Women’s History Exhibit at Ridgefield Town Hall

Women’s History Exhibit at Ridgefield Town Hall

Thursday, March 1 - September 1, 2018
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Webinar/Online Meeting Price: Free

Stop by Ridgefield Town Hall Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, to see photographs and memorabilia of Ridgefield native Mary Linda Bradley (1886-1966), an aviator who received her pilot’s license in 1930, and Australian-born Margaret Malval, who was a founding member of the Ridgefield Guild of Artists.

Mary Linda Bradley (center) and her sister Marion (seated, left), of the Catoonah St. Basketball team.

Mary Linda Bradley was a member of a distinguished Ridgefield family. She was the great great granddaughter of Revolutionary war hero, Philip Burr Bradley, and the daughter of William Harrison Bradley, a U.S. diplomat. Born in Chicago, she moved to Ridgefield with her parents and sister before World War 1, eventually building her own home, Ackworth Cottage. The sisters became active in the community even playing on the Catoonah girl’s basketball team. In 1917 she organized the National League for Women’s Services in Ridgefield and served as its first chairman of the Ridgefield Unit. She was also the chairman of the Ridgefield Committee on Home Economics. George Rockwell writes she “ aided in successfully carrying through every project, task and endeavor that was brought before the people of Ridgefield with the idea of speedily ending the world

Miss Bradley was a writer and a poet. Dick Venus said she liked to write and never hesitated to express her feelings on local affairs. She published two volumes of poetry, “Wheat and Chaff” and “Reconnaissances”, the latter reflected her experiences as a pilot. Miss Bradley divided her time between Ridgefield, Arizona, and California. Her “The Fifth Decade” is a dairy of the 1930s and covered her experiences out West. She traveled extensively, often accompanied by her dog, Arizona Pete. While in Arizona she purchased an airplane and became one of the first women to have a private pilot’s license, the third in Arizona.

Ridgefield Native Mary Linda Bradley

Pilot Mary Linda Bradley in 1930.

Australian born Margaret Barnes left Australia as a teenager. She studied fashion in Paris and wrote a monthly column for the Melbourne Herald. She married, moved to the U.S. and settled in Ridgefield. During WWII she joined the AWVS – American Women’s Volunteer Service- learned first aid, monitored black outs and provided transport services. She was also a plane spotter for the Observation Corps. After the war, Margaret remained involved in the community and was a founding member of the Ridgefield Guild of artists.


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