Amelia Earhart was an American aviation pioneer and author.
Let’s see some fun facts about her!
1. Amelia Mary Earhart was July 24, 1897.
2. Earhart was the daughter of Samuel “Edwin” Stanton Earhart (1867–1930) and Amelia “Amy” (nee Otis) (1869–1962).
3. She was born in Atchison, Kansas, in the home of her maternal grandfather, Alfred Gideon Otis (1827–1912), who was a former federal judge, the president of the Atchison Savings Bank and a leading citizen in the town.
4. Amelia was the second child of the marriage, after an infant stillborn in August 1896.
5. She was of part German descent.
6. Alfred Otis had not initially favored the marriage and was not satisfied with Edwin’s progress as a lawyer.
7. According to family custom, Earhart was named after her two grandmothers, Amelia Josephine Harres and Mary Wells Patton.
8. From an early age, Earhart, nicknamed “Meeley” (sometimes “Millie”) was the ringleader while her younger sister (two years her junior), Grace Muriel Earhart (1899–1998), nicknamed “Pidge”, acted the dutiful follower.
9. Both girls continued to answer to their childhood nicknames well into adulthood.
10. Their upbringing was unconventional since Amy Earhart did not believe in molding her children into “nice little girls”.
11. Meanwhile their maternal grandmother disapproved of the “bloomers” worn by Amy’s children and although Earhart liked the freedom they provided, she was aware other girls in the neighborhood did not wear them.
12. A spirit of adventure seemed to abide in the Earhart children, with the pair setting off daily to explore their neighborhood.[
13. As a child, Earhart spent long hours playing with sister Pidge, climbing trees, hunting rats with a rifle and “belly-slamming” her sled downhill.
14. Although this love of the outdoors and “rough-and-tumble” play was common to many youngsters, some biographers have characterized the young Earhart as a tomboy.
15. Although there had been some missteps in Edwin Earhart’s career up to that point, in 1907 his job as a claims officer for the Rock Island Railroad led to a transfer to Des Moines, Iowa.
16. The next year, at the age of 10, Earhart saw her first aircraft at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.
17. Her father tried to interest her and her sister in taking a flight. One look at the rickety “flivver” was enough for Earhart, who promptly asked if they could go back to the merry-go-round.
18. She later described the biplane as “a thing of rusty wire and wood and not at all interesting”.
19. The two sisters, Amelia and Muriel (she went by her middle name from her teens on), remained with their grandparents in Atchison, while their parents moved into new, smaller quarters in Des Moines.
20. During this period, Earhart received a form of home-schooling together with her sister, from her mother and a governess.
21. She later recounted that she was “exceedingly fond of reading” and spent countless hours in the large family library.
22. In 1909, when the family was finally reunited in Des Moines, the Earhart children were enrolled in public school for the first time with Amelia Earhart entering the seventh grade at the age of 12 years.
23. When the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic reached Toronto, Earhart was engaged in arduous nursing duties that included night shifts at the Spadina Military Hospital.
24. She became a patient herself, suffering from pneumonia and maxillary sinusitis. She was hospitalized in early November 1918, owing to pneumonia, and discharged in December 1918, about two months after the illness had started.
25. By 1919 Earhart prepared to enter Smith College but changed her mind and enrolled at Columbia University, in a course in medical studies among other programs. She quit a year later to be with her parents, who had reunited in California.
26. In Long Beach, on December 28, 1920, Earhart and her father visited an airfield where Frank Hawks (who later gained fame as an air racer) gave her a ride that would forever change Earhart’s life.
27. Her teacher was Anita “Neta” Snook, a pioneer female aviator who used a surplus Curtiss JN-4 “Canuck” for training. Earhart arrived with her father and a singular request, “I want to fly. Will you teach me?”
28. Earhart’s commitment to flying required her to accept the frequently hard work and rudimentary conditions that accompanied early aviation training. She chose a leather jacket, but aware that other aviators would be judging her, she slept in it for three nights to give the jacket a “worn” look.
29. To complete her image transformation, she also cropped her hair short in the style of other female flyers.
30. Six months later, Earhart purchased a secondhand bright yellow Kinner Airster biplane she nicknamed “The Canary”.
31. On October 22, 1922, Earhart flew the Airster to an altitude of 14,000 feet (4,300 m), setting a world record for female pilots.
32. On May 15, 1923, Earhart became the 16th woman to be issued a pilot’s license (#6017) by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI).
33. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
34. She received the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for this accomplishment.
35. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots.
36. In 1935, Earhart became a visiting faculty member at Purdue University as an advisor to aeronautical engineering and a career counselor to women students.
37. She was also a member of the National Woman’s Party and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.
38. During an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937 in a Purdue-funded Lockheed Model 10-E Electra, Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island.
39. Fascination with her life, career and disappearance continues to this day.