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Harrington Park Hosts Performance On First Female Jet Pilot

Carol Simon Levin
Carol Simon Levin Photo Credit: LinkedIn

HARRINGTON PARK, N.J. -- The Harrington Park Public Library will be hosting "A WASP Takes Wing! The Women Air Force Pilots of WW II" on Monday evening, Feb. 6.

Guest lecturer Carol Simon Levin -- author, historian and interpreter -- will present the free session on behalf of the Harrington Park Historical Society.

Levin, who is also a youth services librarian at the Bridgewater Library, will tell the amazing story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II through the eyes of Ann Baumgartner Carl.

Carl was a New Jersey woman who trained as a WASP and became the only American woman to test-fly experimental planes during World War II and the first American woman to fly a jet.

"This program came about by accident," said Levin, who has worked with the Somerset County Library System for over 25 years. "In another program I was leading, attendees were asking lots of questions about WASPs. I started to do research and came across Ann's autobiography.

It immediately caught my interest because she was a Jersey girl who went through WASP training and then became the only female military test pilot in WWII. She was absolutely fascinating. I enjoyed researching her and now I enjoy sharing her story.

"For over four years, Levin has been telling the stories of our rich history through first-person presentations," organizers noted. "Whether she is impersonating the woman who helped to build the Brooklyn Bridge or pioneering female pilots, Levin focuses on women who haven't received a lot of attention."

"I try to bring out the 'not-so-well-known' stories," said Levin. "Did you know that during World War II, more than 1,000 women volunteers completed the WASP military pilot training program? Thirty-eight of them died serving their country.

"Then they were told that men needed their jobs and they were dismissed and forgotten. But their impact on aviation -- and women in the workforce -- is undeniable. That's a story worth sharing."

The session will begin at 7:30 p.m. A Q&A then a reception will follow. The library is located at 10 Herring St., in Harrington Park.

For more information about the Society’s activities, visit its website or Facebook page, or call Gerri Gibney at 201-768-2615.

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