Amelia Earhart

By Brianna Barth - 4 blue

Childhood

  • Born Amelia Mary Earhart, to Edwin and Amy Earhart.
  • Born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897.
  • She had a younger sister, Muriel.
  • Her parents traveled a lot, so the girls lived with their grandmother, Amelia Harres Otis.
  • Amelia did many tomboyish and unladylike things, such as build a roller coaster in her back yard and explore caves. She played basketball, tennis, and received at .22-caliber rifle for Christmas. She was often scolded by her grandmother for such things.
  • Father was bad with money and drank due to financial stress. He was still affectionate to his daughters, though.
  • Amelia enjoyed to read and did well in school.
  • She began to travel a lot with her dad.
  • Her dad became an alcoholic and was fired from his job. He threatened to hit Amelia when she tried to stop his drinking. Her mother intervened.
  • Her father began to move the family around very often in attempts to get another job, and her mother decided to move with her daughters to Chicago to protect them.
  • She attended 6 different high schools in 4 years. Graduated from Hyde Park High School. She enjoyed chemistry, physics, and math. She was very introverted.

Young Adult Life

  • Attended Ogontz School in Rydal, Pennsylvania. It was an all girls school. In 1917, she was elected Vice President of her class and secretary of the Red Cross chapter of her school.
  • She had a scrapbook of newspaper clippings of women's achievements.
  • In 1918, she begins to try to help with the war effort. She knits things for troops in France. She leaves Ogontz before graduating and goes to Toronto to become a nurse. In the spring of 1918, she begins working at Spadina Military Hospital in Toronto.
  • She attends a flying exposition in Toronto and saw stunts.
  • While working in pneumonia ward, she got sinusitis. She was hospitalized and underwent surguries, but it would plague her for the rest of her life.
  • Left Toronto in November 1918.
  • In Fall of 1919, she attended Columbia University as a pre-med student.
  • In 1920, she was in California and attended air meets and tournaments whenever she could. She wanted to take flying lessons.
  • Frank Hawks took her on her first flight, and Neta Snook, a female pilot, was the one to give her lessons. The first time Amelia flew was on January 3, 1921.
  • She was dedicated to flying and worked 3 jobs to help pay for lessons.
  • Her first plane was the "Kinner Canary."
  • Crashes were inevitable, and Amelia had her fair share.
  • Amelia learned to drive.
  • October 22, 1922- Amelia participated in an air meet and Rogers Field. When "checking the ceiling," she broke a women's altitude record.
  • May 15, 1923- she earned her pilot's license and was the 16th woman in the world to do so.
  • 1924- sinusitis reoccurs. She sells her plane. Her mother divorces Edwin. Attended Columbia University in the fall.
  • Summer 1925- she attends Harvard, but never settles on a degree program. She teaches English courses to help with expenses.
  • She is proposed to by her boyfriend, Sam Chapman, but didn't want to be a housewife so she turned him down.
  • In the fall of 1926, she began working as a social worker in Denison House, in Boston.
  • She joined the Boston Chapter of the National Aeronautic Association and would lat become Vice President.

