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Miss Jane: 1923

Miss Jane: 1923

"Miss Jane [illegible], 1923." One of three images of Miss Jane in the archive. Who will be the first to identify our mystery aviatrix? National Photo glass negative. View full size. [The answer: Stanton Square reveals her to be Janet Moffett, daughter of Rear Admiral William Moffett.]


The Family Tree

Janet Whitton Moffett (whom you call "Jane")was born May 17, 1903 in Germantown, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Rear Admiral William Adger Moffett and Jeanette Beverly Whitton (who was affectionately known as "Pete").

Admiral Moffett (see received a Congressional Medal of Honor for his captaincy of the USS Chester in a night landing in 1914 at Veracruz, Veracruz, Mexico.

Moffett served as the Secretary of the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics from its creation in 1921. In that role, Moffett became known as the "Air Admiral" for his leadership in the development of tactics for naval aircraft, and the introduction of the aircraft carrier. While he never learned to pilot a plane, Moffett was a tireless advocate of Naval Aviation (including the ill-fated development of dirigibles) and is sometimes referred to as "The Father of Naval Aviation."

JWM married a naval aviator, Lt. Elliott McFarlan Moore, on February 12, 1926. By 1933, EMM was the General Manager of the Wilmington-Catalina Airline, Ltd. (“WCA”), a small airline on Catalina Island founded in 1931 by William Wrigley, Jr., a close friend of Admiral Moffett. Using amphibious seaplanes, the airline shuttled passengers between the Port of Los Angeles and Hamilton Cove on Catalina Island.

JMM was widowed on November 2, 1933 when a seaplane piloted by Walter L. Seiler, the Chief Pilot of the Wilmington-Catalina Airline, crashed on takeoff while conducting an experiment in "flying blind" about a half mile offshore from Catalina Island.

By then JMM had three children: Janet Moffett Moore (my mother), William Moffett Moore, and Elliott McFarlan Moore, Jr.

Moffett Airfield and Hangar One

Incidentally, that Moffett Field link is worth looking into for aviation and architecture buffs alike. Moffett Field in Mountain View, CA, is home to Hangar One, an enormous structure built for the construction and housing of dirigibles, including the aforementioned (and unfortunate) USS Akron.

You wouldn't happen to have any nice photos of Hangar One now Dave, would you?

[I'll put that on my to-do list. - Dave]

Admiral Moffett

Although Moffett never learned to fly himself he was known as "the Air Admiral" as a result of heading the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics. In this post he fought successfully against the Billy Mitchell and the concept of amalgamating the Army Air Corps and the Navy's own aviation program as had been done in Britain with the Royal Air Force. Moffett died in 1933 in the crash of the airship Akron. His son - Jane's brother William - was also an Admiral.

Moffett Field NAS

Moffett Field Naval Air Station in California was named for Admiral Moffett after his death in 1933.

Aviation seems to have been a strong force in the Moffett Family.

Jane's plane

A Dayton Wright TW-3

Jane Moffett?

The April 22, 1923 edition of The Washington Post features a portrait of Jane Moffett. The daughter of Admiral Moffett, she is noted as being "an enthusiastic airplane fan."

UPDATE: Jane was more formally known as Janet Moffett. The pages of the Washington Post have numerous mentions of her including photographs of her in aviatrix garb and standing alongside a plane.

[Indeed it is! Once again Stanton Square comes up with the answer. - Dave]

Forget Jane

Who can identify the airplane?

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