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Amelia Earhart

Artist:
Edith A. Scott, 1877 - 20 May 1978
Sitter:
Amelia Mary Earhart, 24 Jul 1897 - c. 2 Jul 1937
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
96.2cm x 70.8cm (37 7/8" x 27 7/8"), Accurate
Type:
Painting
Date:
1932
Topic:
Clothing & Apparel\Dress Accessory\Scarf
Amelia Mary Earhart: Science and Technology\Aviator
Portrait
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number:
NPG.75.33
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery

Amelia Earhart

Artist:
Alexandrina Robertson Harris, born Aberdeen, Scotland 1886-died New York City 1978
Sitter:
Amelia Earhart
Medium:
watercolor on ivory
Dimensions:
4 1/4 x 3 1/2 in. (10.8 x 8.9 cm) rectangle
Type:
Painting-Miniature
Date:
ca. 1935
Description:
Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) is known as much for her mysterious disappearance during an attempt to fly around the world as for her pioneering accomplishments. Born in Atchison, Kansas, Earhart bought her first plane in 1921. In 1929 she organized an all-women’s air race from Los Angeles to Cleveland, which Will Rogers dubbed the “Powder Puff Derby,” and with a group of women pilots was a founder and first president of the Ninety-Nines, the first professional women pilots’ organization. In 1932 she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, five years to the day after Lindbergh had been the first man to do so. Three years later she flew a solo transpacific flight from Hawaii to California, for which President Roosevelt remarked, "You have scored again . . . (and) shown even the ‘doubting Thomases’ that aviation is a science which cannot be limited to men only." In 1937 she and navigator Fred Noonan embarked on a planned flight around the world; but on July 2, Earhart’s plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean, and neither she nor her plane was ever found.
Topic:
Occupation\transportation\pilot
Portrait female\bust
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Alexandrina Bruce
Object number:
1967.8.1
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Amelia Earhart

Artist:
Artcraft Studio
Sitter:
Amelia Mary Earhart, 24 Jul 1897 - c. 2 Jul 1937
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
Image/Sheet: 24.2 × 19 cm (9 1/2 × 7 1/2")
Mount: 25.3 × 20.2 cm (9 15/16 × 7 15/16")
Type:
Photograph
Date:
c. 1935
Topic:
Exterior
Exterior
Clothing & Apparel\Dress Accessory\Glove\Gloves
Baggage & Luggage\Bag\Purse
Clothing & Apparel\Dress Accessory\Scarf
Vehicle\Airplane
Amelia Mary Earhart: Science and Technology\Aviator
Portrait
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Mrs. J.J. Haher
Object number:
S/NPG.79.73
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery

Amelia Earhart

Artist:
Peter A. Juley, 1862 - 1937
Other attribution:
Paul P. Juley
Studio:
Peter A. Juley & Son, active 1896 - 1975
Sitter:
Amelia Mary Earhart, 24 Jul 1897 - c. 2 Jul 1937
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
24.2cm x 19.4cm (9 1/2" x 7 5/8"), Image
Type:
Photograph
Date:
c. 1932
Topic:
Amelia Mary Earhart: Science and Technology\Aviator
Portrait
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Edith A. Scott
Object number:
NPG.75.82
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery

Amelia Earhart signed cover

Scott Catalogue USA C7
Recipient:
Amelia Earhart, American, 1898 - 1937
Medium:
paper; ink ( ); adhesive
Dimensions:
Height x Width: 4 x 8 in. (10.16 x 20.32 cm)
Type:
Covers & Associated Letters
Place:
United States of America
Date:
July 9, 1928
Description:
Boston Commemorative airmail cover signed by Amelia Earhart, Lou Gordon and W.L. Stultz. Addressed to Amelia Earhart, Boston, MA. US stamp affixed, Scott C7. From Album 1 of the collection.
Object number:
0.279483.1.6.1
See more items in:
National Postal Museum Collection
Data Source:
National Postal Museum

Additional Online Media:

Goggles, Flying, Amelia Earhart

Owner:
Amelia Earhart
Manufacturer:
Protector
Materials:
Steel, glass, and elastic
Dimensions:
3-D: 19.1 x 2.5 x 5.1cm (7 1/2 x 1 x 2 in.)
Type:
PERSONAL EQUIPMENT-Helmets & Headwear
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Date:
ca. 1920-1930s
Physical Description:
Metal frame with leather padding and adjustable elastic band.
Summary:
Amelia Earhart wore these flight goggles as she competed in the 1929 Women's National Air Derby, one of the first air races for women. She did not wear them for very long, however: the goggles were taken from her airplane during a stop at San Bernardino, California shortly after the race began in Santa Monica. They were later found with the lenses missing. Accompanying the goggles were a program from the Women's Air Derby and a note addressed to Earhart verifying her as the goggles' original owner. In 1957 the goggles, race program, and note were all donated to the Smithsonian.
Long Description:
Amelia Earhart is probably the most famous female pilot in aviation history, an accolade due both to her aviation career and to her mysterious disappearance. On May 20-21, 1932, Earhart became the first woman, and the second person after Charles Lindbergh, to fly nonstop and solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Flying a red Lockheed Vega 5B, she left Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, Canada, and landed about 15 hours later near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The feat made Earhart an instant worldwide sensation and proved she was a courageous and able pilot. Then, on August 24-25, she made the first solo, nonstop flight by a woman across the United States, from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, establishing a women's record of 19 hours and 5 minutes and setting a women's distance record of 2,447 miles.
Born in Atchison, Kansas, on July 24, 1897, Amelia Earhart displayed an independent style from childhood, including keeping a scrapbook on accomplished women, taking an auto repair course, and attending college (but never graduating). She attended her first flying exhibition in 1918 while serving as a Red Cross nurse's aide in Toronto, Canada. She took her first flight in California in December 1920, with veteran flyer Frank Hawks, and declared, "As soon as I left the ground, I knew I myself had to fly." Her first instructor was Anita "Neta" Snook who gave her lessons in a Curtiss Jenny. To pay for flight lessons, Earhart worked as a telephone company clerk and photographer. Earhart soloed in 1921, bought her first airplane, a Kinner Airster, in 1922 and wasted no time in setting a women's altitude record of 14,000 feet. In 1923, Earhart became the 16th woman to receive an official Fédération Aéronautique Internationale pilot license.
Earhart moved to east to be near her sister and mother, and, after a second year at Columbia University in New York City, began working in Boston at the Denison Settlement House as a social worker with immigrant families. In the spring of 1928, she was flying at Dennison Airport, and had joined the local National Aeronautic Association, when she was offered the opportunity of a lifetime: to become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic as a passenger.
Amy Phipps Guest owned the Fokker F.VII Friendship and wanted to make the flight but when her family objected, she asked aviator Richard Byrd and publisher/publicist George Putnam to find "the right sort of girl" for the trip. On June 17, 1928, Earhart and pilots Wilmer Stultz and Lou Gordon departed Trepassey, Newfoundland and, though promised time at the controls of the tri-motor, she was never given the opportunity to fly the aircraft during the 20-hour 40-minute flight to Burry Point, Wales. She did get in the pilot's seat for a time on the final hop to Southampton, England.
