Collection Description

The George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers (1785-1948; 16.5 Cubic ft.) documents the personal life, aviation career, and business activities of pilot Amelia Earhart. The Papers are divided into seven series:

Whenever possible, original order of the materials has been retained. All materials have been housed in polyester sleeves, acid-free folders, and acid-free boxes. All newsprint has been photocopied and in most cases original newspaper clippings have been discarded. Some clippings containing images of people or color graphics, or front pages of newspapers, have been preserved for display purposes, with photocopies made available for research. Oversized maps, blueprints, diagrams, certificates, photographs, and artifacts have been separated and grouped into individual series for preservation purposes.

Flying Career, 1927-1938

The Flying Career series documents Earhart’s major flights and flying activities and is divided into the following subseries: Contracts and Licenses, 1927-1935; Friendship Flight, 1928; National Women’s Air Derby, 1929; Women’s World Speed Record, 1930; The Autogiro, 1931; Solo Atlantic Flight, 1932; Transcontinental Speed Record, 1932; Ligue Internationale Aviatrix Trophy, 1933; Hawaii Flight, 1935; Mexico Flight, 1935; Admission of Women Pilots in ALPA [Air Line Pilots Association], 1935; World Flight Attempt One, 1937; World Flight Attempt Two, 1937; Disappearance and Search, 1937-1938. Types of material include licenses, contracts, correspondence, advertisements, maps, awards, certificates, printed material, permits, flight logs, passport, authorizations, charts, press releases, newspaper clippings, information on AE’s airplanes and flights, receipts,works of art on paper, philatelic materials, ephemera, notes, information on pilot Ruth Nichols, reports, flight information, charts, data sheets, resolutions, ephemera, diagrams, blueprints, and documentation relating to the disappearance and search for Amelia Earhart. All correspondence has been arranged chronologically by subseries. Letters sent to and from George Palmer Putnam have been retained with AE’s flight correspondence, as he often wrote on her behalf as her manager.

Personal and Family Life, 1917-1937

The Personal and Family Life series documents the private life of Amelia Earhart and is divided into the following subseries: Writings by Amelia Earhart, 1917-1937; Family Documents & Correspondence, 1897-1948; Correspondence, General, 1926-1939 ; Ephemera and Miscellaneous, 1924-1937; Press, General, 1927-1936. Types of materials include writings by Amelia Earhart, such as notes, drafts, notebooks, school assignments, poems, and drafts for short stories, speeches, articles, and books (including manuscript for Last Flight); family documents, including genealogical information, correspondence, high school diploma, and financial and legal documents such as Earhart’s last will and testament, marriage certificate, pre-marital agreement, and information on the settling of her estate; and general correspondence, primarily with friends and business associates. Included in the general correspondence series are Earhart and Putnam’s personal letters to and from Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt (1932-1939). All correspondence has been arranged chronologically by subseries. Letters sent to and from George Putnam have been retained with AE’s letters, as he often wrote on her behalf as her manager/husband. Some letters from officials, government representatives, and celebrities were kept by AE with her personal correspondence to be included as “autographs” in her personal scrapbooks—although many of these letters refer to AE’s flights, they have been kept part of the Personal series in order to retain the original filing order created by AE. The Ephemera and Miscellaneous subseries includes permits, membership cards, sketches of AE, invitations, poem written about AE, collection of essays on AE by schoolchildren, philatelic materials, and miscellaneous small maps. The Press subseries consists of general newspaper clippings about AE, and her stances on women and aviation.

Business Activities, 1928-1937

The Business Activities series documents Amelia Earhart’s work as Aviation Editor for Cosmopolitan Magazine, Vice President of the National Aeronautic Association, Vice President of The Ludington Line, designer of clothing for women, and position as Consultant in the Department of Careers for Women at Purdue University. The series has been divided into the following subseries: Cosmopolitan Magazine, ca. 1928-1929; National Aeronautic Association, ca. 1930s; The Ludington Line, 1930-1931; n.d.; The National Airways, Inc., 1933; AE’s Clothing Line, ca. 1934; Position at Purdue University, ca. 1935-1937. Types of materials include correspondence, business letterhead, flight schedules and brochures, paycheck, ephemera, speeches, printed material, and notes.

Photographs, 1897-1937

The Photographs series includes photographic prints of Amelia Earhart, George Palmer Putnam, and others; Earhart’s various airplanes such as the Friendship, Kinner Airster, Lockheed Vega, and Lockheed Electra; Earhart’s flight in the autogiro; and scenery from various locations all over the world that Earhart visited during her flights. The series documents Earhart’s childhood and family, her major flights, and her aviation/business activities. Included in the series is an interesting set of photographs taken by Earhart while on her second world flight attempt in 1937. These photographs were mailed by Earhart to her husband prior to her disappearance. The series has been subdivided into the following subseries: Major Flights, 1928-1937; Aviation Related, 1921-1937; Personal Life and Family, 1897-1920; AE with George Putnam, ca. 1928-1937; Portraits, Sketches, and Miscellaneous of AE, ca. 1928-1937; AE with Other People, ca. 1920s-1937; AE with Her Modernaire Luggage Line, ca. 1930s; Other People and Objects, ca. 1920s-1930s.

Scrapbooks, 1918-1939

The Scrapbooks series includes twenty scrapbooks compiled by Amelia Earhart and George Palmer Putnam. The scrapbooks consist of journal articles, newspaper clippings, and ephemera relating to Earhart, her flights, and other activities such as her promotion of aviation and women, her trips, endorsements, position at Purdue University, clothing and luggage lines, and her disappearance.

Artifacts, ca. 1785; ca. 1926-1935

The Artifacts series consists of two subseries: Medals, Awards, Coins and Other Commemorative Artifacts; and Personal Belongings. Types of materials include medals, awards, coins, and other honorary memorabilia received by Amelia Earhart for her various aviation accomplishments and personal belongings such as her flying togs, goggles, smelling salts, compact, soap figurines, and a miniature model of her Lockheed Vega airplane.

Oversized Materials, 1915-1937

The Oversized Materials series consists of items that were separated from the other series due to their unusually large size. For preservation reasons, these materials are being stored flat in map cases. The materials include maps, charts, diagrams, blueprints, weather reports, newspapers, magazine articles, miscellaneous printed material, works of art on paper (including original sketches and cartoons), diplomas, awards, honors, certificates, invitations, authorizations, oversized photographs, and ephemera. Materials relate to AE’s major flights, her business career (including fashion design), and her personal life. Many of the items document the numerous awards and honors AE received for her flying achievements and the flight records she established.