Earhart, Amelia (ârˈhärt) [key], 1897–1937, American aviator, b. Atchison, Kans. She was the first woman to cross the Atlantic by airplane (1928) and the first woman to make a solo flight across the Atlantic (1932). She was also the first person to fly alone from Honolulu to California and to solo nonstop from California to Mexico (both: 1935). In 1937, she attempted with a copilot, Frederick J. Noonan, to fly around the world at the equator, but her plane was lost on the flight between New Guinea and Howland Island. In 1992, a search party reported finding remnants of Earhart's plane on Nikumaroro (formerly Gardner Island), Kiribati, but their claims were disputed by people who had worked on Earhart's plane. Other artifacts that could be from Earhart's flight (but no clear evidence) have been found on Nikumaroro, and her fate remains a mystery. Geraldine Mock later became (1964) the first woman to complete Earhart's round-the-world route. Earhart was married (1931) to George Palmer Putnam, who wrote (1939) a laudatory biography of her.
See biographies by M. S. Lovell (1989), D. L. Rich (1996), and S. Butler (1997, repr. 2009); T. E. Devine and R. Daley, Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident (1987); S. Ware, Still Missing (1993); C. Szabo, Sky Pioneer (1997); T. C. Brennan and R. Rosenbaum, Witness to the Execution: The Odyssey of Amelia Earhart (1999); K. Lubben and E. Barnett, ed., Amelia Earhart: Image and Icon (2007).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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