Unusual Name: Bessica

Bessica Raiche
Did you know that the first woman in the U.S. to fly a plane solo (intentionally*) was named Bessica?

Dr. Bessica “Bessie” Raiche (1875-1932) flew her homemade airplane on September 16, 1910, in Hempstead Plains, New York. It was her first time flying a plane, and during the short flight she “skimmed over the airfield a few feet off the ground.”

A month later, Aeronautical Society of America presented Bessica with a gold medal inscribed to “the first woman aviator of America.”

Bessica, a medical doctor, flew planes for only a short time before moving to California and resuming her medical practice.

Her mother’s name was Elizabeth, so I’m guessing “Bessica” was created as an elaborated form of Bess, the diminutive of Elizabeth.

Do you like the name Bessica? Would you use it for a modern baby girl?

*I say intentionally because, two weeks earlier in 1910, lady-pilot Blanche Stuart Scott had unintentionally become airborne while taxiing a plane.

Sources: Bessica Raiche – Women in Aviation and Space History – SI, Bessica Raiche (1875–1932) – SP’s Aviation, “Dr. Bessica Raiche, Early Flier, Dead.” New York Times 12 Apr. 1932: 24.

3 thoughts on “Unusual Name: Bessica

  1. I’m not crazy about the name Bessica, but I found Bessica herself to be a very interesting and accomplished person. Thanks for bringing her to my attention!

  2. There was a middle grade novel that came out a few years ago called The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter.

  3. I’m surprised your source referred to her as an “aviator”. I thought “aviatrix” was the term of art back then.

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