July 24, 2012 5:18 pm
The internet was all aflutter celebrating Amelia Earhart’s 115th birthday today, and Smithsonian was no exception. Here are a few of the highlights:
If you’re in the DC area, the Smithsonian’s “One Life” exhibition at the National Portraits Gallery documents Earhart’s accomplishments in photos and memorabilia. If you’re not around the capital, however, the website offers a detailed look at some of the featured photographs. From the exhibit, for those who need a refresher on Earhart’s life:
Amelia Earhart (1897–1937) loved to fly. How she felt about other things in her life is harder to say. After becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, she was rarely out of public view. In the many images of her after 1928, she appears as the epitome of grace and poise. During the years that America was in the grip of the Great Depression, she provided the nation with a sense of hope and optimism about its future. When she disappeared over the Pacific in 1937—seventy-five years ago—Americans were dumbstruck with grief.
She also became a fashion symbol of the time, as another Smithsonian article details:
Earhart had always been interested in clothes. Her first flight instructor, Neta Snook, recalled her showing up for lessons in “a beautifully tailored [riding] outfit.” Indeed, says Cochrane, the Smithsonian’s flight jacket seems to evoke equestrian fashions from the ’30s. (In time, Earhart would help to design and publicize a line of clothes marketed for “the woman who lives actively.”)
Earhart influenced and inspired generations, though Smithsonian is also quick to remind that dozens of brave women preceded her in flight, and thousands followed.
And Amelia’s final takeoff is a fitting but bittersweet close to the day.
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