The dramatic 1928 flight brought her international attention and the opportunity to earn a living in aviation. Putnam became her manager and she began lecturing and writing on aviation around the country. In August of 1929, she placed third in the All-Women's Air Derby, behind Louise Thaden and Gladys O'Donnell, which was the first transcontinental air race for women (from Santa Monica, California to Cleveland, Ohio) and a race she helped organize. This race, closely followed by the press and by the public who flocked to the stops along the way, proved that women could fly in rugged and competitive conditions.
A few months after the Derby, a group of women pilots decided to form an organization for social, recruitment, and business purposes. Ninety-nine women, out of 285 licensed U.S. female pilots, became charter members, inspiring the organization's name, The Ninety-Nines (99s); Earhart became their first president. Female pilots were keenly aware of the lack of social and economic independence for all women and were determined to help one another.
In 1930, after only 15 minutes of instruction, Earhart became the first woman to fly an autogiro, made by Pitcairn and featuring rotating blades to increase lift and allow short takeoffs and landings. Earhart set the first autogiro altitude record and made two autogiro cross-country tours, which were marked by three public "crack-ups," as she called them. Though Earhart was the most famous woman pilot, she was not the most skilled.
Determined to prove herself, Earhart decided to fly the Atlantic Ocean again, but this time alone. She thought a transatlantic flight would bring her respect, something other women sought, too - Ruth Nichols made an attempt in 1931, crashing in Canada, but she was planning another attempt when Earhart succeeded. During her 2,026-mile nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic on May 20-21, 1932, Earhart fought fatigue, a leaky fuel tank, and a cracked manifold that spewed flames out the side of the engine cowling. Ice formed on the Vega's wings and caused an unstoppable 3,000-foot descent to just above the waves. Realizing she was on a course far north of France, she landed in a farmer's field in Culmore, near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Acclaimed in London, Paris, and Rome, she returned home to a ticker tape parade in New York City and honors in Washington, D.C. By July and August she was back in the Vega for her transcontinental flight.
On January 11-12, 1935, Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland, this time in a Lockheed 5C Vega. Although some called it a publicity stunt for Earhart and Hawaiian sugar plantation promoters, it was a dangerous 2,408-mile flight that had already claimed several lives. Of that flight she remarked: "I wanted the flight just to contribute. I could only hope one more passage across that part of the Pacific would mark a little more clearly the pathway over which an air service of the future will inevitably ply." Later that year, Earhart made record flights from Los Angeles to Mexico City and from Mexico City to Newark, New Jersey. She also placed fifth in the 1935 Bendix Race. Earhart was a two-time Harmon Trophy winner and was also the recipient of the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross.
Earhart became the first woman vice president of the National Aeronautic Association, which authorized official records and races. She persuaded the organization to establish separate female records because women did not have the money or planes - and thus the experience - to fairly compete against men for "world" titles. Earhart served as a partner in the Transcontinental Air Transport and Ludington Airlines and lobbied Congress for aviation legislation. She promoted the safety and efficiency of air travel to women, on the premise that they would influence men. She tirelessly lectured across the country on the subjects of aviation and women's issues and wrote for Cosmopolitan and various magazines. She wrote about her flights and career in 20 Hours and 40 Minutes, The Fun of It, and Last Flight, which was published after her disappearance.
Earhart married George Putnam in 1931 - hesitantly - on the condition that they would separate in a year if unhappy. Though some called it a marriage of convenience, they remained together.
Earhart designed a line of "functional" women's clothing, including dresses, blouses, pants, suits, and hats, initially using her own sewing machine, dress form, and seamstress. Though "tousle-haired" and rather thin, she photographed well and modeled her own designs for promotional spreads.
Earhart also designed a line of lightweight, canvas-covered plywood luggage sold by Orenstein Trunk of Newark, New Jersey. Earhart luggage was sold into the 1990s and featured an Amelia Earhart luggage key, prompting some people to believe they possessed her "personal" aircraft or suitcase key.
In 1935, Earhart became a visiting professor at Purdue University at the invitation of Purdue president Edward Elliott, an advocate of higher education for women, especially in engineering and science. Earhart, a former premedical student, served as a counselor for women and a lecturer in aeronautics. Elliott was also interested in supporting Earhart's flying career and convinced Purdue benefactors to purchase a twin-engine Lockheed 10-E Electra for her. Many companies contributed their latest aviation technology to her Flying Laboratory.
Earhart decided to make a world flight and she planned a route as close to the equator as possible, which meant flying several long overwater legs to islands in the Pacific Ocean. On March 20, 1937, Earhart crashed on takeoff at Luke Field, Honolulu, Hawaii, ending her westbound world flight that had begun at Oakland, California. The Electra was returned to Lockheed Aircraft Company in Burbank, California, for extensive repairs. On June 1, 1937, Earhart began an eastbound around-the-world flight from Oakland, via Miami, Florida, in the Electra with Fred Noonan as her navigator. They reached Lae, New Guinea on June 29, having flown 22,000 miles with 7,000 more to go to Oakland. They then departed Lae on July 2 for the 2,556-mile flight to their next refueling stop, Howland Island, a two-mile long and less-than-a-mile wide dot in the Pacific Ocean.
Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, Earhart and the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca, anchored off shore of Howland, could not complete any direct two-way radio communication and neither Earhart nor Noonan were competent at Morse Code. However, the Itasca did receive several strong voice transmissions from Earhart as she approached the area, the last at 8:43 am stating: "We are on the line of position 156-137. Will repeat message. We will repeat this message on 6210 kilocycles. Wait. Listening on 6210 kilocycles. We are running north and south." Earhart and Noonan never found Howland and they were declared lost at sea on July 19, 1937 following a massive sea and air search.
Earhart's disappearance spawned countless theories involving radio problems, poor communication, navigation or pilot skills, other landing sites, spy missions and imprisonment, and even living quietly in New Jersey or on a rubber plantation in the Philippines. The most reasonable explanation, based on the known facts of her flight, is that they were unable to locate Howland Island, ran out of fuel, and ditched into the Pacific Ocean.
Earhart's disappearance remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of the 20th century, and it often overshadows her true legacies as a courageous and dedicated aviator and as an enduring inspiration to women.
Credit Line:
Gift of Richard Evans
Inventory Number:
A19580054000
Rights:
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
See more items in:
National Air and Space Museum Collection
Location:
National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC
Exhibition:
Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum

