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Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937. Videotape collection about Amelia Earhart: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: Vt-54
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937
Title: Videotape collection about Amelia Earhart, 1932-1977
Date(s): 1932-1977
Quantity: 2 videotapes
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Videotapes about Amelia Earhart, aviator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number: 90-M215
These videotapes were given to the Schlesinger Library in December 1990 by Joan Challinor.

Processing Information:

Processed: June 1997
By: Katherine Herrlich


Access. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Various copyrights; see individual tape.
Copying. Researchers wishing to copy a tape must secure permission from the copyright holder, unless the copy is to be used as described under the "fair use" provisions of Section 107 of the Copyright Act.

Preferred Citation:

Amelia Earhart Videotape collection, 1932-1977; item description, dates. Vt-54, reel #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Papers of Amelia Earhart, 1835-1977 (A-129).


Amelia Mary Earhart was born on July 24, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas, the first daughter of Amy (Otis) Earhart and Edwin Stanton Earhart. Her sister, Grace Muriel, was born three years later. The family moved several times (to Kansas City, Kansas; Des Moines; St. Paul; Chicago) during Earhart's childhood as her father tried unsuccessfully to establish a profitable legal career. Earhart graduated from Chicago's Hyde Park High School in 1916. Edwin Stanton Earhart's increasing reliance on alcohol and his inability to hold a job led eventually to a divorce, in 1924.
In addition to attending a variety of schools (Ogontz School in Greenfield, Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Harvard University), and experimenting with numerous areas of study (e.g., pre-med, French poetry, physics) and types of jobs (e.g., wartime nurses' aide in Toronto, telephone company worker, photographer), Earhart developed an interest in the relatively new field of aviation. While living in Los Angeles she took flying lessons from Neta Snook, pioneer woman pilot, and in 1921 made her first solo flight and bought her first airplane.
After her parents' divorce Earhart moved with her mother to Medford, Massachusetts, where Muriel was teaching. She taught English to immigrant factory workers and in 1926 became a social worker and resident at Denison House, a Boston settlement. During these years she continued to fly at local airfields and in 1927 was offered, and accepted, the opportunity to accompany Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon on their 1928 flight to England. She thereby became the first woman to make the transatlantic crossing by air, and an instant celebrity.
Intensely competitive, Earhart participated in numerous air races and held a variety of speed records and "firsts": she was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic solo (1932) and first person to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland, California (January 1935), and from Los Angeles to Mexico City (April 1935). Earhart was a mentor of other women pilots and worked to improve their acceptance in the heavily male field of aviation. In 1929 she helped organize the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of licensed women pilots (with 99 charter members) and served as its president until 1933. Married in 1931 to publisher and publicist George Palmer Putnam, Earhart still maintained her grueling nationwide lecture tours, which largely financed her flying, served as women's career counselor at Purdue University, and wrote books and articles on women and aviation. An outspoken advocate of women's equality, Earhart also designed sportswear for women, luggage suitable for air travel, and travel stationery.
Earhart made two attempts to fly around the world in 1937. The first, in March, ended when her airplane was badly damaged on take-off in California. On June 1 she took off from Miami with navigator Fred Noonan, intending to fly around the equator from west to east. On July 2, having completed 22,000 miles of the trip, Earhart and Fred Noonan took off from Lae, New Guinea, for Howland Island. They never reached the island. Despite an intensive search by the United States Navy and others, following radio distress calls, no trace of the fliers or their plane has ever been found.


These videotapes include biographies of Earhart and historical footage of her activities, with many scenes of her flights.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Air pilots--United States--Biography
Women air pilots--United States
Putnam, George Palmer, 1887-1950
Wallace, Mike, 1918-2012, narrator