These are original photographs of a wonderful life.
Some may view them in the interest of 1930's aircraft. Or, perhaps one is writing a report and now learning that Amelia Earhart was really born in 1897 and not a year later, as she claimed on her FAI license. Providing material for education and research is of great importance.
Above all, I hope to preserve the memory of a cherished and accomplished person.
In the words of Amelia's personal photographer, Albert Bresnik, I hope you enjoy them.
At the beginning of 2016, I purchased a binder of twenty-one press photographs. Most of these images were of Fred Goerner's journeys to the Marshall Islands and Saipan, leading to his publication of The Search for Amelia Earhart in 1966. At that time, my fascination with Amelia was limited to the circumstances surrounding her disappearance. I had no intention of continuing to search for and acquire original photographs of the famed aviatrix.
As I became more interested in Amelia Earhart's life, I began to devote more of my own life to it. The first original that I acquired was a photograph of Amelia at Portland's Heathman Hotel from February 2, 1933.
The idea of archiving everything came much later. Transferring text can be tedious, but it's been a gratifying process. And it's an ongoing process.
Through it all, I learned many new things about Amelia. Further, I gained a vast respect for her peers, many of whom accomplished incredible feats of their own.
All photographs are scanned front and reverse in high resolution uncompressed .tif format. Compressed and watermarked images are used for display here.
If a press caption slip survives, its textual content was duplicated as accurately as possible.
Photographs are categorized in the year they were printed. In most cases, this is the same as when the image was taken. However, for example, if a photograph is dated 1966 but is an image from 1937, it would be categorized in 1966. This assumes no year prior to 1966 is stamped on the document.
For instance, Amelia Earhart received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Thiel College on December 11, 1932. The original I have displayed is stamped December 13, 1932. I categorized the photograph using the latter date.
For photographs with no date listed, I did one of two things:
If I was confident of the period based on the photograph's setting, subject matter and appearance of Amelia, I categorized the photograph with a date close to what I felt was correct. I also noted the exact date was unknown.
If I had little confidence, I listed the photo as December 31 of the year that I thought was correct and noted the exact date is unknown.
If you know something I don't, please chime in.
Notes & Quotes
Any notes of my own are listed in italics below the caption content. This is usually additional information regarding the scene or subject of the photograph. I also use the notes section for including quotes or excerpts from books. If the words are from someone other than myself, I reference who.
I keep some photographs framed and under UV glass in an area that sees minor indirect sunlight.
The majority have been individually sorted into archival folders that are free of acid and lignin. I keep these in archival boxes and hold them at a location which stores other documents, artwork and materials.
Photographs will last many years as long as they are stored properly. It's critical to consider temperature and humidity, and it's vital to keep photographs away from paper-based acids which may cause yellowing. While some photographs in this archive have tears or newspaper highlights, their vividness is still striking.
Though I own the original photographs which are displayed here, I cannot and do not claim copyright on them. The greater portion of the archived photographs were shot by news organizations. Most of these companies were acquired once or even twice over, through the years. When you look at these specific organizations and research their photographs through the Library of Congress, you find that few copyrights were registered and fewer, if any, were renewed. That said, I am not a copyrighter. Many of these original photographs list credit information on the reverse and ask that credit be given, despite most of these organizations not being around in the 21st century. I feel it's important to recognize those who shot these images, as they are truly a wonderful window into the past, and I hope that those who view them will find education in them.
Others Preserving Amelia Earhart
There are many biographies on Amelia Earhart. The Sound of Wings by Mary S. Lovell is an excellent resource. Also admirable is Soaring Wings by George Palmer Putnam (Amelia's husband). Lovell approaches her work by documenting the early lives of both Amelia and George. She then advances chronologically to their lives together, and then George's life after Amelia's disappearance. In Soaring Wings, Putnam documents his wife's life in a scattered, ad-hoc sort of fashion; an arranged, yet disorganized method of conveying the aviatrix's public and private moments. Earhart's own writings offer a squint of her life, though her words were primarily used to promote the thrill and function of aviation.
When George Palmer Putnam passed on, he left most of Amelia's remaining possessions with Purdue University. This collection includes photographs of Amelia, as well as many images taken by her during the world flight (she mailed film home, only to be developed after she disappeared). Purdue also keeps the flight suit, jacket and helmet from the 1932 solo Atlantic flight. Some of her private writings, such as her poetry, were kept by George Putnam as he felt Amelia would have wished it to remain confidential. These papers were later donated to Purdue by Putnam's granddaughter.
This collection contains materials about Amelia that was collected by her sister, Muriel Earhart Morrissey and her mother, Amy Otis Earhart. These materials consist of correspondence, photographs and a variety of other documents. There is another collection of her mother's personal papers and photographs, the bulk of which was accumulated after Amelia disappeared. These are maintained as the Papers of Amy Otis Earhart, 1884-1987
Based in Oklahoma City, the Museum of Women Pilots is home to the Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots of which Amelia Earhart, and 98 other women, were charter members. The organization was founded in 1929 and continues to this day with membership currently exceeding 5,000 women pilots. The museum has an exhibit on Earhart.