Pop Culture
Sep 22, 2009, 07:07AM

"The unburied come back to haunt us."

The life and death of Amelia Earhart.

For my tenth birthday, I got the present of my dreams: a piece of Amelia Earhart luggage. It was a small overnight case made of aluminum, with rounded corners, and covered in blue vinyl. Between the latches was a little plaque with an ersatz, feminine signature. (Earhart’s actual signature was loopy and uneven, with a runic-looking “A.”) I had nowhere to go, so I kept the case under my bed and filled it with dolls’ clothes—a use, I suspect, of which Earhart would have disapproved. Play that prepared a young girl for domesticity was anathema to her ideals. When she lectured at colleges—as she did frequently, to promote careers for women, especially in aviation—she urged the coeds to focus on majors dominated by men, like engineering, and to postpone marriage until they had got a degree. On Earhart’s own wedding day, in 1931, the thirty-three-year-old bride handed her forty-three-year-old groom, George Palmer Putnam, a remarkable letter, which read:


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