Paid Advertisement
Historynet/feed historynet feedback facebook link Weider History Group RSS feed Weider Subscriptions Historynet Home page

Letter From Aviation History - January 2010

Originally published on HistoryNet.com. Published Online: November 10, 2009 
Print Friendly
0 comments FONT +  FONT -

 All About Amelia

Yes, she's back in the public eye. With the recent release of the major motion picture Amelia, starring the perfectly cast Hilary Swank as the famous flier, Amelia Earhart has once again caught the media's attention. How could it be otherwise for a woman who, thanks in no small part to her promoter-husband George Putnam, is arguably history's most recognized pilot?

In his insightful article about the doomed aviator (let's not call her an "aviatrix"—that went out with the 1930s), Stephan Wilkinson examines the reasons for our continued fascination with Earhart, fully 72 years after she and navigator Fred Noonan vanished in the Pacific without a trace. Certainly her disappearance, which has spawned a cottage industry for searchers like TIGHAR's Ric Gillespie, accounts for much of that fascination, but it's just one element of the mystery surrounding her. Although Earhart's every move was documented by newsmen, and a parade of biographies and now a biopic have attempted to encapsulate her life, you get the feeling that we'll never know the real Amelia—the flesh-and-blood human being behind the carefully crafted image.

Women's History

Visit our Women's History section

But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. Some, like Ann Pellegreno in 1967 (see "Two Electras in Search of Howland Island," September 2009 issue) and Linda Finch in 1997, have done it by re-creating her round-the-world flight. (Grace McGuire hopes to do it in a Lockheed 10E outfitted like Earhart's, although the Transportation Security Administration has thrown a monkey wrench in her plans—but the TSA's draconian regulations are a subject for another column.) Others have plunked down $50,000 to join a TIGHAR archeological expedi­tion in search of clues that might finally solve the mystery of her disappearance. Still others have sought to own tangible ties to the aviator, such as the goggles she wore during her solo transatlantic flight that recently sold at auction (see photo, P. 9).

The rest of us must be content to plumb the massive historical record that surrounds Earhart's life. A great place to start on the Web is Purdue University's George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers, an amazing assemblage of viewable documents, photos and biographical information. It also includes links to other Earhart-related sites, such as the home page of the Ninety-Nines, the international organi­zation of women pilots that Earhart helped found in 1929. That organization remains one of her greatest legacies, and underscores the impact she has had on generations of young women.

When you're done exploring Amelia's life, go see the movie if you haven't already—it deserves our support. As Earhart biographer Susan Butler explains in her sidebar on P. 31, the film's producers went to great lengths to ensure its accuracy. And if anyone can get to the heart of the Mona Lisa–like woman gracing this issue's cover (our first ever to feature a pilot instead of an airplane), two-time Academy Award winner Swank can.



Leave a Reply

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Related Articles


History Net Images Spacer
Paid Advertisement
Paid Advertisement
History Net Daily Activities
History net Spacer
History net Spacer
Historynet Spacer
HISTORYNET READERS' POLL

Which of these wars resulted in the most surprising underdog upset?

View Results | See previous polls

Loading ... Loading ...
History net Spacer
STAY CONNECTED WITH US
RSS Feed Daily Email Update
History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement
What is HistoryNet?

The HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Weider History, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines.

If you are interested in a specific history subject, try searching our archives, you are bound to find something to pique your interest.

From Our Magazines
Weider History

Weider History Network:  HistoryNet | Armchair General | Achtung Panzer! | StreamHistory.com
Today in History | Ask Mr. History | Picture of the Day | Daily History Quiz | Contact Us

Copyright © 2014 Weider History. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Advertise With Us | Subscription Help | Privacy Policy