With Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge and Call the Midwife all done for the year, I've been left to watch American TV. *gasp* But I've become quite hooked a show called Mysteries at the Museum, and in this show, they share different stories surrounding different objects in museums all over the United States.
It's some incredibly fascinating history, complete with re-enactments. The other night, the episode I watched just briefly mentioned Louise Boyd. It was a mere sentence, but it said she was an arctic explorer. I immediately had to hit the internet and find out more. Here is what I discovered about her:
-After growing up in CA with two brothers, she inherited her father's fortune at the age of 33 in 1920. (They were claimed by heart disease, her brothers.)
-(This makes me think of the Van Buren sisters) In 1919, just three years after the VBs did their cross-country trip, Louise drove a touring car across the U.S. Remember, there were no paved roads and whatnot.
-She traveled to Europe and Egypt that year as well and worked as a nurse.
.She was hunting polar bears with chartered boats by 1926.
-She was awarded the Chevalier Cross of the Order of Saint Olav (first American woman) by the Norwegian government after traveling 10k miles across the arctic ocean in search of a missing Norwegian Explorer. She did not find him, and apparently this trip was actually a pleasure trip at first, but while on the ocean, she found out about the missing explorer and said, “How could I go on a pleasure trip when those 22 lives were at stake?” (How awesome is that?)
-She discovered an underwater mountain ridge and had a piece of land named after her. She also penned three books. (One, the U.S. gov't actually held back from publication, not wanting the data (her research about the area) to end up in enemy hands.
The Fiord Region of East Greenland (1935)
Polish Countrysides (1937)
The Coast of Northeast Greenland (1948)
-Did work for the government, studying the effects of polar magnetic fields on radio communications before she finally retired to a scholarly life in California. During WWII, she did some secret assignments as well. Naturally, I can't find more details on that. LOL
-In 1955, she was the first woman for fly over the North Pole in a chartered aircraft.
I found no mention of a romance or marriage. It was very unusual for women to remain unattached back then. I feel there must be a story there! No woman goes an entire lifetime without some romance. I'm sure you historical romance writers could have some fun with this. Hint, hint.
Even without romance, there's a lifetime of wonders and stories here. And just how many novels are there about women explorers? We've got cowgirls, vikings, seamstresses, mill workers, whores, actresses, and queens, but what about arctic explorers, or just explorers?
I hope you all have found her as interesting as I do.