Thursday, July 24, 2014

happy birthday, amelia

Pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart was born 117 years ago today: July 24, 1897. To celebrate, I arranged for a brief visit with her papers, which are held by the Schlesigner Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in Cambridge, MA. I could have spent hours reading through her letters, school notes, and other memorabilia . . .

The following are snapshots of some of the unique objects in her file. (Click for larger versions.)

Baby book for Amelia and her sister, Muriel.

Notes from chemistry class.

Prep school grades.

1936 letter to a young woman who had asked Earhart for career advice. Choice line: "I warn you deans, teachers, and possible employers are likely to discourage you from so reasonable a line of thought, but I feel women must hold to it if they are to progress."

Holiday card.

U.S. postage stamp memorabilia.

Archival boxes containing Earhart's papers.

The Schlesinger is literally a treasure trove of hidden women's history, and I'm looking forward to spending more time there researching the lives of women in the STEM fields. In the meantime, many thanks to librarian Amanda Strauss, who meticulously prepared Earhart's files for me on short notice!

Top image: Portrait of Earhart in the Schlesigner Library conference room. Uncanny resemblance here to another aviation pioneer, Eileen Collins.

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