March 3rd, 2017 · Galina Chernykh · Staff Recommendations
Amelia Earhart is famed for being an early female aviationist—who once lived in Harrison! She held the women’s altitude record in 1922. She was the first woman to fly an autogyro (a one-person helicopter) in 1931, the first woman to cross the U.S. in an autogyro, the first woman to cross the Atlantic and the first person to cross the Atlantic twice (1932), the first woman to fly nonstop across the U.S. (1933)—and more!
Amelia Earhart was an innovator in other areas, too, starting her own line of no-iron, wash-and-wear, simple and elegant clothing that freed women up to do what they wanted instead of spending time taking care of their clothes. She fought for equal rights, worked as a teacher and social worker teaching English to Syrian and Chinese immigrants, and worked as a nurse during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. During a time when commercial air travel was looked on with suspicion as being too dangerous, she was a tireless advocate for flight.
Amelia was also a writer. She served as aviation editor for Cosmopolitan magazine from 1928 to 1930 and wrote many magazine articles, newspaper articles, and essays. She also wrote three books:
- 20 Hrs., 40 Min. (1928). A journal of her experiences as the first woman passenger on a transatlantic flight.
- The Fun of It: Random Records of My Own Flying and Women in Aviation (1932). An autobiography of Amelia’s life to date, including the history of early women aviators.
- Last Flight (1937). Amelia’s husband George Putnam assembled the month’s worth of her journal entries that she had sent back during her flight; it was published after her disappearance.
To find out more about Amelia Earhart, check out the following:
- Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart, by Candace Fleming. A dramatic telling of Amelia’s early life and the heartbreaking search for her and her navigator.
- Amelia Earhart: A Biography, by Doris L. Rich. A longer, more in-depth biography of Amelia that focuses on her life.
- East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart, by Susan Butler. A biography for readers who want to get truly in depth.
- The Sound of Wings: The Life of Amelia Earhart, by Mary S. Lovell. This biography goes into more depth about Amelia’s commercial ventures and her relationship with George Putnam.
- The University of Purdue Library has a collection of Amelia Earhart materials donated by George Putnam with photos of her aviator helmet and goggles, her planes, memberships in aviation clubs, stamps, and more.
- If you want to find out more about women in aviation, check out the bibliography on the Women in Aviation website.
- Amelia (2009), a movie starring Hilary Swank and directed by Mira Nair.
- The documentary Amelia Earhart: Queen of the Air, an episode of A&E Biography (first aired 1996).
- Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight (1994), a TV movie starring Diane Keaton and directed by Yves Simoneau. Nominated for several awards, including Emmy and Golden Globe awards.
- The miniseries Amelia Earhart (1976), starring Susan Clark and directed by George Schaefer covers Amelia’s early life as well as her later (and more famous) years. Nominated for several Emmy and Golden Globe awards.
From February through July, the Harrison Public Library will present a series of programs that celebrate the 80th anniversary of American pilot Amelia Earhart’s last flight and her 120th birthday anniversary. Please join us in celebrating a courageous woman who wouldn’t let anything stop her—not even the sky!