Born in Minnesota in 1895, Pearl Young became not only an extremely accomplished alumnus of the University of North Dakota (UND), but also left a lasting impression on the fields of aeronautics and transportation. Raised near Rugby, North Dakota, she was largely self-sufficient from the time she left home at the age of eleven. During her time at UND, she worked as an assistant in the Physics Department, as well as for the U.S. Weather Bureau, while majoring in physics, mathematics and chemistry. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1919, Young accepted a teaching position in the Physics Department, where she remained for two years. She then joined the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the predecessor of NASA. At NACA, she first worked in the Instrumentation Division, but was later assigned the task of Technical Editor. Young established an editorial department at NACA and wrote “The Style Manual for Engineering Authors.” Her methodology for editing would eventually become the standard throughout this government agency.
Throughout her life Young was a dedicated traveler. She made two trips to Europe, one in 1927 and another in 1936. Young was also a passenger on the first flight of the Hindenburg. Methods of transportation, particularly public transportation were very important to her, not only as a field for discovery, but also as a practical daily concern as she never learned to drive a car. Young worked as a reporter and editor for the Norfolk Ledger Dispatch and, at one time, interviewed Eleanor Roosevelt. After World War II, she left NACA and taught Physics for ten years in the Pennsylvania State University system. For many years, Young researched the life of Octave Chanute, a man considered to be a mentor to the Wright Brothers, with the intention of writing his biography. After being diagnosed with cancer, however, she was unable to complete this work before her death. Her research materials on transportation were given to the University of Wyoming, while the materials on aeronautics and Chanute went to the Denver Public Library. Pearl Young died 16 June 1968 in Hampton, Virginia.
Phillips, Viola Ohler. "Talk for Dedication of Pearl I. Young Theatre." August 22, 1995, Pearl Young Papers, OGLMC 1602, Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections, University of North Dakota.
Dodds, David. "Pearl Young: physicist, aviation science trailblazer- and UND graduate." UND Discovery, Spring, 2011 (May 12, 2011). http://www.discovery.und.edu/ (accessed June 11, 2013).
Donation; June 5, 2012 (2012-3168) and September 12, 2012 (2012-3194)
Addition to collection December 31, 2013 (2013-3225)