Amelia Earhart’s Transatlantic Flight: On This Day, May 20

On this day in 1932 Amelia Earhart took off from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland. Although Earhart aimed for Paris, icy weather forced her to land in a farmer’s pasture in Ireland fifteen hours after takeoff. She became the second person and the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo five years after Charles Lindbergh made the first solo trip in 1927.

Earhart was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by Congress for her transatlantic flight, and continued to make the news as the first person to fly solo across previous unconquered routes. She flew across the Pacific Ocean from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland, California, in 1935; and from Mexico City to Newark, New Jersey, also in 1935. In 1937, Earhart set out to become the first person to fly around the world, but her plane disappeared over the South Pacific on July 2, 1927.

In the video below, Sandra Trenholm, Curator of the Gilder Lehrman Collection, describes the Neta Snook Collection. Snook was the flight instructor who taught the young Amelia Earhart how to fly.

Chat with the Curator: Amelia Earhart and Neta Snook from The Gilder Lehrman Institute on Vimeo.