Though George and Amelia had tied the knot in 1931, Earhart had reached a resolution to keep being addressed by her maiden name. She wanted to be known for her professional work, not for being George P. Putnam’s wife. After her record-breaking trip across the Atlantic, the New York Times published the headline “Mrs. Putnam flies Atlantic in record time.”
Amelia immediately wrote to the publisher Arthur Hays Salzberger and graciously asked him to refer to her in the paper as Amelia Earhart.
Unmatched in the Air
Just a year after her first flight, Earhart took to the skies in her yellow Canary and flew 14,000 feet up in the air. This flight broke the world altitude record for a female pilot at the time. Because of her record-breaking flights, she was awarded her official pilot’s license by the world governing body for aeronautics in 1923.
She was the 16th woman to ever receive one. Her record-breaking didn’t stop there. She became the first woman to fly across the U.S. nonstop from coast to coast.
Marrying Mr. Putnam
With her ever-growing popularity as a public figure, Amelia soon needed to hire a publicist. She hired George P. Putnam but their relationship developed from a working one into a romantic one. That doesn’t mean she made it easy for him. He proposed six times before she said yes.
She was set on remaining an independent woman. “You must know again my reluctance to marry, my feeling that I shatter thereby chances in work,” she wrote to him.
The 99s Legacy Lives On
Amelia Earhart consistently worked to promote opportunities for women in aviation. Her mission was to promote gender equality and this came to fruition in the form of her organization, the Ninety-Nines. It was so aptly named this because out of the 285 licensed American female pilots at the time, 99 of them, including Earhart, came together to support one another.
The organization has since gone international and looks after women from 44 different countries around the world. Earhart was a true representation of the idea that women could do anything that men could.
Because of her reputation as a symbol of equality, Earhart has been portrayed multiple times in pop culture. “Amelia” by Joni Mitchell speaks about Earhart’s disappearance. “I was thinking of Amelia Earhart and addressing it from one solo pilot to another… sort of reflecting on the cost of being a woman,” wrote Mitchell.
We’ve also seen her depicted in movies such as "Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian" and "Amelia", by Amy Adams and Hilary Swank.