Harriet Burns, the first woman Disney Imagineer, has passed away at age 79. You know her work even if you didn’t know her name, because it reads like a what’s what of Disney parks: The Carousel of Progress, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, The Tiki Room, and others. She also worked on The Mickey Mouse Club‘s props and sets.
According to Walt Disney Imagineering, she worked shoulder to shoulder with men in the model shop, wielding saws, lathes and sanders, and was still considered the best-dressed employee in the department. “It was the 1950s,” she explained. “I wore color-coordinated dresses, high heels and gloves to work. Girls didn’t wear slacks back then, although I carried a pair in a little sack, just in case I had to climb into high places.”