July is a big month for Amelia Earhart, opens a new window. Her birthday and the day of her disappearance both happen in July. Earhart was born on July 24, 1897 in Atchison, Kansas, opens a new window to Edwin and Amelia Earhart. After the death of her grandparents, Earhart and her family moved throughout the country. They eventually ended up in Chicago where she completed high school. In 1918, during a visit to her sister in Canada during World War I, Earhart developed an interest in helping wounded soldiers and became a nurse's aid for the Red Cross. Earhart, opens a new window enrolled at Columbia University as a pre-med student after the war in 1919, but left in 1920 to live with her parents in California.
It was here in California that Earhart first took flight. On December 28, 1920, she rode with Frank Hawks, a World War I pilot, at a local airshow. From then on, she was hooked. In January of the following year, she started flying lessons with Neta Snook, a female flight instructor. She bought her first plane,, opens a new window a yellow Kinner Airster, opens a new window that she named "The Canary", during the summer of 1921. Earhart became the 16th woman to be issued a pilot's license on May 15, 1923 by The Federation Aeronautique.
Throughout the 1920's, Earhart moved from the west coast to the east coast and became a social worker while continuing her aviation interests. In 1928, she accompanied pilots Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon onboard a transatlantic flight from Canada to Wales. After the flight, she wrote a book based off the experience. Her publisher, George Putnam became her husband in 1931.
In 1932, Earhart became the first woman and the second person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, she flew from Canada to Ireland. Upon her return to the United States, she received the Distinguished Flying Cross from Congress. She was the first woman to receive the award.
Throughout the rest of the 1930's, Earhart made many record flights. However, she wanted to be the first woman to circumnavigate the world. So on June 1, 1937, Earhart made that attempt with co-pilot Fred Noonan. They flew to Miami, then down to South America, across the Atlantic to Africa, then east to India and Southeast Asia. After a refueling stop on Lae on July 2nd, Earhart and Noonan took off towards Howland Island. This was the last day they were seen alive. After an extensive search, Earhart and Noonan were declared lost at sea on July 19, 1937.
If you want to learn more about Earhart and the theories that surround her disappearance, take a look at the book list below!