A Woman to Know: Sophie Blanchard

A woman in a balloon is either out of her element or too high in it. — Grenville Mellen

Sophie Blanchard is the first female aeronaut in world history. Her story has it all: a torrid love affair, a grisly death, 17th century century "balloon mania," fireworks, Napoleon and dogs in parachutes. I know it *sounds* crazy, but her ballooning and aeronauting was wildly groundbreaking in both its physical and social achievements — Sophie's in-the-air miracles did wonders for the contemporary women's movement in France.

Her life is memorialized in these wonderful, whimsical, Monty Python-esque engravings from fellow aviator Louis Figier. Oh, um, and he also drew her death.

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~~ Thank you to so many of you for recommending Mary as a woman to know! Sophie starred in a *very early* issue of this newsletter but, you know, she's been a super popular request and way more of you have subscribed since then so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ~~

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