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Amelia Earhart Press photographs

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSP 195

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of two photo albums containing 100 press photographs of Amelia Earhart. Many of the photographs include separate papers with detailed press release information such as places, dates, and individuals' names. Many of the photographs are Associated Press and International Newsreel photographs. There are 48 photographs in album one and 52 photographs in album two.

Dates

  • 1928 - 1937

Creator

Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Material copyrights held by Purdue University or original creator. Consult with Purdue UnNiversity Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

Amelia Mary Earhart was born on July 24, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas, to parents Amy Otis Earhart and Edwin Stanton Earhart. Her sister, Muriel, was born two and a half years later. Due to Edwin's occupation as a legal representative for various railroads, the family moved frequently during Amelia's childhood, living at times in Kansas City, Des Moines, St. Paul, and Chicago. After attending six high schools in four years, Earhart graduated from Chicago's Hyde Park High School in June 1915.

Earhart entered Ogontz School near Philadelphia in 1916. The following year, after visiting her sister Muriel in Toronto over Christmas, she decided not to return to Ogontz School and graduate, but instead to remain and join the war effort in Toronto. In February 1918, Earhart left Ogontz School and moved to Toronto to become a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse at the Spadina Military Convalescent Hospital. While in Toronto, she began frequenting a local airfield, and soon became fascinated with flying. Following the Armistice in November 1918, she returned to the United States and entered Columbia University as a pre-medical student in the fall of 1919. Earhart soon realized that the practical aspects of medicine did not appeal to her, and left Columbia in 1920 to join her parents in Los Angeles, in an effort to help keep their marriage intact. In December 1920, she took her first ride in an airplane with pilot Frank Hawks. In January 1921, she began taking flying lessons from Anita ("Neta") Snook. With help from her family, she took a job in a telephone company and bought her first airplane. In 1922, she set her first aviation record with an unofficial women's altitude record of 14,000 feet under the auspices of the Aero Club of Southern California. The following March, Earhart appeared as one of the attractions at a local air rodeo and in May 1923 she acquired her airline pilot's license. She was the first woman, and seventeenth pilot, to receive a National Aeronautic Association pilot's license. She became engaged to Sam Chapman and worked in a photography studio. Despite Earhart's efforts, her father's alcoholism, combined with her parents' inability to manage money, eventually led to the divorce of Edwin and Amy Earhart in 1924.

Following her parents' divorce, Earhart sold her airplane and bought a Kissel roadster car she called the "Yellow Peril." In June 1924, she drove cross-country with her mother from Los Angeles to Medford, Massachusetts, stopping along the way to visit several national parks (1924). She and her mother then moved in with Earhart's sister Muriel, in Medford, Massachusetts. After undergoing a sinus operation to relieve her chronic sinus headaches, she returned to Columbia University for the winter of 1924 - 1925. In May 1925, Earhart returned to the Boston area and upon her sister's urging, took classes at Harvard during the summer and received a teaching license. Earhart then spent several months teaching foreign students at the University of Massachusetts (Haugen, 2009). From June to October, she worked as a companion in a hospital for mental diseases, but found the work too confining and the pay insufficient. In 1926, Amelia joined the staff of Denison House, Boston's oldest settlement house, as a social worker. At Denison House, Earhart worked with immigrants and their children, teaching them English and educating them on local customs. Earhart joined the Boston chapter of the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) and in 1928 was elected vice president of the chapter. While working one day at Denison House, in April 1928, Earhart received a call from Hilton H. Railey asking if she would like to be the first woman to cross the Atlantic by air. Earhart accepted the proposal and accompanied pilot Wilmer Stultz and mechanic Louis "Slim" Gordon on their 1928 transatlantic flight on the Friendship plane. She soon gained international acclaim for being the first woman to make the transatlantic crossing by air, although she did not fly the plane herself. Following the Friendship flight, Amelia wrote her first book, 20 Hrs. 40 Mins. She broke her engagement with Sam Chapman, and took a job as Aviation Editor for Cosmopolitan magazine.

In 1929, Earhart competed in the Powder Puff Derby, the first national Women's Air Derby race, finishing in third place. She was appointed Assistant to the General Traffic Manager at Transcontinental Air Transport with special responsibility for promoting aviation to women travelers. Amelia, along with Ruth Nichols and several other women pilots, founded the Ninety-Nines, the first women pilots' organization. In 1930, Earhart set the women's flying speed record of 181.18 mph and acquired her transport pilot's license. She became the first woman to fly an autogiro in the United States and became vice president of Ludington Lines, a commercial airline. Her father, Edwin Earhart, died of cancer that same year. In February 1931, Amelia married publisher George Palmer Putnam in Noank, Connecticut. Earhart acquired an autogiro and set an altitude record for the autogiro in April. She completed a solo transcontinental flight across the United States in an autogiro in the summer of 1931 and that same year was elected the national vice president of the NAA (and the first woman officer of the NAA). Earhart was also elected the first president of the Ninety-Nines in 1931, and served in this position until 1933.

