Amelia Mary Earhart, 1897 - 1937

portrait of Amelia Earhart
1935 photo
265

Born: 24 July 1897, Atchison, Kansas
Died: 2 July 1937, Missing in central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island

Earhart was born in the home of her maternal grandfather, Alfred Otis, a former federal judge and bank president at Atchison, Kansas who didn't think much of his son-in-law. 'Meeley' and her sister were raised and home schooled there until 1909 when the family was reunited with her father who was then a railroad claims officer at Des Moines, Iowa. When forced to retire due to alcoholism, Edwin moved to St Paul, Minnesota for a job that fell through, mother and daughters moved to Chicago. Amelia canvassed St Paul high schools and chose Hyde Park based on its science program, graduating in 1916. Visiting her sister at Toronto she encountered soldiers returning from the war in Europe, was trained as a nurse's aide by the Red Cross, and worked at Spadina Military Hospital. She became a patient there in the 1918 flu epidemic, hospitalized for two months and recovering for another year, and leaving her with chronic sinusitis which affected her during later flights. After a year at Columbia University, Earhart moved to Long Beach, California where her parents were back together, and had her first plane ride. She immediately set out to earn the money for flying lessons. By 1926 she had 500 hours in and had set the women's world altitude record (14,000 feet, 1922). In 1928 a trans-Atlantic flight was organized to be the first to carry a woman, and Earhart was the "girl with the right image". Untrained for "instrument" flight, she later characterized her role as "baggage" although she did keep the logs. She promoted aviation, particularly women's aviation, writing columns, lecturing, and setting more aviation records. She was the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo, from Newfoundland to Ireland, on the fifth anniversary of Lindbergh's solo flight. In 1935 she started planning a circumnavigation of the globe, departing for Honolulu from Oakland, California on 17 March 1937 with a crew of three. An accident on takeoff from Honolulu required the Lockheed L-10E Elektra to be shipped back to California for repairs. Due to wind changes with the season, the second attempt reversed direction, with navigator Fred Noonan she flew to Miami, Florida and there announced their plans. Stopping in South America, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Guinea. Weather delayed them until 2 July 1937, they did not arrive at Howland Island.

Biography from Wikipedia and Ellen's Place

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