Skip to main content

Barnstorming

BARNSTORMING

BARNSTORMING. Originally, the term "barnstorming" applied to traveling theater companies bringingplays to the nineteenth-century American frontier because company members frequently performed and slept in barns. Subsequently, the term was more commonly used to describe itinerant flyers (also called gypsies) in the half decade immediately following World War I who buzzed the countryside performing stunts or taking people on their first airplane ride.

When World War I ended, the men trained to be military pilots quickly bought surpluses of military aircraft. The barnstormers took to the air, seeking to find fame and fortune and to introduce the airplane and its potential to America. The pilots cut dashing figures and their daring stunts captured the American imagination. As more people became familiar with airplanes, the barnstormers had to become more innovative (or reckless) to keep the public's attention. Critics felt the spectacular crashes and resulting fatalities did more harm than good to the image of flying. Notable barnstormers included Walter H. Beech, African American Bessie Coleman, and Charles A. Lindbergh. "Barnstorming" is also used to describe the numerous road games outside the regular league schedule played by baseball's Negro league teams during the Jim Crow era. These games occasionally included some white teams during the off-season.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Brady, Tim, ed. The American Aviation Experience: A History. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2000.

Gorn, Elliott J., and Warren Goldstein. A Brief History of American Sports. New York: Hill and Wang, 1993.

Joel D.Kitchens

See alsoSports ; Theater .

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Barnstorming." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Barnstorming." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/barnstorming

"Barnstorming." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved October 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/barnstorming

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.