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7 super interesting things about Amelia Earhart and her disappearance

May 31, 2013

The legendary missing aviatrix Amelia Earhart has been in the news again recently, upon the discovery of what may be a part of her Lockheed Electra plane near Nikumaroro Island in the South Pacific. While we all know that Earhart was the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic, and that she mysteriously disappeared in 1937, here are some things you might not know about her life and the theories about her disappearance.

1. She had an amazingly bad ass pre-nup:

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Earhart composed this little pre-nup before she married George Putnam, and should I ever get married, it will totally be a part of vows. Also of note is the fact that Earhart turned down a previous proposal by a suitor, saying that she didn’t want to become a “domestic robot.”

After marriage, Earhart kept her name, and laughed off attempts by newspapers to refer to her as Mrs. Putnam

2. She was an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment (which we still don’t have…)

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The very first iteration of the ERA was written by noted suffragette Alice Paul and presented to Congress in 1923. Earhart, a member of the National Women’s Party, led a 1932 delegation to President Hoover in order to attempt to garner his support. In 1938, a year after her disappearance, the NWP established the Amelia Earhart Fund for Equal Rights in her honor.

And yeah, 90 years later and we still don’t have it. Thanks primarily to the efforts of the self-professed anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly, who made a career out of traveling around the country and telling other women to stay home.

3. In addition to being a stellar aviatrix, she was also a lover and writer of poetry

Courage is the Price 7 super interesting things about Amelia Earhart and her disappearance

Earhart wrote this poem upon ending her engagement to Samuel Chapman, who had proposed to her before George Putnam.

Also, while she was holed up in her sister’s house recovering from a bout of the Spanish Flu, she spent most of the time reading poetry and learning to play the banjo.

4. She wasn’t the only woman in her family with a noted “first”

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Earhart’s mother Amy was the first woman to climb Pike’s Peak in Colorado in 1890, a 14,115 foot climb. Fun fact: This mountain also inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write the song “America The Beautiful.”

5. She was a Cosmo Girl

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After she became a celebrity aviatrix, Earhart funded her trips by working as Cosmo’s first (and probably only) Aviation Editor.

6. Some people think she was actually kidnapped by the Japanese and forced to become a Tokyo Rose

Yeah. Apparently some people still believe this? There’s a theory that Earhart disappeared when she was captured by the Japanese and forced to become a Tokyo Rose– the English speaking women who would broadcast pro-Japanese propaganda over the airwaves during WWII. I really hope no one expects me to refute this, because just no.

There are also those who believe that her disappearance was faked, so that she could spy on the Japanese for Franklin Roosevelt. Or that her plane landed in Saipan and she was subsequently executed by the Japanese.

On the official account, however, it seems that Earhart never ended up anywhere near Japan.

7. One guy wrote a book about how he thought this lady was secretly Amelia Earhart

Irene Bolam 1977008 7 super interesting things about Amelia Earhart and her disappearance

Irene Craigmile Bolam was a former aviatrix living in Jersey, minding her own business, when one day she happens to meet Major Joseph Gervais. Gervais decides that she is definitely, 100% Amelia Earhart, and another dude goes and writes a book in 1970 called “Amelia Earhart Lives.” The book was quickly pulled from the market after Bolam files suit, explaining that no, she was not in fact Amelia Earhart for any reason whatsoever.

Gervais, however, remained so positively sure of this that when Bolam died in 1982, he petitioned to be allowed to be allowed to photograph and fingerprint the body. The request was denied, on account of how completely bonkers it was.


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