Installing Amelia Earhart’s Flight Suit

Creator:
National Postal Museum
Type:
Youtube videos
Uploaded:
2014-11-21T21:07:42.000Z
Video Title:
Installing Amelia Earhart’s Flight Suit
Description:
Smithsonian's National Postal Museum staff install Amelia Earhart’s flight suit into the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery. Summer 2013. http://npm.si.edu/stampgallery/mailmarkshistory.html
Views:
143
Video Duration:
4 min 47 sec
Topic:
Postal service;Letter mail handling;Stamp collecting
Youtube Category:
Education
See more by:
SmithsonianNPM
YouTube Channel:
SmithsonianNPM
Data Source:
National Postal Museum

Coat, Flying, Amelia Earhart, Civilian

Owner:
Amelia Earhart
Materials:
Leather
Dimensions:
Back, Collar to Bottom: 91.4 cm (36 in)
Shoulder to Shoulder: 43.1 cm (17 in)
Type:
PERSONAL EQUIPMENT-Flight Clothing
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Date:
ca. 1920-1930
Physical Description:
Light brown leather with gray tweed wool lining.
Summary:
Amelia Earhart wore this long leather coat with tweed wool lining on many of her flights, though it is uncertain which ones. Standard attire for military and civilian pilots, leather coats and jackets offered warmth and protection from the elements. At the same time, this coat represents the elegant fashions of the 1920s and 30s and demonstrates how conscious Earhart was of her image as a woman aviator.
Long Description:
Amelia Earhart is probably the most famous female pilot in aviation history, an accolade due both to her aviation career and to her mysterious disappearance. On May 20-21, 1932, Earhart became the first woman, and the second person after Charles Lindbergh, to fly nonstop and solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Flying a red Lockheed Vega 5B, she left Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, Canada, and landed about 15 hours later near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The feat made Earhart an instant worldwide sensation and proved she was a courageous and able pilot. Then, on August 24-25, she made the first solo, nonstop flight by a woman across the United States, from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, establishing a women's record of 19 hours and 5 minutes and setting a women's distance record of 2,447 miles.
Born in Atchison, Kansas, on July 24, 1897, Amelia Earhart displayed an independent style from childhood, including keeping a scrapbook on accomplished women, taking an auto repair course, and attending college (but never graduating). She attended her first flying exhibition in 1918 while serving as a Red Cross nurse's aide in Toronto, Canada. She took her first flight in California in December 1920, with veteran flyer Frank Hawks, and declared, "As soon as I left the ground, I knew I myself had to fly." Her first instructor was Anita "Neta" Snook who gave her lessons in a Curtiss Jenny. To pay for flight lessons, Earhart worked as a telephone company clerk and photographer. Earhart soloed in 1921, bought her first airplane, a Kinner Airster, in 1922 and wasted no time in setting a women's altitude record of 14,000 feet. In 1923, Earhart became the 16th woman to receive an official Fédération Aéronautique Internationale pilot license.
Earhart moved to east to be near her sister and mother, and, after a second year at Columbia University in New York City, began working in Boston at the Denison Settlement House as a social worker with immigrant families. In the spring of 1928, she was flying at Dennison Airport, and had joined the local National Aeronautic Association, when she was offered the opportunity of a lifetime: to become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic as a passenger.
Amy Phipps Guest owned the Fokker F.VII Friendship and wanted to make the flight but when her family objected, she asked aviator Richard Byrd and publisher/publicist George Putnam to find "the right sort of girl" for the trip. On June 17, 1928, Earhart and pilots Wilmer Stultz and Lou Gordon departed Trepassey, Newfoundland and, though promised time at the controls of the tri-motor, she was never given the opportunity to fly the aircraft during the 20-hour 40-minute flight to Burry Point, Wales. She did get in the pilot's seat for a time on the final hop to Southampton, England.
The dramatic 1928 flight brought her international attention and the opportunity to earn a living in aviation. Putnam became her manager and she began lecturing and writing on aviation around the country. In August of 1929, she placed third in the All-Women's Air Derby, behind Louise Thaden and Gladys O'Donnell, which was the first transcontinental air race for women (from Santa Monica, California to Cleveland, Ohio) and a race she helped organized. This race, closely followed by the press and by the public who flocked to the stops along the way, proved that women could fly in rugged and competitive conditions.
A few months after the Derby, a group of women pilots decided to form an organization for social, recruitment, and business purposes. Ninety-nine women, out of 285 licensed U.S. female pilots, became charter members, inspiring the organization's name The Ninety-Nines (99s); Earhart became their first president. Female pilots were keenly aware of the lack of social and economic independence for all women and were determined to help one another.
In 1930, after only 15 minutes of instruction, Earhart became the first woman to fly an autogiro, made by Pitcairn and featuring rotating blades to increase lift and allow short takeoffs and landings. Earhart set the first autogiro altitude record and made two autogiro cross-country tours, which were marked by three public "crack-ups," as she called them. Though Earhart was the most famous woman pilot, she was not the most skilled.
Determined to prove herself, Earhart decided to fly the Atlantic Ocean again, but this time alone. She thought a transatlantic flight would bring her respect, something other women sought, too - Ruth Nichols made an attempt in 1931, crashing in Canada, but she was planning another attempt when Earhart succeeded. During her 2,026-mile nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic on May 20-21, 1932, Earhart fought fatigue, a leaky fuel tank, and a cracked manifold that spewed flames out the side of the engine cowling. Ice formed on the Vega's wings and caused an unstoppable 3,000-foot descent to just above the waves. Realizing she was on a course far north of France, she landed in a farmer's field in Culmore, near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Acclaimed in London, Paris, and Rome, she returned home to a ticker tape parade in New York City and honors in Washington, D.C. By July and August she was back in the Vega for her transcontinental flight.
On January 11-12, 1935, Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland, this time in a Lockheed 5C Vega. Although some called it a publicity stunt for Earhart and Hawaiian sugar plantation promoters, it was a dangerous 2,408-mile flight that had already claimed several lives. Of that flight she remarked: "I wanted the flight just to contribute. I could only hope one more passage across that part of the Pacific would mark a little more clearly the pathway over which an air service of the future will inevitably ply." Later that year, Earhart made record flights from Los Angeles to Mexico City and from Mexico City to Newark, New Jersey. She also placed fifth in the 1935 Bendix Race. Earhart was a two-time Harmon Trophy winner and was also the recipient of the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross.
Earhart became the first woman vice president of the National Aeronautic Association, which authorized official records and races. She persuaded the organization to establish separate female records because women did not have the money or planes - and thus the experience - to fairly compete against men for "world" titles. Earhart served as a partner in the Transcontinental Air Transport and Ludington Airlines and lobbied Congress for aviation legislation. She promoted the safety and efficiency of air travel to women, on the premise that they would influence men. She tirelessly lectured across the country on the subjects of aviation and women's issues and wrote for Cosmopolitan and various magazines. She wrote about her flights and career in 20 Hours and 40 Minutes, The Fun of It, and Last Flight, which was published after her disappearance.
Earhart wore this long leather coat on many of her flights, but we do not know for certain which ones. Standard attire for military and civilian pilots, leather coats and jackets offered warmth and protection from the elements. At the same time, the jacket, with four oversized buttons on the front and lined in tweed wool, represents the elegant fashions of the 1920s and 1930s and demonstrates how conscious Earhart was of her public image as a woman aviator.
In addition to her aviation accomplishments, Earhart is remembered as a style icon of the period who, along with Hollywood stars Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Deitrich, made slacks fashionable for women to wear by the mid-twentieth century. In 1934, she was named by the Fashion Designers of America as one of the ten best-dressed women in the United States. Earhart was described by one pilot from early in her career as "unusually dressed in jodphurs, or riding breeches and boots, yet looked thoroughly feminine, with a loose shirtwaist and tousled hair." She is often depicted in the written record and in photographs as impeccably dressed in simple, well-made clothing tailored for her frame that, at 5 feet 7 inches, was tall for a woman at that time. With her distinct taste, short hair, freckles, and gap-toothed smile that husband and manager Putnam later encouraged her to conceal in photographs, Earhart displayed a youthful exuberance that matched the energy of the golden age of flight.
Earhart married George Putnam in 1931 - hesitantly - on the condition that they would separate in a year if unhappy. Though some called it a marriage of convenience, they remained together.
Earhart designed a line of "functional" women's clothing, including dresses, blouses, pants, suits, and hats, initially using her own sewing machine, dress form, and seamstress. Though "tousle-haired" and rather thin, she photographed well and modeled her own designs for promotional spreads. Earhart also designed a line of lightweight, canvas-covered plywood luggage sold by Orenstein Trunk of Newark, New Jersey. Earhart luggage was sold into the 1990s and featured an Amelia Earhart luggage key, prompting some people to believe they possessed her "personal" aircraft or suitcase key.
In 1935, Earhart became a visiting professor at Purdue University at the invitation of Purdue president Edward Elliott, an advocate of higher education for women, especially in engineering and science. Earhart, a former premedical student, served as a counselor for women and a lecturer in aeronautics. Elliott was also interested in supporting Earhart's flying career and convinced Purdue benefactors to purchase a twin-engine Lockheed 10-E Electra for her. Many companies contributed their latest aviation technology to her Flying Laboratory.
Earhart decided to make a world flight and she planned a route as close to the equator as possible, which meant flying several long overwater legs to islands in the Pacific Ocean. On March 20, 1937, Earhart crashed on takeoff at Luke Field, Honolulu, Hawaii, ending her westbound world flight that had begun at Oakland, California. The Electra was returned to Lockheed Aircraft Company in Burbank, California, for extensive repairs. On June 1, 1937, Earhart began an eastbound around-the-world flight from Oakland, via Miami, Florida, in the Electra with Fred Noonan as her navigator. They reached Lae, New Guinea on June 29, having flown 22,000 miles with 7,000 more to go to Oakland. They then departed Lae on July 2 for the 2,556-mile flight to their next refueling stop, Howland Island, a two-mile long and less-than-a-mile wide dot in the Pacific Ocean.
Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, Earhart and the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca, anchored off shore of Howland, could not complete any direct two-way radio communication and neither Earhart nor Noonan were competent at Morse Code. However, the Itasca did receive several strong voice transmissions from Earhart as she approached the area, the last at 8:43 am stating: "We are on the line of position 156-137. Will repeat message. We will repeat this message on 6210 kilocycles. Wait. Listening on 6210 kilocycles. We are running north and south." Earhart and Noonan never found Howland and they were declared lost at sea on July 19, 1937 following a massive sea and air search.
Earhart's disappearance spawned countless theories involving radio problems, poor communication, navigation or pilot skills, other landing sites, spy missions and imprisonment, and even living quietly in New Jersey or on a rubber plantation in the Philippines. The most reasonable explanation, based on the known facts of her flight, is that they were unable to locate Howland Island, ran out of fuel, and ditched into the Pacific Ocean.
Earhart's disappearance remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of the 20th century, and it often overshadows her true legacies as a courageous and dedicated aviator and as an enduring inspiration to women.
Before her disappearance, Earhart had given two of her leather jackets to her private secretary, Josephine Berger Greer, and one leather jacket to Ms. Greer's niece, Dorothy Berger Tichenor. Ms. Tichenor's uncle, Lewis Miller, came into possession of the jackets and donated one of them to the NASM collection in 1961.
Credit Line:
Gift of Lewis B. Miller
Inventory Number:
A19610155000
Rights:
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
See more items in:
National Air and Space Museum Collection
Location:
National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC
Exhibition:
Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum

Amelia Earhart transatlantic flight cover

Associated Person:
Amelia Earhart, American, 1898 - 1937
Medium:
paper; ink ( ); adhesive
Dimensions:
9.5 x 15 cm (3 3/4 x 5 7/8 in.)
Type:
Covers & Associated Letters
Place:
Newfoundland (British colony)
Wales and Monmouthshire
Date:
1928
Description:
One of three covers carried by Amelia Earhart on her flight from Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland to Burry Port, Wales on June 21, 1928. Addressed to Lord Edward Morris of London. Four Newfoundland stamps affixed, Scott 130-134; one Great Britain stamp affixed, Scott 189. From Album 1 of the collection.
Object number:
0.279483.1.5.1
See more items in:
National Postal Museum Collection
Data Source:
National Postal Museum

Additional Online Media:

