clippings from newspapers and magazines. The time period is 1920-1934. Subjects covered include poetry, news of important people, and events and especially news of aviation. Some listed are: American fighters recevie honor; Gift of Cherry Trees; Museum gets silk of noted balloon.
Box 2 FF 2 Clippings from newspapers and magazines. The time period is 1920-1934. Subjects covered include poetry, news of important people, and events and especially news of aviation. Some listed are: Deep Stuff (Frank Crilley diver): (Rickenbacker) Holds United States Behind on War Aviation; The Adventure of the 7-4; Lusitania Search offers problems; The Coronation of a New Air Queen, U. S. S. Akron; Phoebe F. Omlie takes over as Special Assistant for Air Intelligence; Frances Harrell Marsalis Breaks Record; Flying Reporter Visiting Here...Flying Grandmother of Off; Women Win Air Goal; Women set New Endurance Mark; Vast Air Fleet on Trade Lines Urged by Vidal; Ladybirds Ready for Endurance Try; D. C. Airwomen Will Organize Chapter Here; Patrol Airways as International Police; Mrs. Borah Settles Debt to Aviation in New Post; Three Women Sworn in as Air Police; Fog Prevents Wright Honors Aerial Display; Ocean Air Trip now Predicted in Ten Hours; First Woman Advisor; Piccard Plans To Take Wife to Stratosphere; Miss Earhart Praises U. S. Stimulation of "Air Madness"; Pioneer "Bird Woman" of 1912 Charts Weather for Aviators; Flying Around the World; A Real Pioneer; Amy Mollison Says Women Should Fly Only for Love of it; Section Chief in Bureau of Standards Enters Air Races and Hopes to fly Pacific; Aviatrix to Direct Airplane Building; Mrs. Alys McKey Bryant to open aviation school.
Box 3 Scrapbook 1 (Black). Dates include February 19, 1937 to February 10, 1946.
Box 3 Scrapbook 2. Dates include March 13, 1913 to June 9, 1945.
Box 4 Album 3. Dates included are from 1912 to December 1914.
Box 5 FF 1 Miscellaneous clippings. Dates included are from November 17, 1916 to September 9, 1954.

Series 3 ‒ Photographs

Box 6 FF 1 Photographs relating to aviation. Includes pictures showing Army Air Service plane with case of model plane and memorabilia of coast to coast flight. One case contains model of Kittyhawk plane. Picture of Lieut. Paul W. Beck and Postmaster General Hitchcock carrying a bag of mail.
Box 6 FF 2 Photos of aviation people.  Includes images of J. C. (Jim) Welsch, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Frank Bryant, Christofferson, and Alys McKey Bryant's husband, John Milton Bryant. One enlarged photo of Bryant in his plane is located in the oversized collection.
Box 6 FF 3 Family photographs. Mrs. Bryant is in some of them. Most unidentified. Also negatives of family pictures and a lock of hair.
Box 6 FF 4 Photographs of Mrs. Bryant in many poses. Eight poses in deepsea diving gear. Eight poses when she was a welder, 1943-1946. Enlarged picture of her in deep sea diving gear. Large picture of Mrs. Bryant with sign "Wright Aeroplane" used by the United States Army 1909-1910. Large picture of Mrs. Bryant in dress clothes (This picture is located in the oversized collection).
Box 6 FF 5 Photographs of Alys Bryant.
Box 7   Slides of Alys Bryant and others.

Series 4 ‒ Miscellaneous

Box 8 FF 1 Memorabilia. January 8, 1917. Made honorary member of Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association. Certificate shows date January 8, 1917. No. 59. Application for employment (photocopy). Biography. Genealogy of Mrs. Bryant's family. A copy of personal information taken from 1880 census records. Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation purchase of lot.
Box 8 FF 2 Information on "The Early Birds." Cards expressing gratitude to Philatelists of Vancouver. List of members, 1935. Luncheons. Bulletins and circulars. Booklet about the Gallaudet Aviation School. Biographical notes on Thomas Scott Baldwin, a pioneer aeronaut (deceased). Copy of application for membership to The Early Birds. Brochure requesting her presence at The Cleveland Aviation Club. 3 copies of CHIRP. Poem "Spring" by Augustus Post.
Box 8 FF 3 Miscellaneous. Assortment of notes. Business cards. Postal cards. Scenes of Chicago World's Fair, 1933. Christmas cards. Birthday cards. Wedding announcements. Convalescence card. Invitation to 40th anniversary of first flight of the Wright Brothers. 2 checkbook stubs with a check folded inside of one stub book.
Box 8 FF 4 Poems. Copy of The Mayan. Opera from "Benvenuto Cellini," English text by Augustus Post. Advertisement by Silas Christofferson for passengers carried on aerial trips. Cartoons of Horace B. Wild's book "My Forty Years of Flying." Ad for a "Chronology of British Air Mails." Sheet showing members of Transcontinental and Western Air Inc. Brochure of Delloyd (Dutch) Thompson's memorial. Photocopy of Transcontinental and Western Air, Inc. Change of status notification. Exhibition of Watercolors brochure of Mary Foley Benson, a holder of pilot's license. Neward Air Show ad. September 14, 1941. A price list for first-day covers. Receipt for work done on dinner silver. TWA brochure. Holiday greetings card from Horace Keane. Assortment of Early Bird stationery. List of people by row at the Clerks and orderlies Headquarters Department of Southern Luzon, April 1901.
Box 8 FF 5 Detailed inventory of items in this collection.
Box 9 Negatives. Items in this box have been moved to cold storage. For a list (incomplete) of subjects, names and/or places depicted in the negatives refer to Box 8 FF 5.