The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
Historical Manuscripts Home
Alphabetical List of All Collections | Collections Listed By Subject

Collection Title: Bishop (Edna) Papers

Collection Number: M403

Dates: ca. 1941 - 1996

Volume: 1.2 cu. ft.

Provenance: Materials in this collection were donated by Edna Bishop in 1996 and 1998.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Mrs. Edna “Kitty” Hines Bishop of Hattiesburg served as a Women’s Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) in World War II. She recalls that she first became interested in flying when she was six-years-old and a plane landed in the pasture behind her parents’ house in Oklahoma. She knew then that she wanted to be a pilot.

As a young woman Bishop took flying lessons in Bishop, California. She saved her money and usually could only afford a fifteen-minute lesson. She was able to fly solo after only seven hours of lessons.

She learned about the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) while waiting for a job interview with a shipbuilding business in Terminal Island, California. The woman sitting next to her in the waiting room was reading a newspaper about the newly organized WASPs in Phoenix, Arizona. Bishop made up her mind and drove to Phoenix, where she acquired the 200 minimum hours of flight experience to join the WASPs.

Jacqueline Cochran organized the WASPs in 1942. Cochran and General H.H. “Hap” Arnold felt that the skills of the many licensed women pilots in the United States should be utilized in the war effort. The mission of the WASP corps when it was first conceived was to free male pilots from stateside flying duties so they could fly combat missions overseas. The WASPs served as test pilots, flew aircraft from the factories where they were built to the airfields where they were needed, towed the targets used in anti-aircraft training, and trained male combat pilots. There was no type of aircraft that the WASPs did not fly. Bishop flew SB2C Helldivers, B-17s, B-24s, P-47s, AT-6s, BT-13s, and other planes. She flew frequently out of Long Beach, California up the Pacific Coast to fields in Washington and Oregon, and over the Rocky Mountains to Colorado and Nevada. The WASPs received equal if not better flight training than their male counterparts and were paid the same amount as men, $1200 a year.

The WASPs were deactivated in 1944 and it was not until 1977 that the U.S. Congress recognized the WASPs military contributions to World War II and granted them veteran status and benefits.

In 1944, Bishop was at Liberty Field in Hinesville, Georgia. It was there that she met her husband, James, who was also a pilot. They were married in December 1944 and had four children together.

Bishop and her husband came to Hattiesburg because James was working in the Advertising Department of the Hattiesburg American newspaper. He also taught advertising in the Journalism Department at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Bishop returned to college after her youngest daughter entered fifth grade, and earned a master’s degree in psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. She then worked in public schools for many years as a psychometrist.

Case File
Contents of the collection

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of information on Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) of World War II. The materials include flight maps, training manuals and other materials that relate to Edna Bishop’s World War II service. The collection also has materials such as issues of “Stars and Stripes”, newspaper clippings, newsletters, and documents pertaining to the Women Military Pilots Association. Of particular interest is a U.S. Navy booklet entitled “Parachute Sense,” which uses humor and cartoons to convey instructions and regulations about how to use a parachute. For example, the booklet advises that while “a long, tender farewell” of the aircraft “may mark you as a kindly, sensitive human being, it will mark you as a blithering idiot if you employ it when you’re leaving your plane.”

Other Finding Aids:

Box and Folder List

Bishop (Edna) Papers
Box and Folder List

Box 1
Folder 1    16th Annual All Woman Transcontinental Air Race (July 7-11, 1962)
Folder 2    Air Transport Command Restaurant: Menus (undated)
Folder 3    Ballot to Change Women Military Pilots Association to Women Military Aviators (May 7, 1986)
Folder 4    Bureau of Aeronautics, U.S. Navy: Parachute Sense (1943)
Folder 5    Buttons Pertaining to Women in Aviation and the WASPs (1993, undated)
Folder 6    Correspondence (1988-1994)
Folder 7    Flying Accidents (July 1944)
Folder 8    Hazel Ah Ying Lee: Women Airforce Service Pilot, World War II A Portrait, by Gay Gott, WASP (1996)
Folder 9    In Memoriam: Thirty-eight American Women Pilots (1996)
Folder 10   The Log Book: First 3 Graduating Classes from WASP Training (1940s)
Folder 11   Miscellaneous (1944, undated)
Folder 12   National Association of Women Veterans, Inc. (1989)
Folder 13   News clippings (1954-1995, undated)
Folder 14   Order of Fifinella Roster (1977)
Folder 15   Proceedings of the Third Annual National Women in Aviation Conference (Mar. 12-14, 1992)
Folder 16   Pursuit Pre-Flight Manual (ca. 1940s)
Folder 17   Pursuit Pre-Flight Training Manual (ca. 1940s)
Folder 18   Report on Women Pilot Program (1944, 1977)
Folder 19   Roger: Vol. 3, No. 8 (Nov. 13, 1943)

Box 2
Folder 1    Student Notebook: Air Navigation (ca. 1940s)
Folder 2    Student Regulations and Information (ca. 1940s)
Folder 3    Terrain Flying (July 1960)
Folder 4    U.S. Army-Navy Journal of Recognition (Nov. 1943)
Folder 5    War Department Air Corps Flight Envelope (ca. 1941)
Folder 6    The Women’s Memorial: The Register (Summer 1993-Winter 1996)
Folder 7    The Women’s Memorial 1994 Calendar-Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of WWII
Folder 8     Women Military Aviators: Booklets (1992-1994)
Folder 9     Women Military Aviators: Convention (Oct. 1991)
Folder 10   Women Military Aviators: Miscellaneous (1989-1993)
Folder 11   Women Military Aviators: Newsletters (1988-1995)
Folder 12   Women Military Pilots Association: 2nd Biennial Convention (May 24-26, 1985)

Folder 13   Women Military Pilots Association: Booklets (1983, 1985, undated)

Folder 14   Women Military Pilots Association: Correspondence (ca. 1985-1988)

Folder 15   Women Military Pilots Association: Newsletters (1985-1988)

Box 3 Oversize Materials
Folder 1    Life Magazine (Aug. 16, 1954)
Folder 2    Collage: Images of WASPs During World War II (1940s)
Folder 3    Issue of The World War II Times: Golden Anniversary Years Women
Pilots of    WWII (ca. 1990s)
Folder 4    Newspapers (Nov. 10, 1977 - May 24, 1985)

Oversized Materials in Mapcase
Folder 1    Oversize Maps (ca. 1940s)


Prepared and maintained by
The University of Southern Mississippi Libraries Special Collections
118 College Drive #5148   Hattiesburg, MS 39406-5148