Amelia Earhart's flight suit

User:
Amelia Earhart, American, 1898 - 1937
Manufacturer:
Arnold, Constable & Company
Medium:
leather; fabric (wool); plastic; metal
Dimensions:
Height x Width x Depth: 59 x 30 1/2 x 6 in. (149.86 x 77.47 x 15.24 cm)
Type:
Employee Gear
Place:
United States of America
Date:
c. 1920
Description:
Pilot Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) earned revenue by carrying philatelic materials on her flights. Earhart owned and wore this leather wool-lined flight suit manufactured by Arnold, Constable & Company, of Paris and New York. Such suits were essential for long-distance flights. Early airplanes offered scant protection from the elements, especially the icy cold at altitudes of 20,000 feet.
Born in Atchison, Kansas, Earhart fell in love with aviation at an early age. She was an excellent student and soloed in 1918 after only ten hours of instruction. In the early 1920s, she worked in a telephone office and photography studio to earn money for flying. In 1928 she became the first woman to cross the Atlantic by plane, accompanying pilot Wilmer Stultz in a Fokker tri-motor from Newfoundland to Wales. In 1931 she married publisher George Palmer Putnam. The following year she assured her place in history by becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. On May 21, 1932, she flew from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, to a pasture near Londonderry, Ireland. The flight earned her worldwide acclaim and a number of awards, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the French Legion of Honor.
In 1935 Earhart became the first woman to fly solo between Hawaii and the continental United States. Unlike Charles Lindbergh, Earhart was never a licensed airmail pilot. She did, however, carry mail. Her husband helped her raise funds for her flights by arranging for her to carry and autograph special letters that were sold to philatelists. The National Postal Museum owns her private collection.
After having set a speed record for flying non-stop from Mexico City to New York City in fourteen hours and nineteen minutes, Amelia Earhart tried to become the first female pilot to fly around the world. She took-off from Miami, Florida, on June 1, 1937, in her Electra aircraft, accompanied by Fred Noonan, her navigator. On July 2, while flying between Lae, New Guinea, and Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean, her plane vanished. The Coast Guard cutter Itasca, stationed near Howland Island, picked up intermittent signals from Earhart before she was lost. In one message, she reported that she was circling, unable to locate the island. Ships and radio hams reported receiving mysterious signals over the next two days, but none could be satisfactorily understood or identified. The search for the downed plane was the greatest air rescue attempt made to that date, using ten ships and 102 American planes. The search was fruitless. Neither Earhart nor her navigator was heard from again. Earhart’s fate continues to be a source of much speculation.
Arnold, Constable & Co., of Paris and New York had at least one other connection with a woman aviator. In October 1927 Ruth Elder carried a letter from the company’s New York store on a proposed transatlantic flight. The letter, addressed to “the manufacturers and couturiers of Europe and of America,” touted the company’s hundredth anniversary. Elder’s airplane was forced down in the ocean, where she and pilot George Haldeman were rescued by an oil tanker. Earhart did not carry a message from the company across the Atlantic on her successful flights, but she did wear an Arnold, Constable & Company-manufactured flight suit on at least one of them.
Object number:
0.279483.3
See more items in:
National Postal Museum Collection
On View:
Currently on exhibit at the National Postal Museum
Data Source:
National Postal Museum

Additional Online Media:

Amelia Earhart

Artist:
Grace Wells Parkinson
Medium:
Bust, Amelia Earhart
Dimensions:
3-D: 24.1 x 24.1 x 35.6cm, 10.7kg (9 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 14 in., 23 5/8lb.)
Type:
ART-Sculpture
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Date:
1948
Physical Description:
Life size portrait, green patina
Summary:
The painter and sculptor Grace Wells Parkinson created this bronze bust of Amelia Earhart in 1948, eleven years after Earhart disappeared near Howland Island on her round-the-world flight. It reflects Earhart's legacies as a courageous and dedicated aviator and as an enduring inspiration to women.
Long Description:
Amelia Earhart is probably the most famous female pilot in aviation history, an accolade due both to her aviation career and to her mysterious disappearance. On May 20-21, 1932, Earhart became the first woman, and the second person after Charles Lindbergh, to fly nonstop and solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Flying a red Lockheed Vega 5B, she left Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, Canada, and landed about 15 hours later near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The feat made Earhart an instant worldwide sensation and proved she was a courageous and able pilot. Then, on August 24-25, she made the first solo, nonstop flight by a woman across the United States, from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, establishing a women's record of 19 hours and 5 minutes and setting a women's distance record of 2,447 miles.
Born in Atchison, Kansas, on July 24, 1897, Amelia Earhart displayed an independent style from childhood, including keeping a scrapbook on accomplished women, taking an auto repair course, and attending college (but never graduating). She attended her first flying exhibition in 1918 while serving as a Red Cross nurse's aide in Toronto, Canada. She took her first flight in California in December 1920, with veteran flyer Frank Hawks, and declared, "As soon as I left the ground, I knew I myself had to fly." Her first instructor was Anita "Neta" Snook who gave her lessons in a Curtiss Jenny. To pay for flight lessons, Earhart worked as a telephone company clerk and photographer. Earhart soloed in 1921, bought her first airplane, a Kinner Airster, in 1922 and wasted no time in setting a women's altitude record of 14,000 feet. In 1923, Earhart became the 16th woman to receive an official Fédération Aéronautique Internationale pilot license.
Earhart moved to east to be near her sister and mother, and, after a second year at Columbia University in New York City, began working in Boston at the Denison Settlement House as a social worker with immigrant families. In the spring of 1928, she was flying at Dennison Airport, and had joined the local National Aeronautic Association, when she was offered the opportunity of a lifetime: to become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic as a passenger.
Amy Phipps Guest owned the Fokker F.VII Friendship and wanted to make the flight but when her family objected, she asked aviator Richard Byrd and publisher/publicist George Putnam to find "the right sort of girl" for the trip. On June 17, 1928, Earhart and pilots Wilmer Stultz and Lou Gordon departed Trepassey, Newfoundland and, though promised time at the controls of the tri-motor, she was never given the opportunity to fly the aircraft during the 20-hour 40-minute flight to Burry Point, Wales. She did get in the pilot's seat for a time on the final hop to Southampton, England.
The dramatic 1928 flight brought her international attention and the opportunity to earn a living in aviation. Putnam became her manager and she began lecturing and writing on aviation around the country. In August of 1929, she placed third in the All-Women's Air Derby, behind Louise Thaden and Gladys O'Donnell, which was the first transcontinental air race for women (from Santa Monica, California to Cleveland, Ohio) and a race she helped organize. This race, closely followed by the press and by the public who flocked to the stops along the way, proved that women could fly in rugged and competitive conditions.
A few months after the Derby, a group of women pilots decided to form an organization for social, recruitment, and business purposes. Ninety-nine women, out of 285 licensed U.S. female pilots, became charter members, inspiring the organization's name, The Ninety-Nines (99s); Earhart became their first president. Female pilots were keenly aware of the lack of social and economic independence for all women and were determined to help one another.
In 1930, after only 15 minutes of instruction, Earhart became the first woman to fly an autogiro, made by Pitcairn and featuring rotating blades to increase lift and allow short takeoffs and landings. Earhart set the first autogiro altitude record and made two autogiro cross-country tours, which were marked by three public "crack-ups," as she called them. Though Earhart was the most famous woman pilot, she was not the most skilled.
Determined to prove herself, Earhart decided to fly the Atlantic Ocean again, but this time alone. She thought a transatlantic flight would bring her respect, something other women sought, too - Ruth Nichols made an attempt in 1931, crashing in Canada, but she was planning another attempt when Earhart succeeded. During her 2,026-mile nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic on May 20-21, 1932, Earhart fought fatigue, a leaky fuel tank, and a cracked manifold that spewed flames out the side of the engine cowling. Ice formed on the Vega's wings and caused an unstoppable 3,000-foot descent to just above the waves. Realizing she was on a course far north of France, she landed in a farmer's field in Culmore, near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Acclaimed in London, Paris, and Rome, she returned home to a ticker tape parade in New York City and honors in Washington, D.C. By July and August she was back in the Vega for her transcontinental flight.
On January 11-12, 1935, Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland, this time in a Lockheed 5C Vega. Although some called it a publicity stunt for Earhart and Hawaiian sugar plantation promoters, it was a dangerous 2,408-mile flight that had already claimed several lives. Of that flight she remarked: "I wanted the flight just to contribute. I could only hope one more passage across that part of the Pacific would mark a little more clearly the pathway over which an air service of the future will inevitably ply." Later that year, Earhart made record flights from Los Angeles to Mexico City and from Mexico City to Newark, New Jersey. She also placed fifth in the 1935 Bendix Race. Earhart was a two-time Harmon Trophy winner and was also the recipient of the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross.
Earhart became the first woman vice president of the National Aeronautic Association, which authorized official records and races. She persuaded the organization to establish separate female records because women did not have the money or planes - and thus the experience - to fairly compete against men for "world" titles. Earhart served as a partner in the Transcontinental Air Transport and Ludington Airlines and lobbied Congress for aviation legislation. She promoted the safety and efficiency of air travel to women, on the premise that they would influence men. She tirelessly lectured across the country on the subjects of aviation and women's issues and wrote for Cosmopolitan and various magazines. She wrote about her flights and career in 20 Hours and 40 Minutes, The Fun of It, and Last Flight, which was published after her disappearance.
Earhart married George Putnam in 1931 - hesitantly - on the condition that they would separate in a year if unhappy. Though some called it a marriage of convenience, they remained together.
Earhart designed a line of "functional" women's clothing, including dresses, blouses, pants, suits, and hats, initially using her own sewing machine, dress form, and seamstress. Though "tousle-haired" and rather thin, she photographed well and modeled her own designs for promotional spreads.
Earhart also designed a line of lightweight, canvas-covered plywood luggage sold by Orenstein Trunk of Newark, New Jersey. Earhart luggage was sold into the 1990s and featured an Amelia Earhart luggage key, prompting some people to believe they possessed her "personal" aircraft or suitcase key.
In 1935, Earhart became a visiting professor at Purdue University at the invitation of Purdue president Edward Elliott, an advocate of higher education for women, especially in engineering and science. Earhart, a former premedical student, served as a counselor for women and a lecturer in aeronautics. Elliott was also interested in supporting Earhart's flying career and convinced Purdue benefactors to purchase a twin-engine Lockheed 10-E Electra for her. Many companies contributed their latest aviation technology to her Flying Laboratory.
Earhart decided to make a world flight and she planned a route as close to the equator as possible, which meant flying several long overwater legs to islands in the Pacific Ocean. On March 20, 1937, Earhart crashed on takeoff at Luke Field, Honolulu, Hawaii, ending her westbound world flight that had begun at Oakland, California. The Electra was returned to Lockheed Aircraft Company in Burbank, California, for extensive repairs. On June 1, 1937, Earhart began an eastbound around-the-world flight from Oakland, via Miami, Florida, in the Electra with Fred Noonan as her navigator. They reached Lae, New Guinea on June 29, having flown 22,000 miles with 7,000 more to go to Oakland. They then departed Lae on July 2 for the 2,556-mile flight to their next refueling stop, Howland Island, a two-mile long and less-than-a-mile wide dot in the Pacific Ocean.
Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, Earhart and the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca, anchored off shore of Howland, could not complete any direct two-way radio communication and neither Earhart nor Noonan were competent at Morse Code. However, the Itasca did receive several strong voice transmissions from Earhart as she approached the area, the last at 8:43 am stating: "We are on the line of position 156-137. Will repeat message. We will repeat this message on 6210 kilocycles. Wait. Listening on 6210 kilocycles. We are running north and south." Earhart and Noonan never found Howland and they were declared lost at sea on July 19, 1937 following a massive sea and air search.
Earhart's disappearance spawned countless theories involving radio problems, poor communication, navigation or pilot skills, other landing sites, spy missions and imprisonment, and even living quietly in New Jersey or on a rubber plantation in the Philippines. The most reasonable explanation, based on the known facts of her flight, is that they were unable to locate Howland Island, ran out of fuel, and ditched into the Pacific Ocean.
Earhart's disappearance remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of the 20th century, and it often overshadows her true legacies as a courageous and dedicated aviator and as an enduring inspiration to women.
Credit Line:
Gift of Amelia Earhart Post 678, American Legion Auxiliary
Inventory Number:
A19500108000
Rights:
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
See more items in:
National Air and Space Museum Collection
Location:
National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC
Exhibition:
Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum

20c Eagle Man single with Earhart overprint

Scott Catalogue Mexico C74
Associated Person:
Amelia Earhart, American, 1898 - 1937
Medium:
paper; ink (lake)
Type:
Postage Stamps
Place:
MEXICO (republic)
Date:
April 16, 1935
Description:
Mexico honored American avitrix Amelia Earhart by overprinting one of its airmail stamps in violet with "Amelia Earhart Vuelo de Buena Voluntad Mexico 1935" (Amelia Earhart Flight of Good Will Mexico 1935) to commemorate her 1935 Mexico City visit.
Earhart's husband, George Putnam, reported in the June 1935 issue of Scott's Monthly Journal that he "personally was present and saw the 780 stamps printed. The cuts used were never out of my sight. After the printing, these cuts were destroyed in my presence, all as attested by affidavits of witnessing officials. In short, I tried to do everything possible to insure the absolute integrity of the issue."
Four hundred eighty of the 780 stamps were sent with the additional overprint "Muestra" (Specimen) to the Universal Postal Union for distribution to postal administrations worldwide. This action defined the Earhart overprint as a legitimate stamp despite the outcries of some philatelists who claimed that it was not created for postal purposes. About one hundred of the remaining three hundred stamps were used on the mail carried by Earhart to New York City (some in blocks of four). Ten unused stamps were distributed to diplomats, and the remaining examples were sold to local collectors and the public. This stamp remains a rare and desirable item both unused and on flown mail.
Object number:
0.279483.1.17.1
See more items in:
National Postal Museum Collection
Data Source:
National Postal Museum

Additional Online Media:

Mexico-New York flight cover signed by Amelia Earhart

Scott Catalogue USA 696Scott Catalogue Mexico C74Scott Catalogue USA 720Scott Catalogue Mexico CO14
Signer:
Amelia Earhart, American, 1898 - 1937
Medium:
paper; ink ( ); adhesive
Dimensions:
Height x Width: 3 9/16 x 6 1/2 in. (9.05 x 16.51 cm)
Type:
Covers & Associated Letters
Place of Origin:
MEXICO (republic)
Place of Destination:
New York
Date:
May 8-9, 1935
Description:
Amelia Earhart is best known as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, which she did in 1932. She set many more records, including three years later being the first person to fly solo nonstop from Mexico City to Newark, New Jersey (destination New York City) on May 8-9. Mexico issued a special overprinted stamp for this goodwill flight. She carried approximately thirty-five covers with the special overprinted stamps.
Earhart autographed this registered envelope, addressed to her husband, George Palmer Putnam, a publisher in New York City. The Mexican stamps were cancelled before departure and the US stamps on arrival.
This flown piece of mail is part of Earhart's personal collection, donated to the Smithsonian in 1968 by Elsie M. Williamson. Williamson had acquired the collection directly from Earhart's husband with the assistance of stamp dealer Jacques Minkus of Gimbel Galleries.
Object number:
0.279483.1.18.1
See more items in:
National Postal Museum Collection
Data Source:
National Postal Museum

Additional Online Media:

Earhart, Amelia Mary, 1930s. [photograph]

Photographer:
Unknown
Type:
Two-dimensional graphics
Date:
Circa March 17, 1937
Summary:
Informal view of Amelia Mary Earhart, wearing leis, in Hawaii during her first unsuccessful attempt at a round-the-world flight, circa March 17, 1937.
Topic:
Aeronautics
Women air pilots
Local number:
NASM-9A12150
Restrictions:
Images are subject to Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum, Copyright and Image Use Restrictions. Usage requires prior written permission. Should you wish to use NASM still images in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Photographs, available at NASM's Permissions webpage: www.nasm.si.edu/research/arch/permissions.cfm
See more items in:
Pan American Airways (Pan Am) and Amelia Mary Earhart Photographs [Anderson]
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum Archives

Eugenia earhartii Acev.-Rodr.

Min. Elevation:
55
Max. Elevation:
55
Microhabitat Description:
Scrubby vegetation, wind exposed, rocky soil.
Biogeographical Region:
81 - Caribbean
Collector:
Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez
A. Reilly
J. Earhart
Type Status:
Holotype
Type Citation:
Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. 1993. Brittonia. 45: 133.
Place:
Reef Bay quarter, White Cliff area., U.S. Virgin Islands, West Indies
Collection Date:
26 Aug 1987
Specimen Count:
1
Record Last Modified:
30 Jul 2015
Common name:
Earhart's stopper
Taxonomy:
Plantae Dicotyledonae Myrtales Myrtaceae
Published Name:
Eugenia earhartii Acev.-Rodr.
Barcode:
00406265
USNM Number:
3187423
See more items in:
Flowering plants and ferns
Type Register
West Indies Project
Botany
Data Source:
NMNH - Botany Dept.