Adult Life and Flying Career

  • In spring 1928, she was approached by publisher George Putnam to be the first woman to fly the Atlantic. She agreed. Her only pay for the flight would be to get to go along. She was, however, named "captain." The pilot was Wilmer Stultz, and Slim Gordon.
  • Took off in The Friendship on June 17 and landed June 18. The flight took 20 hours and 49 minutes.
  • She tried to be modest and give most of the credit to Stultz and Gordon, but headlines still gave her the most credit and celebrated her as the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, despite the fact she only got to fly the plane after landing in Wales. She became a global sweetheart. She was called "Lady Lindy" after Charles Lindbergh, the first man to solo the Atlantic.
  • She began to champion the cause of women in aviation.
  • After returning to America, she planed to fly cross country in an attempt to get away from all the publicity. But Putnam alerted the media. This trip made her the first woman to fly solo across the continent and back.
  • Commercial flights were new, so she encouraged people to ride commercial flights. She also encouraged people (especially women) to learn to fly.
  • She took lessons to become a commercial pilot and in March 1929, she got her license. It was the highest rating a pilot could attain.
  • She was hired for Transcontinental Air Transport.
  • She participated in the first Women's Air Derby in August 1929. She finishes third. The derby helped women in aviation as it had the highest percentage of finishers of any cross-country race.
  • Forms a women's aviation organization, the Ninety Nines, because that is how many original members there were. Amelia is elected president in 1930.
  • More experienced pilots respected her because she was humble and listened and learned.
  • November 22, 1929- she set a 1 mile speed record.
  • She began working for record classification for women.
  • June/July 1930- set women's world speed record with no load carried, women's world speed record, and women's world speed record over a 3-km course.
  • September 23, 1930- her father dies.
  • Putnam proposes to her at least twice. She turns him down because she did not want to become a housewife. She finally agrees to marry him under the condition that she can continue flying. The marriage is kept secret and is a very business-like agreement. Wedding is Saturday Feburary 7, 1931. They took no honeymoon and were back to work on Monday. Amelia kept her maiden name.
  • She is elected the first woman Vice President of National Aeronautics Association.
  • April 8, 1931- set Autogiro altitude record. First pilot to fly Autogiro across the country and back.
  • In 1932, she set out to be the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. The flight takes place May 1932. Much of it was prepared in secret. She ran into storms, malfunctioning equipment, a fire on the plane, and gasoline fumes in the cockpit. She completed the flight in 14 hours and 56 minutes. This made her the first woman to cross the Atlantic solo, and the first person to cross it twice, and it was the fastest crossing of the Atlantic, and it was the longest nonstop distance flown by a woman.
  • In France, she is the first woman presented to the French senate.
  • July 1932- beats fastest women's time from Los Angelos to New Jersey and is the first woman to fly solo across the U.S.
  • August 25, 1932- She broke the cross country distance record and beat her own time.
  • She joins the National Women's party and uses her fame to pressure Hoover to pass an equal rights amendment for women.
  • In March 1933, she was invited to the Roosevelt's to attend FDR's inauguration and stay at the White House. She took Eleanor Roosevelt on a flight.
  • She helped start National Airways.
  • In June 1933, she participated in the Bendix Race. She was one of the first women to do so.
  • July 9, 1933- Amelia broke her transcontinental nonstop speed record.
  • 1934- Putnam got her a deal to be a fashion designer.
  • She works with Paul Mantz, a Hollywood stunt pilot, planning a flight from Honolulu to California. The flight takes off January 11, 1935. She is the first pilot to do so.
  • Invited by the Mexican government to make a "good-will flight" to Mexico City. She set a speed record flying there. On her flight from Mexico City to New York, she broke Lindbergh's record time.
  • In June 1935, she began serving as a career counselor for women at Pursue University.
  • On August 25, 1935, she was the first woman to fly from one U.S. coast to the other nonstop.
  • She decided to fly around the world. She would be the first woman to do so, and she would focus on distance by flying "the world at its waistline." Putnam and she invested nearly everything they owned in the flight. On March 17, 1937, she took off from Oakland and flew to Hawaii. She broke the speed record on the way there. When trying to take off from Hawaii, however, there was a mishap and the plane was damaged. The trip had to be postponed.
  • June 1, 1937- the direction of the trip was changed and Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan (the navigator) took off from Florida. During the flight, they were the first to fly over the Red Sea to India non-stop.
  • They disappeared July 2 over the Pacific Ocean while trying to locate Howland Island to land.
  • A large search expedition was set up to find her, but it was abandoned July 18, 1937. Putnam kept searching. Amelia was officially listed as deceased on January 5, 1939.
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Influences/Motivations

