Tiny Broadwick
Miss "Tiny" Broadwick who made her first parachute jump
in the San Diego area, 1913
From Jackrabbits to Jets

Tiny Broadwick
Tiny Broadwick
Tiny Broadwick
Tiny Broadwick, 1913
Tiny & her Parachute
Coatpack type, first jumped by her in 1913
Holtzem, Tiny & Stadlman, 1972

"Midway Band Will Appear,
Sacred Concert at Hotel Imperial Corner
by Johnny Jones Band
This Afternoon,"

Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: May 15, 1910,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 8-10-04
"The sixteen piece band of the Johnny J. Jones Carnival Co., which will exhibit in Knoxville all this week under the auspices of the Police relief association, will give a sacred concert on the balcony of the Imperial this afternoon between four and five o'clock..," "The carnival company will arrive this afternoon from Cleveland, where it has spent the past week." in middle of article appears: "The show is featuring Miss Tiny, the doll girl, in her balloon ascension and parachute drop, but there are two other free acts that are intended to whet the appetite of the spectators to see the whole thing."

"High Diver's Close Call,"
Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: May 19, 1910,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 8-10-04
"Wednesday was a banner day for the Knoxville Police Relief association carnival. The feature yesterday was the balloon ascension by Miss Tiny Broadwick. Miss Broadwick is probably the youngest aeronaut in the world, said to be but seventeen years of age. She made her ascension about five o'clock and there were thousands of people to witness it.
     She left the earth with, "Oh, you comet," and was soon a mere speck against the sky. When those watching her could see nothing but the large balloon and a dot training far below, she leaped and descended in a parachute. She alighted in the top of a tree on Fouche street and the balloon fell on East Jackson avenue.
     Miss Tina made her way back to the show grounds and will make another ascension this afternoon about two o'clock. In falling through the limbs of the tree, she sustained several scratches."

"Crowds are Show Hungry,"
Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: May 20, 1910,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 8-10-04
"The feature attraction Thursday was a double parachute leap by Miss Tiny Broadwick. The little aeronaut made the ascension yesterday afternoon at five o'clock, and as the atmosphere was heavy, she did not ascend as high as Wednesday. When the balloon was far above the heads of the spectators, she cut loose and fell in one parachute several hundred feet and then cutting loose from this one, descended to the ground in the second parachute. She fell on a large lumber pile in the lumber yards of Schaad & Rotach, at the corner of East Jackson avenue and Patton street. This afternoon, she will make four separate leaps with as many parachutes."

"Midway Will Shut Down"
Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: May 21, 1910,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 8-10-04
"There were only two free events Friday, owing to a high wind the band concert and the high dive last night at 10:30 o'clock. Miss Tiny Broadwick expected to make the balloon ascension, but a high wind prevailed all afternoon and it was thought too great a risk. This afternoon at 2:30 o'clock, she will make her last ascension and it is announced that she will make three parachute leaps. This will be the feature act of the week, and it is probable that a great throng will gather to see it. Miss Broadwick is said to be the youngest aeronaut in the world, and is considered one of the most daring."

"Girl Aeronaut Badly Hurt in Making Parachute Leap at Bristol, Friday. Landed on a Building; Then Fell to the Ground.
Her Left Arm Broken and She Sustained Other Painful Injuries,"

Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: May 28, 1910,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 8-10-04
"Special to The Journal and Tribune,
Bristol, Tenn., May 27. - 'Tiny' Broadwick, the fourteen-year-old girl aeronaut, who was making daily ascensions during the carnival week here, dropping from three parachutes, descended upon the roof of a grist mill this afternoon and being unable to get a hold on the roof, fell two stories, breaking her left arm near the elbow and sustaining other injuries. She was hurried to the hospital.
     This little aerial artist made several ascensions in Knoxville during the week May 16-21 when she appeared here with the Johnny Jones carnival company under the auspices of the police relief association. Her act was a very daring one and she had at least one narrow escape from serious injury during her engagement here."

"Parachute Collapsed but Aeronaut Broaderick, by an Apparently Superhuman Leap, Saved Himself,"
The Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: May 29, 1910,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 8-10-04
"Special to The Journal and Tribune, Bristol, Tenn., May 28.
In the absence of the child aeronaut, who was injured in descending Friday, her father, Charles Broaderick, made the balloon ascension here this afternoon. The breeze being insufficient to carry him out of the city, he came down in the business center saving his life only by an apparently superhuman leap from the trapeze, landing on the roof of a three-story building, as the parachute collapsed in a network of wires. He escaped injury."

