‘Fiancee of danger’

Daring woman is subject of book by former Fort Dodger

Marie Marvingt was not one to sit still for very long.

Her resume seems better suited for a character in an action movie than a French woman who was born in 1875. It includes flying planes and balloons, riding the Tour de France bike route, climbing mountains and dominating winter sports. She briefly served in the French Army disguised as a man during World War I, then aided the French Resistance during World War II.

And if that wasn’t enough, she became the first female bomber pilot and was an early advocate of using aircraft as ambulances.

Her life and exploits are the subject of a new book by former Fort Dodge resident Rosalie Maggio entitled “Marie Marvingt, Fiancee of Danger.”

Maggio, who lives in California, said the book had its beginning 39 years ago when she read a single sentence about Marvingt.

Rosalie Maggio

“I really thought it was a hoax,” she said.

Then she found an obituary of Marvingt that had appeared in the New York Times. Maggio continued her research with the goal of answering two questions.

Her first question was: Did Marvingt really do all the things she’s credited with? Maggio said she found hundreds and hundreds of old newspaper articles that prove Marvingt did indeed live an eventful life that earned her the nickname Fiancee of Danger.

“She was a maniac,” Maggio said.

“Her story was so complex,” she added. “She was doing everything at once.”

Maggio had a second question about Marvingt: How come nobody knows about her today?

Maggio said Marvingt’s gender prevented her from getting lasting recognition.

“They didn’t put women in the record books,” she said.

She added that Marvingt had been out of the public eye for a long time when she died in 1963, and was simply forgotten.

Maggio’s extensive research on Marvingt is revealed in a 30-page bibliography in the back of the book which lists all the documentation she used. She said that documentation is good defense against claims that Marvingt was a hoax.

“I just decided to kill them with bibliography,” she said.

The book is available from the publisher at McFarlandBooks.com and at other book sellers.

About the author

Rosalie Maggio, daughter of Dr. Paul Maggio and his wife, Irene, was born in Texas and moved to Fort Dodge as a child. She graduated from St. Edmond High School in 1961 and earned a bachelor’s degree in French from the University of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota.

She has written 22 books and about 700 articles.

She has two daughters and a son. One of her brothers, Dr. Matt Maggio, is a dentist in Fort Dodge.