  • Her mother was also a ground breaker for women, as she was the first woman to make the entire climb of Pike's Peak.
  • As a child, played a game where she would sit in an old carriage and pretend to go to far away places. This inspired her to travel.
  • Her father's alcoholism and threats of violence towards her caused to to become protective of her sister and mother. She was even controlling at times. This transferred over to how she treated them in her adult life. Amelia tried to give advise to her sister on her marriage. She helped her mother financially, but was upset when the money wasn't used the way she intended.
  • Amelia was very introverted and kept many of her emotions concealed. This was because as a child she didn't get along with many of the more ladylike girls. She also concealed her emotions to protect her sister and mother, and when her grandmother died. Moving schools so often in high school left her without many friends.
  • While working as a nurse, she heard stories from wounded combat pilots. Flying intrigued her.
  • In 1918, in Toronto, she attended a flying exposition and saw stunts. She was inspired to fly.
  • Amelia pushed herself to be the first. She wanted to break records and be the first person to do things. She was determined to compete with and work with men. It was important to her to be treated equally and to have her accomplishments treated equally.

"My particular inner desire to fly the Atlantic alone was nothing new with me. I had flown Atlantics before. Everyone has his own Atlantics to fly. Whatever you want very much to do, against the opposition of tradition, neighborhood opinion, and so called 'common sense' -- that is an Atlantic" - Amelia Earhart, August 1932 issue of American Magazine.

  • "Love- Amelia" - Amelia Earhart, June 18, 1928. Telegram she sent to her mother after landing as first woman to cross the Atlantic.
  • "I prefer good mechanical work to rabbits' feet."
  • "Please know I am aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others." -Amelia Earhart, in her letter to Putnam that was to be opened in the event she disappeared during her around the world flight.
  • "The lure of flying is the lure of beauty... The reason flyers fly, whether they know it or not, is the esthetic appeal of flying." -Amelia Earhart, after her transpacific flight.

Compare/Contrast

  • If Amelia Earhart would have been born at the beginning of the space race (the late fifties or early sixties) she would have seen the first men on the moon and other astronautical accomplishments. This would have inspired her to become an astronaut. She may have even been the first woman astronaut in space, like Sally Ride.
  • She would have been equally accepted in this time. She would have been just as successful in her astronautical achievements as she was in her aeronautical ones. However, she would not have been as impactful or successful in her activism because she wouldn't have been a pop culture icon of the time. Women's rights had also made a lot of ground by the time Amelia would have been famous, so there would not have been as much pressure to improve women's rights further. Instead of working towards women's rights, she may have focused on encouraging women to get involved in STEM careers, just as she encouraged women to pursue aviation.
  • If I had her skills during the space age, I would have been an astronaut and gone to space. I would have pushed for more women in STEM careers and studies, as well.

Parallels

  • Amelia's mother, Amy Earhart, also set a record as she was the first woman to climb the entirety of Pike's Peak.
  • Earhart grew up during a the Progressive Era, where women's rights was beginning to be addressed more widely. She didn't reach her peak of fame until after the Progressive Era ended, but she still worked for women's rights.
  • Amelia was a young adult and learning to fly during the 1920s, when women were gaining the ability to be a little more independent.
  • Earhart was a nurse during WWI and was able to hear stories from pilots. After WWI, she began to take flying lessons. Since the war was over, there were many trained pilots to learn from and work with and planes had seen improvements and innovations during the war. Her flying career was also before WWII, when many of the planes would need to be used for the war effort and international flights would be near impossible. This time in between WWI and WWII was a time of fascination with aviation and it was very popular.
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Summation

http://hushkit.net/2012/09/03/magnificent-girls-in-their-flying-machines-amelia-earhart-flight-fashion-feminism-by-amber-jane-butchart/

Activist

  • Earhart's cause was women's rights and equality. She especially encouraged women to pursue aviation and stood for women's aviation issues, like record classifications.
  • Amelia was a woman, so that motivated her to work for women's rights. She also wanted to be treated equally and have her accomplishments treated equally.
  • Because of her involvement, the Ninety-Nines, a women's aviation organization, was established, women's record classification improved, many women we're influenced by her to pursue careers, and she paved a path for women in aviation.
  • She did this through lectures, career counseling for women at Purdue University, and writing columns for Cosmopolitan Magazine.
  • She didn't make many sacrifices for her cause, since she was paid for her lectures, columns, and counseling.
  • In the Space Age, since women's rights was not as big of an issue, Amelia Earhart would have focused more on encouraging women to pursue STEM careers.