Earhart, Amelia Mary; Lockheed Model 10-E Electra, Earhart Aircraft (NR16020). [photograph]

Photographer:
Unknown
Subject:
Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937
Type:
Photographs
Date:
Circa 1937
Summary:
Amelia Earhart in informal pose, seated on horizontal stabilizer of her Lockheed Model 10-E Electra (r/n NR16020).
Topic:
Aeronautics
Air Pilots, Airplanes
Women air pilots
Local number:
NASM-00158002
Restrictions:
Images are subject to Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum, Copyright and Image Use Restrictions. Usage requires prior written permission. Should you wish to use NASM still images in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Photographs, available at NASM's Permissions webpage: www.nasm.si.edu/research/arch/permissions.cfm
See more items in:
National Air and Space Museum Cataloged Imagery Collection
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum Archives

Lockheed Vega 5B, Amelia Earhart

Pilot:
Amelia Earhart
Manufacturer:
Lockheed Aircraft Company
Materials:
Fuselage: wooden monocoque
Wings: wooden cantilever
Dimensions:
Wingspan: 12.49 m (41ft.)
Length: 8.38 m (27ft. 6in.)
Height: 2.49 m (8ft. 2in.)
Weight: Empty 748kg. (1,650lbs.)
Gross: 1,315-1,450kg. (2,900-3,200lbs.)
Type:
CRAFT-Aircraft
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Date:
1927-1929
Physical Description:
NR7952. High-speed cabin monoplane with cantilever wings and streamlined design. On May 20-21, 1932, Amelia Earhart flew this Vega across the Atlantic Ocean becoming the first woman to fly, and only the second person to solo, the Atlantic. Vegas were highly prized as racing and record-setting aircraft, and as seven-place airliners.
Summary:
Amelia Earhart set two of her many aviation records in this bright red Lockheed 5B Vega. In 1932 she flew it alone across the Atlantic Ocean, then flew it nonstop across the United States-both firsts for a woman.
Introduced in 1927, the Vega was the first product of designer Jack Northrop and Allan Loughead's Lockheed Aircraft Company. Sturdy, roomy, streamlined and fast, the innovative Vega became favored by pilots seeking to set speed and distance records. It sported a cantilever (internally braced) one-piece spruce wing and a spruce veneer monocoque fuselage (a molded shell without internal bracing), which increased overall strength and reduced weight. A NACA engine cowling and wheel pants reduced drag and provided streamline style.
Amelia Earhart bought this 5B Vega in 1930 and called it her "Little Red Bus." After a nose-over accident later that year, the fuselage was replaced and strengthened to carry extra fuel tanks. Three types of compasses, a drift indicator, and a more powerful engine were also installed.
On May 20-21, 1932, flying in this airplane, Earhart became the first woman (and the only person since Charles Lindbergh) to fly nonstop and alone across the Atlantic Ocean. She took off from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, Canada and landed 15 hours and 2,026 miles later in a field near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The feat made Earhart an instant worldwide sensation and proved she was a courageous and able pilot.
Later that year, Earhart flew the Vega to another record. On August 24-25, she made the first solo, nonstop flight by a woman across the United States, from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey. The flight covered a distance of 2,447 miles and lasted about 19 hours.
Earhart sold her 5B Vega to Philadelphia's Franklin Institute in 1933 after purchasing a new Lockheed 5C Vega. The Smithsonian acquired it in 1966.
Long Description:
Amelia Earhart is probably the most famous female pilot in aviation history, an accolade due both to her aviation career and to her mysterious disappearance. On May 20-21, 1932, Earhart became the first woman, and the second person after Charles Lindbergh, to fly nonstop and solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Flying a red Lockheed Vega 5B, she left Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, Canada, and landed about 15 hours later near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The feat made Earhart an instant worldwide sensation and proved she was a courageous and able pilot. Then, on August 24-25, she made the first solo, nonstop flight by a woman across the United States, from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, establishing a women's record of 19 hours and 5 minutes and setting a women's distance record of 2,447 miles.
Introduced in 1927, the Locheed Vega was the first product of Allan Loughead’s Lockheed Aircraft Company and its designer Jack Northrop. It sported a cantilever (internally braced) one-piece spruce wing and a spruce veneer monocoque fuselage (a molded shell without internal bracing), which increased overall strength and reduced weight. A NACA engine cowling and wheel pants reduced drag and provided streamline style.
In 1918, Jack Northrop devised a new way to construct a monocoque fuselage for the Lockheed S-1 racer. The technique called for two molded plywood half-shells that were glued together around wooden hoops or stringers. But to construct the half shells, rather than gluing many strips of plywood over a form, three sets of spruce strips were soaked with glue and laid in a semi-circular concrete mold that looked like a bathtub. This process reduced the time needed from several days down to about 20 minutes. Then, under a tightly clamped lid, a rubber balloon was inflated in the cavity to press the plywood against the mold. Twenty-four hours later, the smooth half-shell was ready to be joined to another to create the fuselage. The two halves were each less than a quarter inch thick.
Altogether, the Vega's clean, innovative design made it the aircraft of choice for record-setters and racers of the era including Earhart, Wiley Post who became the first pilot to solo around the world, Jimmie Mattern and Jacqueline Cochran. 131 Vegas were built.
Amelia Earhart bought this Vega, NR-7952, in 1930; she ultimately owned four Vegas and leased two. After a nose-over accident later that year, the fuselage was replaced and strengthened to carry extra fuel tanks. Three types of compasses, a drift indicator, and a more powerful engine were also installed. In 1932 Earhart flew the Vega nonstop and alone across the Atlantic and across the United States. She sold it to Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute in 1933. The Smithsonian acquired it in 1966.
Born in Atchison, Kansas, on July 24, 1897, Amelia Earhart displayed an independent style from childhood, including keeping a scrapbook on accomplished women, taking an auto repair course, and attending college (but never graduating). She attended her first flying exhibition in 1918 while serving as a Red Cross nurse's aide in Toronto, Canada. She took her first flight in California in December 1920, with veteran flyer Frank Hawks, and declared, "As soon as I left the ground, I knew I myself had to fly." Her first instructor was Anita "Neta" Snook who gave her lessons in a Curtiss Jenny. To pay for flight lessons, Earhart worked as a telephone company clerk and photographer. Earhart soloed in 1921, bought her first airplane, a Kinner Airster, in 1922 and wasted no time in setting a women's altitude record of 14,000 feet. In 1923, Earhart became the 16th woman to receive an official Fédération Aéronautique Internationale pilot license.
Earhart moved to east to be near her sister and mother, and, after a second year at Columbia University in New York City, began working in Boston at the Denison Settlement House as a social worker with immigrant families. In the spring of 1928, she was flying at Dennison Airport, and had joined the local National Aeronautic Association, when she was offered the opportunity of a lifetime: to become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic as a passenger.
Amy Phipps Guest owned the Fokker F.VII Friendship and wanted to make the flight but when her family objected, she asked aviator Richard Byrd and publisher/publicist George Putnam to find "the right sort of girl" for the trip. On June 17, 1928, Earhart and pilots Wilmer Stultz and Lou Gordon departed Trepassey, Newfoundland and, though promised time at the controls of the tri-motor, she was never given the opportunity to fly the aircraft during the 20-hour 40-minute flight to Burry Point, Wales. She did get in the pilot's seat for a time on the final hop to Southampton, England.
