Amelia Earhart America's Most Famous Woman Aviator

Amelia Earhart was born July 24, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas. Her parents were Amy Otis Earhart and Edwin Stanton Earhart. Her dad was a lawyer whose later position as a railroad claims agent required a lot of travel. Because of his travels, Amelia and her younger sister, Muriel, spent a lot of their time living with their mother’s parents, Amelia Otis and Judge Alfred Otis. In 1908, when Amelia was 11, she saw her first airplane on a trip to the Iowa State Fair with her parents. She was amazed by it.

At age 19, Amelia attended Ogontz School near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two years later, after visiting her sister, Muriel, in Toronto, Canada, Amelia decided to leave school. After taking a course in Red Cross First Aid, Amelia took a position as a nurse's aide at Spadina Military Hospital in Toronto, Canada, tending to wounded soldiers during World War I. The next year, Amelia went back to school studying pre med at Columbia University in New York. However, shortly after she started at the university, Amelia's parents made her move to California where they were living. It was shortly after her arrival in California that Amelia got her first airplane ride. In 1921, she took her first flying lesson from Neta Snook, a pioneering woman aviator. Aviation became her hobby and she took odd jobs to pay for her flying lessons. In 1922, with the help of money from her sister and her mother, Amelia purchased her first airplane, a Kinner Airster.

Neta Snook and Amelia Earhart in front of Earhart's Kinner Airster, c.1921

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