"Woman Fell 850 Feet and Reached Ground Safely,
Demonstrating Merits of New
Aerial Life Preserver,"

The Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: January 10, 1914,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 8-10-04
"Los Angeles, Cal., Jan. 9.
One of two women passengers carried today by Glenn Martin the aviator, stepped from his machine when it was 850 feet in the air. She reached the ground safely and demonstrated to Martin's satisfaction the practicability of a new aerial life preserver. Spectators saw the girl, Miss Tiny Broadwick, fall 75 feet like a shot. Then a parachute attachment on her shoulders unfolded and she descended gradually and with no apparent effort at balance."

     January 20, 1961, was Tiny Broadwick Day in Henderson, North Carolina.
By proclamation of the mayor, Carroll V. Singleton, that day was designated to honor a Lady Early Bird, Mrs.Tiny Broadwick Brown, who was a pioneer in aviation fields through the use of the parachute.
     The day was climaxed by an evening program honoring Mrs. Brown sponsored by the North Carolina Civil Air Patrol Group VII and the Henderson CAP squadron. A native of Henderson, she now lives in California.
     A plaque in recognition of her early exploits in the field of aviation parachuting was presented the honored guest. Inscribed on the plaque is the following:
     "Presented to Tiny Broadwick by Commander, Group VII and Staff and Henderson Squadron, Civil Air patrol; known for her contribution to the developement of aviation and her accomplishments with the parachute; she will rank with the pioneers in the field of early aviation. Henderson, N. C., jan. 20, 1961"
     Tiny began her aerial work in 1908 under the coaching of her foster father, Charles Broadwick, when she started parachuting from a hot air baloon.
     In 1913 she went aloft from Griffith Park in a biplane piloted by Glenn L. Martin and at the height of 2,000 feet released herself from a trap seat. Also during that year, she became the first person to begin a parachute flight from a seat in front of an airplane on a level with the propeller.
     She proved the success of the aerial invention of her foster father to the U. S. Government in 1914 at San Diego, California. The feat was witnessed by Gen. George F. Scriven, chief of the aviation bureau of the U. S. Army. Those who saw the jump declared that she had inaugurated a new epoch toward safety in the navigation of the air. During 1915, Tiny was an exhibition jumper at the San Diego fair.
     The record of Mrs. Brown in aviation history was summarized by Henderson Mayor Singleton when he proclaimed Tiny Broadwick Day to "honor this native daughter for her outstanding achievements in the field of aviation and to commemorate her efforts in the advancement of aerial safety which made such a significant contribution to the field of aviation."
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP
March, 1961, Number 65

     The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles celebrated "TINY BROADWICK NIGHT" November 16, 1972. The Master-of-Ceremonies was Dave Burt, an avid parachutist. Miss Broadwick was introduced by Don Dwiggins, aviation writer, pilot and parachutist. At this point historic slides depicting various highlights in the career of the first woman to parachute from an airplane. These were narrated by "Tiny" herself.
     Special awards and honors were presented from:
     Survival and Flight Equipment Association by Bob Snider, President.
     OX5 Club by Harlan A. Gurney, President, Southern California Wing.
     The Early Birds of Aviation, Inc. by Forrest E. Wysong, Secretary.
     United States Parachute Association by Norman Heaton, Executive Director.
     This was followed by a question and answer period in which "Tiny" charmed the audience with her naive, and sometimes surprising answers.
     In closing, Al Adams, President of the Adventurers' Club called attention to the I'VE GOT A SECRET program, December 19th, 1972 on which Miss Broadwick was to be guest.
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP
March, 1973, Number 79

via email from Charles Blackburn, 11-15-07
November 15, 2007
     I thought you might like this update on Tiny Broadwick.
     In 2006, the Vance County Commissioners voted to name a portion of the new Western Loop highway, just west of the Henderson, N.C., city limits, after her. It is called Tiny Broadwick Boulevard and is not far from where she is buried in Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Best wishes,
Charles Blackburn
Vance County Historical Society

     Walter Lees witnessed Tiny Broadwick's famous parachute jump over North Island. This 90 pound woman made such an impression on Walter that he remembered it when it was his turn to jump, for real, in 1924.
     In April 1915, he received a letter offering him an attractive salary working for General Pancho Villa. Villa was known to some as a "Bandit", to others as a revolutionary leader and popular Mexican hero.
"I was all for going right down there, but luckily Morris talked me out of it."

     If you search for "Tiny Broadwick", using the Google search engine, (10-15-05), you will find about 641 links! A good place to start is the following.

