During her time as a pilot, Nancy established a successful Boston-based aviation company, participated in National air races, and helped ferry an airplane from the United States to France. Most notably, during World War II, Love led all ferrying operations for the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) an aviation organization assembled of female pilots, who were tasked with the responsibility of flying military aircrafts as instructed by the United States Air Forces.
Under her command, female pilots flew almost every type of military aircraft then in the air. Her leadership and passion for flight were instrumental in the success of the organization. For her service, Nancy received an Air Medal award in honor of her meritorious flying and leadership. Before her passing in 1976, Nancy strongly maintained relationships with the women she had commanded and worked with through WASP considering them some of the most important people in her life. These friends and family had been a part of her passion of flight and remained unwavering vestiges of the love she found through her work.
Holly Trostle Brigham, WASP Bea I. Wolf, 2012,
The aviation history that Love created is forefront in Holly Trostle Brigham’s piece WASP Bea I. Wolf featured in Holly Trostle Brigham: Dis/Guise. Brigham’s piece focused on the untold history of the WASPs. Specifically, in the painting, Brigham imagines herself a woman in flight. Painted to resemble a black and white photograph, the piece takes on a historical imagery emphasizing the absent significance and legacy of the organization. In the sixteen months the WASP unit existed, more than 25,000 women applied for training; and of these over a thousand were accepted and successfully completed the program. Yet, upon the disbanding of the program, these women waited over thirty years to receive combat veteran status and eligibility benefits. Thus, Brigham’s piece attempts to honor these women and rectify the neglect of the past. We remember and celebrate their achievements on Nancy Harkness Love's birthday, Valentine's Day, how fitting? Holly Trostle Brigham: Dis/Guise will be on view at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery until February 28th.