In May 1932, Amelia became the first woman (and second person) to fly solo across the Atlantic. With this flight, Amelia became the first person to cross the Atlantic twice by air nonstop, setting a record for the fastest Atlantic crossing and the longest distance flown by a woman. Amelia was awarded the Army Air Corps Distinguished Flying Cross by U.S. Congress, Honorary Membership in the British Guild of Airpilots and Navigators, and the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society, which was presented to her by President Herbert Hoover. In July, she set the women’s record for the fastest non-stop transcontinental flight, flying from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey. She wrote her second book, The Fun of It, and began lecturing all over the country, often speaking in two different cities on the same day. She was awarded the Harmon Trophy as America's Outstanding Airwoman, the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor by the French government, and received honorary membership in the National Aeronautic Association.

In 1933 Earhart participated in the National Air Races. The following year, in 1934, Amelia launched a fashion house to manufacture and market clothing designed by her. Her first shop opened in Macy’s in New York. It was initially a success, but by the end of the year the venture was shut down. In November 1934, the Earhart/Putnam home in Rye, New York, caught fire and many of Earhart's earliest papers burned, including poems written during childhood, letters, and stories she had been working on (Lovell, 1989). In 1935, Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the American mainland, landing in Oakland, California. With this flight, Amelia became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean and the first person who had flown solo across both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. That same year, she became the first person to fly solo from Los Angeles to Mexico City, by official invitation of the Mexican government.

On September 26 - 27, 1934, Purdue President Edward C. Elliott heard Amelia Earhart speak at a luncheon in New York on women's careers and he was so impressed with her talk that he asked if she would visit Purdue and give a lecture for the women students. Earhart spoke at a banquet at Purdue on October 17, 1934, and discussed "Activities for Women After College." After several talks with President Elliott, a contract was negotiated in 1935, stating that Amelia Earhart would be employed by Purdue as a visiting faculty member.

In the fall of 1935, Earhart joined the faculty of Purdue University, serving as a from the autumn of 1935 until her disappearance in July 1937 as Consultant in the Department for the Study of Careers for Women and Technical Advisor in the Department of Aeronautics for Purdue. Earhart was attracted to Purdue because at the time it was the only university in the United States with its own fully equipped airport. She was also impressed that practical mechanical and engineering training was available without discouragement to the women students on campus. At Purdue, Amelia lectured, conducted conferences with Purdue faculty and students, and initiated studies on new career opportunities for women. Perhaps most importantly, she served as an example of a successful modern woman for the female students. While working at Purdue, Amelia stayed in South Hall (later known as Duhme Hall) on campus. South Hall students vied with each other to sit at Amelia's table during meals. Buttermilk became an overnight favorite beverage on campus because it was Amelia’s choice.

Amelia's husband, George Palmer Putnam, first planted the idea of a "flying laboratory" airplane for research into President Elliott's mind. In the autumn of 1935, at a dinner party at Elliott's home, Amelia outlined her dreams for women and aviation and spoke of her desire to conduct studies on how long-distance flying affected pilots. Before the evening was over, guest David Ross offered to donate $50,000 as a gift toward the cost of providing a machine suitable for the flying laboratory. Further donations totaling $30,000 in cash and equipment were received from J. K. Lilly, Vincent Bendix, and manufacturers Western Electric, Goodrich, and Goodyear. The $80,000 formed the basis of "The Amelia Earhart Fund for Aeronautical Research." The fund's primary objective was to enable the development of scientific and engineering data of vital importance to the aviation industry. The Earhart Fund with the Purdue Research Foundation financed Amelia's "flying laboratory," providing funds for a new Lockheed Electra airplane specially outfitted for long-distance flights. With her new airplane Earhart began seriously planning a world flight at the equator. It was in this plane that Amelia disappeared during her world flight attempt in 1937.

In March 1937, Amelia made her first attempt to circumnavigate the globe at the equator, flying westward from Oakland to Hawaii. Unfortunately, her plans were later thwarted when she attempted a takeoff from Luke Field and ground looped her plane. The plane was badly damaged and had to be sent to California for repairs. On June 1, Earhart began her second world flight attempt, this time taking off from Miami with navigator Fred Noonan, and reversing her course from west to east. After completing 22,000 miles of the flight, Amelia and Fred Noonan departed from Lae, New Guinea en route to tiny Howland Island. They experienced radio and weather difficulties and eventually lost radio contact with the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca on July 2, 1937. Despite a massive search authorized by the U.S. government, no trace of Earhart, Noonan, or their plane was ever found. On July 18, the government abandoned its search, although George Putnam continued to finance his own search until October 1937. In 1939, Amelia Earhart was declared legally dead in Superior Court in Los Angeles. The whereabouts of Earhart and Noonan remains a mystery, and is the subject of much speculation to this day.

Extent

0.872 Cubic Feet (One flat box)

Arrangement

The photo albums have been retained in original order.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Heritage Auction House in 2007.

Related Materials

MSF 450, Amelia Earhart at Purdue University Collection, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

MSP 9, George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart papers, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

MSP 79, Zelda Gould collection of Amy Otis Earhart correspondence, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries MSP 38, Wilmer Stultz papers, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

UA 50, Edward C. Elliott papers, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Amelia Earhart book collection - Over 100 books relating to Earhart, including first editions of the three books written by her and a wide selection of children's books located in the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Processing Information

The photo albums remain as received, and the photographs are housed in clear, plastic page protectors. The albums have been placed into an archival box.
Title
Amelia Earhart Press photographs
Status
Under Review
Author
Mary A. Sego
Date
2019-08-14
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Edition statement
Second edition. Collection description first completed 2017-04-08.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States
765-494-2839