     You will find this entry on the North Carolina Centennial of Flight website is absolutely priceless. It offers a very comprehensive biography of her and a photograph of her from the North Carolina State Archives. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.
     If time is available, you will be rewarded by visiting the homepage and sampling the other sections such as Timeline, Pioneers, Accounts, Centennial and resources. Among the pioneers you will find biographies of other aviators, some familiar, some unfamiliar, all of them interesting. Many of their stories are illustrated with priceless photographs from the North Carolina State Archive. To access the homepage, just click on the name of the website,
North Carolina Centennial of Flight.

Tiny Broadwick
The First Lady of Parachuting

     North Carolina was the site of the first powered ariplane flight by the Wright Brothers in 1903. Only ten years later, the state could also claim the first parachute jump by a woman, Tiny Broadwick. This fascinating biography follows Tiny as the joins a carnival and travels the entire country parachuting from airplanes and hot air balloonhs.
     Elizabeth Roberson teaches United States history and Western civilization at Martin Community College and East Carolina University in North Carolina.
1000 Burmester Street
Gretna, Lousiana 70053
Tiny Broadwick Cover  

  Recommended Further Reading:
JACKRABBITS TO JETS: The History of North Island, San Diego, California
by Elretta Sudsbury
Hall & Ojena Publications


Announcement from Vance County Historical Society
Courtesy of Charles Blackburn, 6-17-04
HENDERSON, NC - A state highway historical marker honoring local aviation pioneer Tiny Broadwick will be unveiled June 21 at 4:30 p.m. at Sunset Memorial Gardens, where she is buried, on Old Oxford Road (N.C. Hwy. 158 Business) just west of the city limits.
     From 1908 to 1922, Broadwick made more than 1,100 parachute jumps from hot air balloons and airplanes, thrilling audiences at fairgrounds all across America and earning herself a place in aviation history.
     On June 21, 1913, she became the first woman ever to parachute from an airplane, a feat that landed her in the Guinness Book of World Records. She also helped usher in a new era in aviation safety by demonstrating a parachute to the U.S. Army in 1914.
     Other career highlights included the first free-fall jump ever made by anyone and first woman to parachute into water, when she floated down into cold Lake Michigan--on purpose.
     Broadwick is considered one of the founders of modern sport parachuting. Her parachutes are in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh.
     Following the marker ceremony, biographer Elizabeth Whitley Roberson of Williamston will give a brief program at the Wildflower Cafe, 200 S. Garnett St. downtown, and sign copies of her book, Tiny Broadwick: The First Lady of Parachuting (Pelican Publishing, 2002).
     A reception follows. All events are free and open to the public. In the event of rain, the entire program will take place at the Wildflower Cafe.
     The unveiling ceremony will include remarks by Henderson Mayor Donald Seifert, Jr.; Vance County Historical Society President George T. Blackburn, II; and Michael Hill, Research Supervisor, N.C. Archives & History. Broadwick family members will unveil the marker.
     Born Georgia Ann Thompson on a Granville County farm in 1893, Tiny was the youngest of seven girls and weighed only three pounds at birth, giving rise to her nickname.
     Falling crop prices forced the family to move to Henderson, in neighboring Vance County, where there was work in the cotton mill.
     At the age of 15, Georgia saw Charles Broadwick's World Famous Aeronauts parachute from a hot air balloon at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh. With her mother's permission, she soon joined the traveling show and quickly became the sweetheart of crowds all across the country.
     "I tell you, honey, it was the most wonderful sensation in the world," she later said of her first jump. "I don't think I was scared, but I was nervous." For the sake of decorum, Broadwick adopted her as his daughter.
     In 1913, pioneering aviator Glenn L. Martin took Tiny up in his biplane over Griffith Park in Los Angeles, where, at a height of 2,000 feet, she released herself from a trap seat, becoming the first woman ever to parachute from an airplane.
     Not until late in life was she honored for her accomplishments. Broadwick became the darling of the Early Birds Club, a legendary group of aviators who flew prior to 1916.
     In 1961, Henderson Mayor Carroll V. Singleton proclaimed Tiny Broadwick Day in her honor, and three years later, N.C. Gov. Terry Sanford did the same on a statewide basis.
     The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles held a "Tiny Broadwick Night" in 1972, and Broadwick Street in that city was named for her. Also that same year, her grandmotherly looks helped her stump the panelists on the TV game show I've Got A Secret. Her final years were spent traveling to aviation conventions and visiting family back in her hometown. She died in 1978.
     This is the 13th state highway historical marker to be placed in Vance County and the first since 1989, when one was erected on N.C. 39 south of Williamsboro to honor Mary L. Wyche (1858-1936), founder of the N.C. Nurses' Association. More than 1,400 historical markers have been erected along N.C. highways since 1936.

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this Early Bird,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper
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