The dramatic 1928 flight brought her international attention and the opportunity to earn a living in aviation. Putnam became her manager and she began lecturing and writing on aviation around the country. In August of 1929, she placed third in the All-Women's Air Derby, behind Louise Thaden and Gladys O'Donnell, which was the first transcontinental air race for women (from Santa Monica, California to Cleveland, Ohio) and a race she helped organize. This race, closely followed by the press and by the public who flocked to the stops along the way, proved that women could fly in rugged and competitive conditions.
A few months after the Derby, a group of women pilots decided to form an organization for social, recruitment, and business purposes. Ninety-nine women, out of 285 licensed U.S. female pilots, became charter members, inspiring the organization's name, The Ninety-Nines (99s); Earhart became their first president. Female pilots were keenly aware of the lack of social and economic independence for all women and were determined to help one another.
In 1930, after only 15 minutes of instruction, Earhart became the first woman to fly an autogiro, made by Pitcairn and featuring rotating blades to increase lift and allow short takeoffs and landings. Earhart set the first autogiro altitude record and made two autogiro cross-country tours, which were marked by three public "crack-ups," as she called them. Though Earhart was the most famous woman pilot, she was not the most skilled.
Determined to prove herself, Earhart decided to fly the Atlantic Ocean again, but this time alone. She thought a transatlantic flight would bring her respect, something other women sought, too - Ruth Nichols made an attempt in 1931, crashing in Canada, but she was planning another attempt when Earhart succeeded.
During her 2,026-mile nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic on May 20-21, 1932, Earhart fought fatigue, a leaky fuel tank, and a cracked manifold that spewed flames out the side of the engine cowling. Ice formed on the Vega's wings and caused an unstoppable 3,000-foot descent to just above the waves. Realizing she was on a course far north of France, she landed in a farmer's field in Culmore, near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Acclaimed in London, Paris, and Rome, she returned home to a ticker tape parade in New York City and honors in Washington, D.C. By July and August she was back in the Vega for her transcontinental flight.
On January 11-12, 1935, Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland, this time in a Lockheed 5C Vega. Although some called it a publicity stunt for Earhart and Hawaiian sugar plantation promoters, it was a dangerous 2,408-mile flight that had already claimed several lives. Of that flight she remarked: "I wanted the flight just to contribute. I could only hope one more passage across that part of the Pacific would mark a little more clearly the pathway over which an air service of the future will inevitably ply." Later that year, Earhart made record flights from Los Angeles to Mexico City and from Mexico City to Newark, New Jersey. She also placed fifth in the 1935 Bendix Race. Earhart was a two-time Harmon Trophy winner and was also the recipient of the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross.
Earhart became the first woman vice president of the National Aeronautic Association, which authorized official records and races. She persuaded the organization to establish separate female records because women did not have the money or planes - and thus the experience - to fairly compete against men for "world" titles. Earhart served as a partner in the Transcontinental Air Transport and Ludington Airlines and lobbied Congress for aviation legislation. She promoted the safety and efficiency of air travel to women, on the premise that they would influence men. She tirelessly lectured across the country on the subjects of aviation and women's issues and wrote for Cosmopolitan and various magazines. She wrote about her flights and career in 20 Hours and 40 Minutes, The Fun of It, and Last Flight, which was published after her disappearance.
Earhart married George Putnam in 1931 - hesitantly - on the condition that they would separate in a year if unhappy. Though some called it a marriage of convenience, they remained together.
Earhart designed a line of "functional" women's clothing, including dresses, blouses, pants, suits, and hats, initially using her own sewing machine, dress form, and seamstress. Though "tousle-haired" and rather thin, she photographed well and modeled her own designs for promotional spreads.
Earhart also designed a line of lightweight, canvas-covered plywood luggage sold by Orenstein Trunk of Newark, New Jersey. Earhart luggage was sold into the 1990s and featured an Amelia Earhart luggage key, prompting some people to believe they possessed her "personal" aircraft or suitcase key.
In 1935, Earhart became a visiting professor at Purdue University at the invitation of Purdue president Edward Elliott, an advocate of higher education for women, especially in engineering and science. Earhart, a former premedical student, served as a counselor for women and a lecturer in aeronautics. Elliott was also interested in supporting Earhart's flying career and convinced Purdue benefactors to purchase a twin-engine Lockheed 10-E Electra for her. Many companies contributed their latest aviation technology to her Flying Laboratory.
Earhart decided to make a world flight and she planned a route as close to the equator as possible, which meant flying several long overwater legs to islands in the Pacific Ocean. On March 20, 1937, Earhart crashed on takeoff at Luke Field, Honolulu, Hawaii, ending her westbound world flight that had begun at Oakland, California. The Electra was returned to Lockheed Aircraft Company in Burbank, California, for extensive repairs. On June 1, 1937, Earhart began an eastbound around-the-world flight from Oakland, via Miami, Florida, in the Electra with Fred Noonan as her navigator. They reached Lae, New Guinea on June 29, having flown 22,000 miles with 7,000 more to go to Oakland. They then departed Lae on July 2 for the 2,556-mile flight to their next refueling stop, Howland Island, a two-mile long and less-than-a-mile wide dot in the Pacific Ocean.
Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, Earhart and the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca, anchored off shore of Howland, could not complete any direct two-way radio communication and neither Earhart nor Noonan were competent at Morse Code. However, the Itasca did receive several strong voice transmissions from Earhart as she approached the area, the last at 8:43 am stating: "We are on the line of position 156-137. Will repeat message. We will repeat this message on 6210 kilocycles. Wait. Listening on 6210 kilocycles. We are running north and south." Earhart and Noonan never found Howland and they were declared lost at sea on July 19, 1937 following a massive sea and air search.
Earhart's disappearance spawned countless theories involving radio problems, poor communication, navigation or pilot skills, other landing sites, spy missions and imprisonment, and even living quietly in New Jersey or on a rubber plantation in the Philippines. The most reasonable explanation, based on the known facts of her flight, is that they were unable to locate Howland Island, ran out of fuel, and ditched into the Pacific Ocean.
Earhart's disappearance remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of the 20th century, and it often overshadows her true legacies as a courageous and dedicated aviator and as an enduring inspiration to women.
Amelia Earhart's Records
1922-Feminine altitude record of 14,000 feet.
1928-First woman to fly across the Atlantic as a passenger in the Fokker F.VII Friendship.
1929-Feminine speed record.
1930-Feminine speed record.
1931-First woman to fly an autogiro.
1931-Autogiro altitude record of 18,415 feet.
1932-First woman (and only the second person) to fly solo and nonstop across the Atlantic. Also first person to cross the Atlantic twice by air.
1932-First woman to fly solo and nonstop across the United States.
1933-Reset her transcontinental record.
1935-First person to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii, to the U.S. mainland (Oakland, California).
1935-Speed record between Mexico City and Washington, D.C.
1935-First person to fly solo from Mexico City to Newark, New Jersey.
Credit Line:
Gift of the Franklin Institute
Inventory Number:
A19670093000
Rights:
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
See more items in:
National Air and Space Museum Collection
Location:
National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC
Exhibition:
Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum

Additional Online Media:

Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega

Creator:
Smithsonian Education
Type:
Youtube videos
Uploaded:
2008-02-04T18:59:51.000Z
Video Title:
Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega
Description:
Curator Dorothy Cochrane and aircraft restorer Karl Heinzel discuss the social and technological changes brought about by Amelia Earhart's career as they give a tour of Earhart's Lockeed Vega at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. For more information, visit: http://www.smithsoniansource.org/display/topic/viewdetailshis.aspx?TopicId=1001 http://www.SmithsonianEducation.org
Views:
42,994
Video Duration:
5 min 18 sec
Topic:
Education
Youtube Category:
Science & Technology
See more by:
SmithsonianEducation
YouTube Channel:
SmithsonianEducation
Data Source:
Smithsonian Education

Medal, Amelia Earhart

Manufacturer:
Medallic Art Company
Materials:
Overall: Gold
Dimensions:
3-D: 1.3 x 3cm (1/2 x 1 3/16 in.)
Type:
AWARDS-Medals & Ribbons
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Date:
ca. 1920-1930s
Physical Description:
Amelia Earhart commemorative gold medal. Obverse: relief bust of Earhart depicted; embossed text "AMELIA EARHART". Reverse: embossed text.
Summary:
This medal is typical of the memorabilia struck in Amelia Earhart's honor after her disappearance. The inscription on the back of the medal reads:
"Aviatrix
Amelia Earhart
Born July 24, 1898
Atchison, Kansas
First woman to fly the Atlantic, 1928:
The Pacific, 1935:
And to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Lost on Pacific Flight July, 1937"
It would have taken a much larger medal to list all of Earhart's aviation accomplishments. In addition to the records listed, she was also the first woman (and only the second person) to fly solo and nonstop across the Atlantic; the first person to fly across the Atlantic twice; the first woman to fly solo and nonstop across the United States; and the first person to fly solo and nonstop from Mexico City to Newark, New Jersey. She also set several feminine speed and altitude records and received many awards and honors.
Long Description:
Amelia Earhart is probably the most famous female pilot in aviation history, an accolade due both to her aviation career and to her mysterious disappearance. On May 20-21, 1932, Earhart became the first woman, and the second person after Charles Lindbergh, to fly nonstop and solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Flying a red Lockheed Vega 5B, she left Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, Canada, and landed about 15 hours later near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The feat made Earhart an instant worldwide sensation and proved she was a courageous and able pilot. Then, on August 24-25, she made the first solo, nonstop flight by a woman across the United States, from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, establishing a women's record of 19 hours and 5 minutes and setting a women's distance record of 2,447 miles.
Born in Atchison, Kansas, on July 24, 1897, Amelia Earhart displayed an independent style from childhood, including keeping a scrapbook on accomplished women, taking an auto repair course, and attending college (but never graduating). She attended her first flying exhibition in 1918 while serving as a Red Cross nurse's aide in Toronto, Canada. She took her first flight in California in December 1920, with veteran flyer Frank Hawks, and declared, "As soon as I left the ground, I knew I myself had to fly." Her first instructor was Anita "Neta" Snook who gave her lessons in a Curtiss Jenny. To pay for flight lessons, Earhart worked as a telephone company clerk and photographer. Earhart soloed in 1921, bought her first airplane, a Kinner Airster, in 1922 and wasted no time in setting a women's altitude record of 14,000 feet. In 1923, Earhart became the 16th woman to receive an official Fédération Aéronautique Internationale pilot license.
Earhart moved to east to be near her sister and mother, and, after a second year at Columbia University in New York City, began working in Boston at the Denison Settlement House as a social worker with immigrant families. In the spring of 1928, she was flying at Dennison Airport, and had joined the local National Aeronautic Association, when she was offered the opportunity of a lifetime: to become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic as a passenger.
Amy Phipps Guest owned the Fokker F.VII Friendship and wanted to make the flight but when her family objected, she asked aviator Richard Byrd and publisher/publicist George Putnam to find "the right sort of girl" for the trip. On June 17, 1928, Earhart and pilots Wilmer Stultz and Lou Gordon departed Trepassey, Newfoundland and, though promised time at the controls of the tri-motor, she was never given the opportunity to fly the aircraft during the 20-hour 40-minute flight to Burry Point, Wales. She did get in the pilot's seat for a time on the final hop to Southampton, England.
The dramatic 1928 flight brought her international attention and the opportunity to earn a living in aviation. Putnam became her manager and she began lecturing and writing on aviation around the country. In August of 1929, she placed third in the All-Women's Air Derby, behind Louise Thaden and Gladys O'Donnell, which was the first transcontinental air race for women (from Santa Monica, California to Cleveland, Ohio) and a race she helped organize. This race, closely followed by the press and by the public who flocked to the stops along the way, proved that women could fly in rugged and competitive conditions.
A few months after the Derby, a group of women pilots decided to form an organization for social, recruitment, and business purposes. Ninety-nine women, out of 285 licensed U.S. female pilots, became charter members, inspiring the organization's name, The Ninety-Nines (99s); Earhart became their first president. Female pilots were keenly aware of the lack of social and economic independence for all women and were determined to help one another.
In 1930, after only 15 minutes of instruction, Earhart became the first woman to fly an autogiro, made by Pitcairn and featuring rotating blades to increase lift and allow short takeoffs and landings. Earhart set the first autogiro altitude record and made two autogiro cross-country tours, which were marked by three public "crack-ups," as she called them. Though Earhart was the most famous woman pilot, she was not the most skilled.
Determined to prove herself, Earhart decided to fly the Atlantic Ocean again, but this time alone. She thought a transatlantic flight would bring her respect, something other women sought, too - Ruth Nichols made an attempt in 1931, crashing in Canada, but she was planning another attempt when Earhart succeeded. During her 2,026-mile nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic on May 20-21, 1932, Earhart fought fatigue, a leaky fuel tank, and a cracked manifold that spewed flames out the side of the engine cowling. Ice formed on the Vega's wings and caused an unstoppable 3,000-foot descent to just above the waves. Realizing she was on a course far north of France, she landed in a farmer's field in Culmore, near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Acclaimed in London, Paris, and Rome, she returned home to a ticker tape parade in New York City and honors in Washington, D.C. By July and August she was back in the Vega for her transcontinental flight.
On January 11-12, 1935, Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland, this time in a Lockheed 5C Vega. Although some called it a publicity stunt for Earhart and Hawaiian sugar plantation promoters, it was a dangerous 2,408-mile flight that had already claimed several lives. Of that flight she remarked: "I wanted the flight just to contribute. I could only hope one more passage across that part of the Pacific would mark a little more clearly the pathway over which an air service of the future will inevitably ply." Later that year, Earhart made record flights from Los Angeles to Mexico City and from Mexico City to Newark, New Jersey. She also placed fifth in the 1935 Bendix Race. Earhart was a two-time Harmon Trophy winner and was also the recipient of the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross.
Earhart became the first woman vice president of the National Aeronautic Association, which authorized official records and races. She persuaded the organization to establish separate female records because women did not have the money or planes - and thus the experience - to fairly compete against men for "world" titles. Earhart served as a partner in the Transcontinental Air Transport and Ludington Airlines and lobbied Congress for aviation legislation. She promoted the safety and efficiency of air travel to women, on the premise that they would influence men. She tirelessly lectured across the country on the subjects of aviation and women's issues and wrote for Cosmopolitan and various magazines. She wrote about her flights and career in 20 Hours and 40 Minutes, The Fun of It, and Last Flight, which was published after her disappearance.
Earhart married George Putnam in 1931 - hesitantly - on the condition that they would separate in a year if unhappy. Though some called it a marriage of convenience, they remained together.
Earhart designed a line of "functional" women's clothing, including dresses, blouses, pants, suits, and hats, initially using her own sewing machine, dress form, and seamstress. Though "tousle-haired" and rather thin, she photographed well and modeled her own designs for promotional spreads.
Earhart also designed a line of lightweight, canvas-covered plywood luggage sold by Orenstein Trunk of Newark, New Jersey. Earhart luggage was sold into the 1990s and featured an Amelia Earhart luggage key, prompting some people to believe they possessed her "personal" aircraft or suitcase key.
In 1935, Earhart became a visiting professor at Purdue University at the invitation of Purdue president Edward Elliott, an advocate of higher education for women, especially in engineering and science. Earhart, a former premedical student, served as a counselor for women and a lecturer in aeronautics. Elliott was also interested in supporting Earhart's flying career and convinced Purdue benefactors to purchase a twin-engine Lockheed 10-E Electra for her. Many companies contributed their latest aviation technology to her Flying Laboratory.
Earhart decided to make a world flight and she planned a route as close to the equator as possible, which meant flying several long overwater legs to islands in the Pacific Ocean. On March 20, 1937, Earhart crashed on takeoff at Luke Field, Honolulu, Hawaii, ending her westbound world flight that had begun at Oakland, California. The Electra was returned to Lockheed Aircraft Company in Burbank, California, for extensive repairs. On June 1, 1937, Earhart began an eastbound around-the-world flight from Oakland, via Miami, Florida, in the Electra with Fred Noonan as her navigator. They reached Lae, New Guinea on June 29, having flown 22,000 miles with 7,000 more to go to Oakland. They then departed Lae on July 2 for the 2,556-mile flight to their next refueling stop, Howland Island, a two-mile long and less-than-a-mile wide dot in the Pacific Ocean.
Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, Earhart and the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca, anchored off shore of Howland, could not complete any direct two-way radio communication and neither Earhart nor Noonan were competent at Morse Code. However, the Itasca did receive several strong voice transmissions from Earhart as she approached the area, the last at 8:43 am stating: "We are on the line of position 156-137. Will repeat message. We will repeat this message on 6210 kilocycles. Wait. Listening on 6210 kilocycles. We are running north and south." Earhart and Noonan never found Howland and they were declared lost at sea on July 19, 1937 following a massive sea and air search.
Earhart's disappearance spawned countless theories involving radio problems, poor communication, navigation or pilot skills, other landing sites, spy missions and imprisonment, and even living quietly in New Jersey or on a rubber plantation in the Philippines. The most reasonable explanation, based on the known facts of her flight, is that they were unable to locate Howland Island, ran out of fuel, and ditched into the Pacific Ocean.
Earhart's disappearance remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of the 20th century, and it often overshadows her true legacies as a courageous and dedicated aviator and as an enduring inspiration to women.
Credit Line:
Gift of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences
Inventory Number:
A19640146000
Rights:
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
See more items in:
National Air and Space Museum Collection
Location:
National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC
Exhibition:
Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum

Additional Online Media:

Amelia Earhart and Edward Rickenbacker

Artist:
Margaret Bourke-White, 14 Jun 1904 - 27 Aug 1971
Sitter:
Amelia Mary Earhart, 24 Jul 1897 - c. 2 Jul 1937
Edward Vernon Rickenbacker, 8 Oct 1890 - 23 Jul 1973
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
Image: 18.6 x 23.9cm (7 5/16 x 9 7/16")
Sheet: 18.9 x 24.3cm (7 7/16 x 9 9/16")
Mat: 40.6 x 55.9cm (16 x 22")
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1935
Exhibition Label:
Edward Rickenbacher and Amelia Earhart were pioneers in the early history of American aviation. Rickenbacker became a national hero during World War I as a member of the first American aerosquadron to enter combat on the western front. During that conflict he shot down more German airplanes and balloons than any other America pilot, an achievement that led to a career in the burgeoning aviation and automobile industries. Earhart achieved similar fame as a pilot. The first women to fly solo across the Atlantic, Earhart tirelessly promoted opportunities for women in aviation before losing her life in 1937 during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe.
This photograph was taken at the 1935 Indianapolis 500 auto race. As the owner of the Indianapolis Speedway and an official at the American Automobile Association, Rickenbacker had invited Earhart to serve as the referee at this Memorial Day classic.
Topic:
Exterior
Edward Vernon Rickenbacker: Science and Technology\Aviator
Edward Vernon Rickenbacker: Military and Intelligence\Marine Corps\Officer\Pilot
Edward Vernon Rickenbacker: Business and Industry\Business Executive\Airline
Edward Vernon Rickenbacker: Sports and Recreation\Athlete\Race car driver
Edward Vernon Rickenbacker: Medal of Honor
Amelia Mary Earhart: Science and Technology\Aviator
Portrait
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number:
NPG.93.22
Rights:
© The Estate of Margaret Bourke-White
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery

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