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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Non-Fiction Article: Amelia Earhart Day - July 24

Amelia Earhart

by Georgevine Moss

On July 24 1897 a baby girl was born in Atchison, Kansas. Her name was Amelia Mary Earhart. In 1921 that girl, now aged 24, began taking her first flying lessons. A few years later, in 1928, she became internationally known as the first woman to cross the Atlantic by air when she rode the Friendship plane as a passenger. After that, Amelia seemed to have made a plan of breaking records every couple of years. In 1930, she set the women’s flying record (181.18 mph) and in 1932 she flew across the Atlantic this time as a pilot, solo, thus becoming the first woman to do so.

Perusing the Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers at the online Purdue Library is striking to read her viewpoints on women and life in articles written by her, a woman in the 1930’s.

For instance, in an article titled “Should a Wife Support Herself?” she makes the case for the benefit of women having economic independence and when asked about the possible ramifications on children whose mothers preferred to work she offers this gem: “Some of them have too much mother, anyway. I know from my experience in social service that there is such a thing as too much mother. Let a father take more interest in the child. I am sure that such a plan will work out satisfactorily for both.”

In another article, featured in Cosmopolitan, titled “Women and Courage” Amelia aptly replies to a frequent question addressed to her not so much as a pilot, but a woman that happens to be a pilot. That question was “How much courage does it take for a woman to make a solo transatlantic flight?”

Though Earhart admitted that she often tried to evade the question her reply in the article manages to answer it fully, while at the same time avoiding making it a woman’s issue as those who asked it obviously thought it was. Her answer was simple. Anyone, man or woman, that finds himself into a perilous situation has so many things to do at that critical time in order to save his life that there really isn’t any time to do much other than act.

The online resources about Amelia Earhart offer a glimpse of what seemed to be a unique personality, a woman who was much more than what she is mostly known for, an aviation pioneer. One of those sources is an audio file of a speech she gave on the role of women in science, which can be found here.

In that speech she concludes with the wish that “…women may come to share with men the joy of doing.”

Check out onewomanmedia's Google Doodle in celebration of Amelia Earhart Day.

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