(Mrs. John Milton Bryant)
Alys Bryant
Alys McKey (Tiny) Bryant
National Air and Space Museum
Smithsonian Institution
(SI Neg. No. A-9965-E)

Alys Bryant
Alys Bryant
Alys McKey Bryant
Collection of Robert Shank, 1-4-07
via email from Sidney Allinson,
Victoria, British Columbia,
     Alys McKey Bryant was the first woman pilot to fly in Canada.
     She was a US citizen, and had already flown solo many times in the States before she flew for the first time in Canada on July 31, in the year 1913.
     Eight days later, she witnessed the death of her pioneer pilot husband, Johnny Bryant, in Canada's first fatal air crash at Victoria, British Columbia, August 6, 1913.
from Alys McKey Bryant
Collection of Robert Shank, 1-4-07
     To that friendly group of Canadian neighbors, the Philatelists of Vancoubver, B. C., I wish to express my sincere gratitude for the Air Mail cachet with which you commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first flight made in Canada by a woman.
     During the late autumn of 1912 at The Palms, California, I rebuilt from wreckage a Curtiss type pusher plane and it was there I taught myself to fly and the following year made exhibition flights in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Canada; the first woman flyer to invade that part of the world.
     The Canadian flights were a part of the entertainment for H. R. H. The Prince of Wales and his younger brother, H. R. H. The Duke of York, who visited Vancouver and Victoria during their cruise on H. M. battleship the New Zealand.
     On Thursday, July 31st, 1913, at approximately 3 o'clock I made my first Canadian flight at Minoru Park, Vancouver, and flew again on Friday and Saturday as did my husband, John Milton (Johnny) Bryant who, on August 6th, lost his life while flying at Victoria during the water carnival; leaving a widowed bride of but ten short weeks.
     During the 25 years that have slipped away, I have never lost my interest in aviation. Although WINGS have given me everything--and have taken from me--everything but my own life--my love for them has never diminished and now my one thought--one prayer--is that WINGS may be used--NOT for destruction, but for making more friendly and understanding relations between the nations of the earth.
     To the EARLY BIRDS--the Pioneer flyers of the world--GREETINGS!!! There is between us a bond incomparable for every barnstorming flight was made with the thought and hope of making at least ONE person AIRMINDED. . . and we did succeed.
(Mrs. John Milton Bryant)


The Courier
March 1, 1917
Alice McKee Bryant, Famous Aviator,
Was First to Wear Bloomers Here
     Mrs. Alice McKee Bryant, who in the past few years has gained international fame as an aviator and a submarine diver, her photograph appearing in The Courier Tuesday, was born about thirty-seven years ago in Lauramie township, near Clark's Hill, and is well known in this city. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin McKee, who moved from Clark's Hill to a house on South Fourth street, this city, about twenty-five years ago. When bicycles became popular in the early nineties she was one of the first to don bloomers and ride a diamond-frame bicycle. She wore white bloomers and was known in the city at that time as the "White Flyer." About eighteen years ago, Miss McKee left Lafayette and went to California and several years later she married Johnny Bryant, a noted aviator, and an honor member of the Marine Engineers' association. He taught his young wife the art of aviation and she made many trips with him. She became an expert and gained a reputation in the west as a daring flyer. About five years ago while Bryant was making some flying esperiments for the United States government at Los Angeles, Cal., his machine became disabled and fell several thousand feet. His wife was at his side when he fell, as she had been watching his experiments. Mrs. Bryant says she is at home in the air and in the water and she now has taken up, as a side line, submarine diving. She also teaches in a Florida aviation school. Benjamin McKee died in the National Soldiers' home at Danville several years ago. A brother, Joseph McKee, served in the Phillippines during the revolution and was made secretary to one of the United States generals. He died in that country about ten years ago.

  Early Birds  
  Alys Bryant Surrounded by Sinclair, Barnaby and Denehie
Collection of Walter E. Lees

Detroit, Michigan
Oct. 6, 1939
Mr. Walter E. Lees, EB
2505 Pinecrest Drive,
Ferndale, Michigan,
Dear Friend Walter:
Am enclosing a couple of pictures I got at Cleveland, thinking you might like them for your collection. One of them is of part of the gang grouped around Alys Bryant, with Sinclair, Barnaby, and myself doing most of the surrounding. In having a spectator snap the picture for me, our feet were cut off, otherwise it is fairly sharp. The other picture is of the ladies and speaks for itself.
     If you managed to get some pictures at Cleveland, I would appreciate having them for my collection.
     Incidentially, I received a letter from Arthur Hartman of Burlington, Iowa this week in which letter he wanted me to ask you to mail him a copy of the picture he wanted, and in answering his letter to-day I informed him that was passing his message on to you.
Sincerely yours, W. Austin Denehie, EB
Apt. 202, 3784 Boston Blvd.,
Detroit, Michigan.

  Early Birds  
  Alys Bryant at Far Right
Collection of Walter E. Lees
     If you search for "Alys McKee Bryant", using the Google search engine, (5-26-05), you will find about 74 links. Most of them are fragmentary, but you can learn a lot about her life and career by visiting as many as time permits.

     This page on Carroll Gray's "Lincoln Beachey" website offers several nice photos of Alys and a brief film clip of her and her brother-in-law. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

This Month in Canadian Herstory: July
     On this page of the website, you will find a nice little biographical note of Alys and a very nice photograph of her and her plane. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

     This page on the Wichita State University Libraries - Department of Special Collections website details the contents of her collected materials. If you have access to their facility, you can take advantage of the collection. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

Alys KcKey Bryant died in 1954
From The Early Birds of Aviation
Roster of Members
January 1, 1996

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this Early Bird,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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