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The original item was published from 10/11/2019 10:43:15 AM to 11/12/2019 12:00:01 AM.

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West Fargo News

Posted on: October 11, 2019

[ARCHIVED] West Fargo Public Library to host Florence Klingensmith presentation

Headshot of Mark Peihl

Mark Peihl, archivist for the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County, will present a talk on the history of Florence Klingensmith, a female aviator from Minnesota who was part of the Fly Girls historic racing group who broke barriers for women in aviation, 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, at the West Fargo Public Library.

Born in Oakport Township, MN, Florence Klingensmith was a female aviator during the Golden Age of air racing. Klingensmith was one of the first females to race against men and eventually became a founding member of the Ninety-Nines, a women's pilot group still in existence. She found success and fame flying at a time when pilots were celebrities and women were discriminated against in ways hard to imagine.

Peihl’s talk is offered as part of this year's One Book, One Community celebration.

About One Book, One Community

The Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo public libraries, the Carl B. Ylvisaker Library at Concordia College, Livingston Lord Library at Minnesota State University Moorhead, North Dakota State University Libraries, Moorhead Community Education, the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County and the Fargo Air Museum have selected The New York Times bestseller “Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History” by Keith O’Brien as the 2019 One Book, One Community selection.

“Fly Girls” is the previously untold story of five remarkable women who competed against men in the high-stakes national air races of the 1920s and 1930s. The women – Florence Klingensmith, a high school dropout who worked for a dry cleaner in Fargo, North Dakota; Ruth Elder, an Alabama divorcee; Amelia Earhart, the most famous, but not necessarily the most skilled; Ruth Nichols, who chafed at the constraints of her blue blood family’s expectations; and Louise Thaden, the mother of two young kids who got her start selling coal in Wichita – fought for the chance to fly and race airplanes – and in 1936, one of them would triumph, beating the men in the toughest air race of them all.

This year’s One Book, One Community reading project launched in September and features several events, including a community book discussion, film screenings, cultural exhibits and other engaging programs. The project will conclude with an author visit Monday, Oct. 28. O’Brien will speak at an invitation-only informal reception event at the Fargo Air Museum. Later that evening, he will take the stage for an author presentation and book signing, also at the Fargo Air Museum. The evening event is free and open to the public.

Copies of the book are available for check out in several formats (physical and digital) at each of the participating libraries; book club kits are also available. For a list of related events and resources, visit any participating library starting Aug. 1 or visit

This is the eighth year of the One Book, One Community reading project, which centers on the community-wide reading of a single book and is dedicated to creating a shared conversation along with a range of related events and activities for residents of all ages.

All One Book, One Community events are free and open to the public. The project is supported by major sponsor the Friends of the Fargo Public Library, and the Friends of the West Fargo Public Library, Friends of the Moorhead Library and Moorhead Community Education.

West Fargo Public Library
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