The 21st annual PFFMA Fundraising Banquet was held Saturday, November 2 and was a smashing success. PFFMA honored PA women in Fly Fishing and inducted a 19th century commercial fly tier named Elizabeth Stairing Benjamin into the museum. Each attendee received a commemorative fly resembling a fly she tied in the early 1850s.
Elizabeth is the earliest-known woman commercial fly tier in the United States, according to a letter written by her son Joseph, in 1934 to AMFF. Just prior to the Civil War she became a legend in the Ralston, PA area by ingeniously creating a series of “wildly successful” fly patterns that caught the eye of the of wealthy city anglers.
Watching other anglers, she observed that trout always jumped for certain types of flies. She believed she could imitate the kinds of insects trout were taking and worked with her husband and son to make nets and catch the aquatic life she would imitate. Feathers collected by her son were shaped by Elizabeth and fastened by hand to fishhooks with different colored silk threads. The wealthy city anglers learned of the success of others who purchased her flies, they paid fabulous prices for all she could make!
Thank you to:
-Austin S. Hogan of Cambridge, MA first curator of the American Museum of Fly Fishing 1970-1978.