Pearl I. Young

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Pearl Young
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[top] Background

Pearl Young is considered the first professional female to work for NACA. She graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1919 as a Phi Beta Kappa with majors in physics, mathematics, and chemistry. She started at Langley Field in April 1922. Her first assignment was in the Instrument Research Laboratory where she worked with Henry J.E. Reid.

After several years Young suggested that NACA needed a technical editor and she was given the job. In 1943, she published the 'Style Manual for Engineering Authors' which served as a reference at Langley and other centers.

Young transferred from Langley to the new Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory in 1943, which later became Lewis Research Center and is now known as Glenn Research Center. She left in 1947 to teach engineering physics at Pennsylvania State University.

She returned to Lewis in 1958 and retired from NASA in 1961. She taught at Fresno State for two years and then turned her full-time attentions to researching a biography of aviation pioneer Chanute. Chanute is one of the most important figures in the history of aviation.

Pearl Young died in 1968. Archives of her papers are at the Denver Public Library.

For more on her career with NACA/NASA, see Women at NASA and Roger Launius's Blog.

[top] Photos

This photo was taken in 1927 at one of the NACA Laboratory's General Inspections. From left to right are: Mrs. Marvin,wife of a former Committee member; Pearl Young, NACA employee and perhaps the only early female name that comes to most people's mind; Mrs. John F. Victory, wife of the NACA's Executive Secretary; and Mrs. Finely, a member of the Veterans' Affairs Air Service Magazine. At the time, women were not known by their first names if they were married, and executive secretaries were males.

East Annex, (back row l-r) Anne, Gertie, Pearl, Fitz  (front row l-r)  Rosemary, Hilda, Jean

[top] Interviews

Young, Pearl I., January 10, 1966

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