Bessie Coleman, the first African-American woman to fly an airplane, is one of our inspiring Trailblazing Women.
Trailblazing Women Who Adventured Beautifully
Last year we introduced Annie Atkins in our Inspired By series and shared her interview with our founder, Sara Banks, about Annie's extraordinary career and the gorgeous luggage sticker collection she designed for SteamLine Luggage. We were so amazed to learn more about Annie's process and the pioneering travelers who inspired this one-of-a-kind luggage sticker collection. Without further ado, meet five Trailblazing Women who changed their worlds and are winning our hearts anew.
Jeanne Baret (1740-1807)
France's Jeanne Baret was the first woman to circumnavigate the globe, although she had to do it disguised as a man. A skilled botanist, Baret wanted to study new species of plants around the world, but the French Navy forbid women on the ships, so Jeanne became "Jean." She sailed incognito to Uruguay, Rio de Janeiro, Tahiti, Papua New Guinea, and Mauritius before completing the circle by returning to France.
The Sticker: Annie's sticker conjures up a hotel in Tahiti in honor of Jeanne's real name, setting the record straight after a lifetime spent traveling in male disguise.
The Suitcase: In light of Jeanne's specialty, we couldn't resist pairing her with our Botanist SteamLine. We delight in imaging her case filled with real specimens that merge with its printed lining.
Isabella Bird (1831-1904)
Britain's Isabella Bird travelled the world solo, exploring America, Asia, and the Middle East alone, riding her horse frontward "like a man." Unperturbed by the gossip her personal style stirred up, she was honoured as the first female fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. When she died at the age of 73, she had a trip to China planned: her luggage was already packed.
The Sticker: To commemorate Ms. Bird, Annie imagined a hotel where she traveled in Lake Tuz, Turkey, less known for lodging than its pink salt water and the breeding colony of greater flamingo present on a group of islands in the southern part of the lake.
The Suitcase: The Starlet Vanity matches Isabella's sticker beautifully, and for travel by horse, its handheld case and crossbody strap make for an essential choice.
Annie Smith Peck (1850-1935)
American Annie Smith Peck's initial fame was notoriety; while she climbed mountains, the press hotly debated her choice of clothes, and this at a point when women could be arrested for wearing trousers in public. Undaunted by such inanities, Smith Peck scaled peaks all over the world, proudly sticking a "Votes for Women" flag in the summit of the Nevado Coropuna, Peru, in 1911.
The Sticker: Annie Atkins imagined not only a lodge but a precipitous peak catchingly named Peck's Peak for mountaineer Annie Peck Smith.
The Suitcase: A hat would have been a fixture on Annie's sun-exposed hikes, making our crossbody Hatbox a natural choice that would also have kept her hands-free.
Bessie Coleman (1892-1926)
In 1922 Bessie Coleman was the first African-American woman to fly an airplane, having earned her wings in France. Vowing to open a school in the U.S. for aviators of any gender or race, Coleman outright refused to perform air shows for segregated audiences. Her incredible loop-the-loops and figure-8s drew huge crowds, and she was nicknamed "Queen Bess." Seemingly incapable of fear, Bessie broke hearts when she died testing a new aircraft in Jacksonville, Florida, at the age of 34.
The Sticker: For Bessie's sticker, Annie imagined an airline named for Coleman and cited the date and place of her first appearance in an American airshow at an event honoring veterans of the all-black 369th Infantry Regiment of World War I.
The Suitcase: Naturally, our aviator Bessie would need a Carryon to co-pilot by her side. Our Architect, with its Art Deco lining, strikes the perfect note for the Twenties in which she roared.
Freya Stark (1893-1993)
Of Anglo-Italian descent, Dame Freya Stark lost part of her scalp, eyebrow, and ear in a machinery accident at her mother's factory when she was just 13 years old. Having to spend much of her adolescence in bed, Freya learnt Arabic and taught herself how to draw with the dream of one day mapping the Arabian Desert, which she did. As one of the first Western cartographers to travel the Middle East, Stark made many corrections to inaccurate maps. She also wrote more than two dozen books on her travels, the last of which was published in 1988, five years before her death at 100 years of age.
The Sticker: For this most determined of women who lived a century of life, Annie imagined a hotel in Cairo, Egypt, where Freya was one of the first non-Arabs to visit.
The Suitcase: Our Red Diplomat is a perfect backdrop for Freya's sticker, it could easily hold and protect the long rolled-up maps with which she would have traveled.
Dame Freya Madeline Stark as painted by Herbert Arnould Olivier (1923), National Portrait Gallery, London.
About the Designer: Annie Atkins
Key graphic designer for Wes Anderson, Annie Atkins has given us the honor of designing our first luggage stickers. Inspired by five trailblazing travelers whose explorations changed their worlds, they are original works of art we are proud to see gracing our cases.
Annie and her son Mabon with our Diplomat displaying her stickers.
The Trailblazer Sticker Collection
Featuring fictitious hotels honoring five extraordinary women explorers, each sticker comes with the story of its muse and is designed to re-create the vintage hotel stickers that once turned suitcases into travelogues.
Further Fascinating Reading
- Meet Annie Atkins, the designer behind the gorgeous Trailblazer Stickers.
- Explore all of our Inspired By interviews, featuring editors, influencers, and friends of SteamLine!
- Learn how to make packing a breeze with our simple packing guide.
- Explore ways to use your SteamLine case as home decor between sojourns.
- Learn about our Coordinated Ripstop Covers -- practical and pretty protection for your SteamLine rolling case.