This image is the work of Underwood and Underwood (active 1880 – circa 1950) and is from the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, a gift of George R. Rinhart. Image taken March 2, 1935
Looking at the expressions in this photograph (above) I see friendship, joy and mutual appreciation –(admiration? Yes, I think so!)
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
― C.S. Lewis
“This standout photograph from the The One Life: Amelia Earhart exhibition which closed recently at the National Portrait Gallery in D.C. captures the friendship between Amelia and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, two pioneering women of their day. Eleanor was a crusading First Lady, working tirelessly for social justice, while Amelia set new records and flew solo across the Atlantic, proving that the “glass ceiling” did not apply to the skies. One evening after dinner, Eleanor and Amelia flew over Washington in an impromptu night flight. Amelia wore an evening gown during this adventure, an image which captures the complexity of their roles as contemporary female role models and boundary-breaking leaders. After her death, Eleanor wrote of Amelia that “a nation is poor indeed when it does not have men and women with this kind of spirit.” That spirit is apparent in both of the vibrant, courageous women depicted in this photograph.” (quote from National Portrait Gallery facebook page)
Amelia Earhart and Lockheed Electra 10E NR16020 c. 1937 http://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/earhart.newdocs/earhart.electra.jpeg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’m always intrigued to find out that two famous people from two different spheres of life are (or were) friends. I’ve always assumed that most famous people are in reality pretty lonely. Yes, they have a lot of fans but I would think making and keeping true friends is quite difficult if one or both are famous.
What a joy it is for any of us to realize that — Wow! I really like this person I just met! We could be friends!
Complicate that moment with fame and fortune (time, distance, commitments — whatever) and friendship doesn’t have opportunity to take root.
Amelia Earhart was a driven person and her life story is publicly recorded. She took her first flying lesson in January of 1921 and six months later had bought her first plane! Think about that for a moment. In 1928 she became the first woman to fly the Atlantic ocean. She continued to set aviation records throughout the rest of her life, breaking barriers and raising the hopes and dreams of young women worldwide.
Eleanor Roosevelt‘s life is a matter of public record as well. I had never really read through her amazing list of accomplishments and am amazed at the scope and depth of her commitment to social justice and equal rights. Her work was especially focused rights and opportunities for women, African-Americans, youth, and coal miners. Eleanor was a force to be reckoned with no matter what she set her mind to, it seems!
The image of these two amazing women taking an impromptu night flight over Washington, D.C. is one that makes me smile. I wonder what they talked about!
Click here to see an image of Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt just before boarding a plane for a round-trip night flight from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore. During the flight, Mrs. Roosevelt took over the controls for a few seconds, ca. April 21, 1933.
Click here to see another photograph of these two women together in the plane on that short flight to and from Baltimore. In the photo aviator Amelia points out the White House to resident First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
- Amelia Earhart: Biography & Facts About Disappearance (livescience.com)
- Happy Birthday Amelia Earhart! (bluemountain.com)
- Eleanor, Chasing Mavericks and dilated eyes (californiapixie.com)
- “Do what you fe… (nicholegrimshaw.wordpress.com)