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September 19, 2022 35 min

We are all familiar with the name Amelia Earhart, but do we really know what she was like or what she believed in?

Today’s show is a conversation with Sammie Morris. Sammie is the Head Archivist at the Purdue University archives and special collections where they hold some of the most extensive collections on Amelia Earhart, one being donated by Amelia’s husband, George Palmer Putnam, himself. Amelia also worked with and taught at Purdue University just before her last flight.

We are going to discuss the interesting and radical life of legendary aviatrix, Amelia Earhart! She was the first woman and second person to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932. Now, that was one of her most famous records, but she set so many more! Of course, a lot of us know her for her mysterious disappearance, but in this episode, we are going to dive deeper into the woman behind the mystery, how she blazed her own path in early aviation, and the legacy she left behind. 
 
Key Takeaways:

  • The Purdue University Archive is a great resource for researchers interested in the life and legacy of Amelia Earhart. They hold two collections on Amelia Earhart, one collection on her husband, George Palmer Putnam, and one on her navigator, Fred Noonan.
  • Earhart's energetic, adventurous, brave personality was ahead of her time. She shared her radical beliefs about women's roles in the home and in the field of science, for example, yet she was able to not shock the public and alienate herself.
  • The Friendship Flight in 1928 was the first trans-Atlantic flight by a woman. Amelia was a passenger, alongside co-pilots Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon. The journey took 20 hours and 40 minutes, which is also the title of the book she wrote about this flight.
  • Amelia Earhart was the first woman and second person to complete a solo flight across the Atlantic in 1932.
  • Amelia Earhart befriended First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who became an advocate for aviation, women in flight, and Amelia's endeavors
  • Amelia Earhart co-founded the 99's - an organization still around today that is dedicated to inspiring women pilots since 1929 - and became their first president
  • Multiple factors influenced Amelia Earhart's disappearance on the last stretch of her world flight, such as low fuel, weather, and lost radio connection
  • Use the code SEASON1 for 20% off a new membership at Wings: Become A Member | Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum (wingsmuseum.org)

    Support Behind the Wings by making a financial contribution to Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum’s Annual Fund! (wingsmuseum.org)

    References:

  • Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937 | Archives and Special Collections (purdue.edu)
  • https://flightpaths.lib.purdue.edu/blog/2016/09/13/amelia-earhart-the-flying-feminist/ 
  • https://www.ninety-nines.org/our-history.htm
  • https://www.purdue.edu/uns/x/2009b/091019CordovaEarhart.html 
  • https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1895&context=purc
  • https://airandspace.si.edu/collection-objects/lockheed-vega-5b-amelia-earhart/nasm_A19670093000
  • Speech by Amelia Earhart | Library of Congress (loc.gov)
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