Amelia Earhart: In the Cockpit and in the Public Eye

Given her accomplishments as an aviator, including becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, it should come as no surprise that Amelia Earhart was frequently photographed. The Prints & Photographs Division’s collections include a number of images of Earhart, including some photographs of her sitting in a cockpit looking relaxed and self-assured.

Amelia Earhart in airplane. Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1936. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.40747

Amelia Earhart in airplane. Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1936. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.40747

An outstanding picture of 1937 – tragedy. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.31771

An outstanding picture of 1937 – tragedy. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.31771

Photos of Earhart surrounded by interested crowds are not uncommon.

Amelia Earhart and group. Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1932. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.36877

Amelia Earhart and group. Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1932. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.36877

Earhart was recognized by a number of organizations and made the acquaintance of other high-profile individuals. Here she is pictured with Eleanor Roosevelt, who also had some experience training to be a pilot, heading into a National Geographic Society event at which Earhart was scheduled to provide an address.

Important women. Amelia Earhart, famous flier, left, and Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt photographed as they approached the National Geographic Society where the conqueror of the Atlantic and the Pacific by air addressed the members. Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1935. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.47081

Important women. Amelia Earhart, famous flier, left, and Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt photographed as they approached the National Geographic Society where the conqueror of the Atlantic and the Pacific by air addressed the members. Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1935. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.47081

Although she was best known for her extraordinary accomplishments as a pilot, Earhart was also an advocate for women’s rights, joining the National Woman’s Party and supporting the Equal Rights Amendment. Her determination to make her own path and lead by example shows in a 1937 letter to her husband, George Palmer Putnam, in which she wrote about her ultimately tragic plans to circumnavigate the globe by plane: “Please know I am quite aware of the hazards of the trip. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others.”

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