Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937

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Amelia Mary Earhart (AE) was born on July 24, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas, the first daughter of Amy (Otis) Earhart and Edwin Stanton Earhart. Her sister, Grace Muriel, was born three years later. The family moved several times (to Kansas City, Kansas; Des Moines; St. Paul; Chicago) during AE's childhood as her father tried unsuccessfully to establish a profitable legal career. AE graduated from Chicago's Hyde Park High School in 1916. ESE's increasing reliance on alcohol and his inability to hold a job led eventually to a divorce, in 1924.

In addition to attending a variety of schools (Ogontz School in Greenfield, Pa., Columbia University, Harvard University), and experimenting with numerous areas of study (e.g., pre-med, French poetry, physics) and types of jobs (e.g., wartime nurses' aide in Toronto, telephone company worker, photographer), AE developed an interest in the relatively new field of aviation. While living in Los Angeles she took flying lessons from Neta Snook, pioneer woman pilot, and in 1921 made her first solo flight and bought her first airplane.

After her parents' divorce AE moved with her mother to Medford, Massachusetts, where Muriel was teaching. She taught English to immigrant factory workers and in 1926 became a social worker and resident at Denison House, a Boston settlement. During these years she continued to fly at local airfields and in 1927 was offered, and accepted, the opportunity to accompany Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon on their 1928 flight to England. She thereby became the first woman to make the transatlantic crossing by air, and an instant celebrity.

Intensely competitive, AE participated in numerous air races and held a variety of speed records and "firsts": she was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic solo (1932) and first person to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland, California (January 1935), and from Los Angeles to Mexico City (April 1935). AE was a mentor of other women pilots and worked to improve their acceptance in the heavily male field of aviation. In 1929 she helped organize the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of licensed women pilots (with 99 charter members) and served as its president until 1933. Married in 1931 to publisher and publicist George Palmer Putnam (GPP), AE still maintained her grueling nationwide lecture tours, which largely financed her flying, served as women's career counselor at Purdue University, and wrote books and articles on women and aviation. An outspoken advocate of women's equality, AE also designed sportswear for women, luggage suitable for air travel, and travel stationery.

AE made two attempts to fly around the world in 1937. The first, in March, ended when her airplane was badly damaged on take-off in California. On June 1 she took off from Miami with navigator Fred Noonan, intending to fly around the equator from west to east. On July 2, having completed 22,000 miles of the trip, AE and FN took off from Lae, New Guinea, for Howland Island. They never reached the island. Despite an intensive search by the U.S. Navy and others, following radio distress calls, no trace of the fliers or their plane has ever been found.

The numerous AE biographies include Mary S. Lovell's The Sound of Wings: The Life of Amelia Earhart (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989), Doris L. Rich's Amelia Earhart: A Biography (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989), and two by her sister, Muriel Earhart Morrissey ( Courage is the Price: The Biography of Amelia Earhart, Wichita, Kan.: McCormick-Armstrong Publishing Division, 1963; and, with Carol L. Osborne, Amelia, My Courageous Sister: Biography of Amelia Earhart, Santa Clara, Calif.: Osborne Publisher, 1987). Jean Backus has edited a collection of AE's letters, based on the Amy Otis Earhart Papers, also in the Schlesinger Library ( Letters from Amelia: An Intimate Portrait of Amelia Earhart, Boston: Beacon Press, 1982). For other biographical sketches, see Notable American Women: 1607-1950 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971), and Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. XXII, Supplement Two (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958).

From the guide to the Papers, 1835, 1885, 1897-1977, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)

Archival Resources
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referencedIn Papers, 1944 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
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referencedIn Personal Papers of Joseph M. Kellogg, 1909-1958 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library University Archives
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referencedIn A collection of early aviation photographic prints. Wichita State University, Ablah Library
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referencedIn Ault, Phillip H., 1914-. Phillip H. Ault aviation collection, 1783-1993 (bulk 1900-1950). The Claremont Colleges, Claremont University Consortium
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referencedIn Thomas F. Bomar Papers, 1930-1975 San Diego History Center Document Collection
referencedIn Kern County Local History Photograph Collection, 1853-2001 Kern County Library
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referencedIn Welborne, Patrick,. Patrick Welborne collection, 1935-1986. Western Michigan University, Dwight B. Waldo Library
referencedIn Charles Dawson History Center (White Plains, N.Y.). Photograph collection, [ca. 1880]-1984. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Shouse, Catherine Filene, 1896-1994. Papers, 1878-1998 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Pacific Geographic Society. Pacific Geographic Society records, 1927-1940. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn "Dick" Whittington Studio Collection of Negatives and Photographs, 1924-1948 The Huntington Library
referencedIn Phillip H. Ault Aviation collection, 1783-1993, (bulk 1900-1950). Claremont Colleges. Library. Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library.
referencedIn Lutz, Alma. Papers, 1921-1961 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn New York Times Company records. Arthur Hays Sulzberger papers, 1823-1999 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Letters, 1972-1980 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Murphy, Frank, 1890-1949. Frank Murphy autograph book, 1930-1942. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Papers, 1900-1965 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Kathleen Millay collection of papers, 1904-1956, 1906-1943 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Facsimile historical newspapers collection, 1876-1969. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn A.F.R. Lawrence collection of historical spoken word [sound recording], 1900-1970 The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.
referencedIn Huntington Free Library. Scrapbook of Brooklyn news from the Eagle, 1937-1940. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission. Audio-visual materials, 1915-1990s. Minnesota Historical Society Library
creatorOf Videotapes, 1932-1977 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Women's Educational and Industrial Union (Boston, Mass.). Additional records, 1877-1977 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Wittner, Fred, 1909-1972. Papers, 1928-1972. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
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referencedIn Lindbergh, Anne Morrow, 1906-2001. Anne Morrow Lindbergh papers, 1906-1997 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Underwood, John W.,. John Underwood photograph collection, undated. San Diego Aerospace Museum Library & Archives
referencedIn Smith, Corinna Lindon, 1876-1965. Papers, 1851-1966 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Morrissey, Muriel Earhart. Reminiscences of Muriel Earhart Morrissey : oral history, 1960. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn "Dick" Whittington Studio Collection of Negatives and Photographs [graphic], 1924-1948. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Crane, Mardo. Mardo Crane papers, 1942-1978. Texas Woman's University Library, Mary Evelyn Blagg-Huey Library
creatorOf Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937. Papers, 1853; 1928-1947. Natural History Museum Los Angeles County Foundation, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
referencedIn Central High School (Saint Paul, Minn.). Records of Central High School, 1870 - [ca. 1980s]. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Briand, Paul L., 1920-1986. Paul L. Briand papers, 1957-1978. UNH Durham, Dimond Library
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referencedIn Institute of Aerospace Sciences Archives, 1783-1962 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Younger, J. Arthur (Jesse Arthur), 1893-1967. J. Arthur Younger papers, 1951-1968. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn James Carruthers Memorial Aviation Collection of the Institute of Aeronautical History, Circa 1700-2004. Honnold/Mudd Library Special Collection and Archives
referencedIn Stultz, Wilmer. Wilmer Stultz papers, 1927-1928. Purdue University Library
referencedIn Eugene L. Vidal papers, 1897-1972 (bulk 1930-1969) University of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Cradle of Aviation Museum (Garden City, N.Y.). Research files, ca.1900-1990. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
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referencedIn Otis, George L., 1829-1883. Otis family papers, 1831-1991 (bulk 1850-1873). Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn John Newland Maffitt Papers, 1833-1911, 1976 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
referencedIn American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Institute of Aerospace Sciences archives, 1783-1962. Library of Congress
referencedIn Papers, 1912-1960 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Meier, Nellie Simmons, d. 1939. Nellie Simmons Meier papers, 1898-1938. Library of Congress
creatorOf Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937. Collection on Amelia Earhart commemorative stamp, 1963. State Historical Society of Iowa, Library
creatorOf Papers, 1835, 1885, 1897-1977 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Hobson, Charles, 1943-. Charles Hobson collection : design and production materials for artists' books, 1985-2008. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Collection, 1937-1963 University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection.
referencedIn Delta Kappa Gamma Society (Mass.). Biographies, 1928-1963 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
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referencedIn Elizabeth Hiatt Gregory Collection of Material About American Aviation, 1900-1945 University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
referencedIn Papers, 1851-1966 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
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referencedIn Alden, Henry Mills, 1836-1919. American and English literary and historical papers collected by Atcheson L. Hench [manuscript] 1782-1944. University of Virginia. Library
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correspondedWith Alfred G. Otis person
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associatedWith Amy Otis Earhart person
associatedWith AMY (OTIS) EARHART, 1869-1962 person
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correspondedWith Ann Helen Earhart person
associatedWith Astor, Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor, Viscountess, 1879-1964. person
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associatedWith Chapin, Roy D. (Roy Dikeman), 1880-1936 person
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associatedWith Earhart, Edwin Stanton. person
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correspondedWith Marsha B. Hall person
associatedWith Marx, Harpo, 1888-1964. person
associatedWith Mary Melinda (Kingsbury) Simkhovitch, 1867-1951 person
associatedWith Mary (Ritter) Beard, 1876-1958 person
associatedWith Mason, Helen E. person
correspondedWith Maude M. Bronson person
associatedWith McAdoo, W. G. (William Gibbs), 1863-1941. person
associatedWith McAfee, Mildred H., 1900- person
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associatedWith McIntyre, Marvin Hunter, 1878-1943. person
associatedWith McMein, Neysa. person
associatedWith Meier, Nellie Simmons, d. 1939. person
associatedWith Mellon, Andrew W. (Andrew William), 1855-1937. person
associatedWith Merrill, Kenneth Griggs. person
associatedWith Millay, Kathleen, d. 1943. person
associatedWith Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Mitchell, Ruth Comfort, 1882-1954. person
associatedWith Moffett, William A. (William Adger), 1869-1933. person
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associatedWith Monroe, Harriet, 1860-1936. person
associatedWith Morrissey, Muriel Earhart. person
associatedWith Morrissey, Muriel (Earhart), 1899- person
associatedWith MS. MAGAZINE, 1972- corporateBody
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associatedWith Muni, Paul, 1895-1967. person
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associatedWith Newcomer, E. D., 1896-1973. person
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associatedWith Ninety-Nines (Organization) corporateBody
associatedWith Noonan, Fred person
associatedWith Noonan, Frederick J., d. 1937. person
associatedWith Northwest Airlines, inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Noyes, Blanche. person
associatedWith Nye, Gerald P. (Gerald Prentice), 1892-1971. person
associatedWith O'Connor, Basil, 1892-1972. person
associatedWith Odlum, Floyd B. person
associatedWith Ortiz, Bobbye S. person
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associatedWith Otis family. family
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associatedWith Pickford, Mary, 1892-1979. person
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correspondedWith Pollitzer, Anita, 1894-1975. person
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correspondedWith Pugsley, Beatrice person
associatedWith Purdue University corporateBody
associatedWith Purdue University. corporateBody
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spouseOf Putnam, George Palmer, 1887-1950 person
associatedWith Pyle, Howard, 1906-1987. person
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associatedWith Reischauer, Edwin O. (Edwin Oldfather), 1910- person
associatedWith Reischauer, Edwin Oldfather, 1910- person
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associatedWith Roosevelt, Belle, 1892-1968. person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962. person
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correspondedWith Royer, Lloyd person
associatedWith Royer, Lloyd. person
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associatedWith Saltonstall, Leverett, 1892-1979. person
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associatedWith Sibour, Jacques de. person
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associatedWith Smith, Corinna Lindon, 1876-1965. person
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correspondedWith Society of the Sons of the Revolution corporateBody
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correspondedWith Spear, Eleanor, 1910-2006. person
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associatedWith Stanton, Frank. person
associatedWith Stinson, Katharine, 1917-2001 person
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associatedWith Stultz, Wilmer. person
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associatedWith Swarzwald, Eugene. person
associatedWith Tompkins, Nathaniel, d. 1949. person
associatedWith Tonsing, Ernst Frederick, 1937- person
associatedWith Twain, Mark, 1835-1910 person
associatedWith Underwood, John W., person
associatedWith United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation. corporateBody
associatedWith Vaeth, J. Gordon person
associatedWith Vaeth, J. Gordon (Joseph Gordon), 1921- person
associatedWith Vermont Transit Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Vidal, Eugene L. (Eugene Luther), 1895-1969. person
associatedWith Vidal, Gore, 1925- person
associatedWith Vidal, Gore, 1925- person
associatedWith Wallace, Mike, 1918- person
associatedWith Wallace, Mike, 1918- person
associatedWith Washburn, Bradford, 1910-2007. person
associatedWith Welborne, Patrick, person
associatedWith Wheaton, Marion A. person
associatedWith White, Eva Whiting, 1880-1974 person
associatedWith White, Eva Whiting, 1880-1974. person
associatedWith Whyte, Edna Gardner. person
associatedWith Wilbur, Richard person
correspondedWith William Rose Benet person
associatedWith Williams, Clarence Strong, 1890- person
associatedWith Wittner, Fred, 1909-1972. person
associatedWith WOMEN'S EDUCATIONAL AND INDUSTRIAL UNION corporateBody
associatedWith Women's Educational and Industrial Union (Boston, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Wright, Lucile M. person
associatedWith Wright, Lucile M. person
associatedWith Wright, Orville person
correspondedWith Young, Bess person
associatedWith Younger, J. Arthur (Jesse Arthur), 1893-1967. person
associatedWith Zaharias, Babe Didrikson, 1911-1956. person
associatedWith Zonta International corporateBody
associatedWith Zonta International. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Atchison KS US
Subject
Transatlantic flights
Air pilots--United States--Biography
Air pilots--Biography
Flight
Aeronautics
Commemorative postage stamps
Women air pilots
Women in aeronautics
Occupation
Air pilots
Function

Person

Birth 1897-07-24

Death 1937-07

Birth 1897

Death 1937

Americans

English

Information

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Ark ID: w67f3j6x

SNAC ID: 83547529