Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart: The 1937 Search for her in Original Government Documents - Highly Important

Amelia Earhart: The 1937 Search for Her in Original Government Documents - Highly Important

 

“NO INFORMATION EARHART PLANE SINCE 0843 2 JULY PERIOD”

 

[AMELIA EARHART.] Typed Telegrams and Memo related to Search for Amelia Earhart, July 4, 1937. 3 pp., 8" x 10.5". Expected folds; some edge tears not affecting text; residual rust from paper clip.

 

Excerpts:

U.S. Coast Guard Official Dispatch from Itasca to Headquarters, July 4, 1937 “FOR SECRETARY MORGANTHAU QUOTE NO INFORMATION EARHART PLANE SINCE 0843 2 JULY PERIOD HEARD FAINT SIGNALS BETWEEN 1825 AND 1858 2 JULY WHICH DEVELOPED AS NEARLY AS COULD BE ASCERTAINED INTO CALL Q85 SIGNALS UNREADABLE AND FROM CALL LETTERS DEFINITELY NOT EARHART PERIOD”

“WE ARE CALLING EARHART FREQUENTLY AND CONSISTENTLY ON 3105 KILOCYCLES AND UNDOUBTEDLY AMATEUR AND OTHER STATIONS MISTAKE US FOR EARHART PLANE PERIOD WE ARE PUSHING SEARCH AT TOP SPEED DAY AND NIGHT IN LOGICAL AREAS NORTH OF HOWLAND AND HAVE THOROUGHLY SEARCHED 2000 SQUARE MILES DAYLIGHT TODAY WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS PERIOD AMATEUR STATIONS REPORT UNVERIFIED POSITION FROM EARHART PLANE WEST OF HOWLAND WHICH AREA WE WILL SEARCH DURING DAYLIGHT TOMORROW PERIOD IF PARTY AFLOAT ON PLANE OR RAFT THEY ARE DRIFTING NORTH AND WEST AT ESTIMATED MAXIMUM TWO MILES PER HOUR PERIOD VISIBILITY AND GENERAL SEARCH CONDITIONS EXCELLENT PERIOD SEA CONDITIONS TO PRESENT TIME NOW FAVORABLE IF PLANE OR RAFT IS AFLOAT PERIOD HAVE RADIO LISTENING STATIONS HOWLAND AND BAKER ISLAND AND ALL REPORTED COMMERCIAL CRAFT OVER LARGE AREA FAMILIAR WITH SITUATION AND ON THE ALERT BOTH VISUAL AND RADIO PERIOD”

Memo from Eugene T. Osborn to Assistant Secretary Stephen B. Gibbons, July 4, 1937 “IN THE SECOND LINE THE NUMBERAL GROUP 0843 INDICATES THE TIME AT OR NEAR HOWLAND ISLAND WHICH TRANSLATED IN OUR TIME WOULD MAKE IT ABOUT 3.10PM 2 JULY.” “THE CALL Q85 INDICIATED IN THE FOURTH LINE IS THE ONLY INTELLEGENT READING THAT COULD BE GAINED FROM THE WEAK SIGNALS.”

U.S. Coast Guard Official Dispatch from San Francisco Division to Headquarters, July 4, 1937 “ITASCA AND HAWSEC REPORT HEARING DASHES AND STRONG CARRIER WAVE ON 3105 KCS IN RESPONSE TO BROADCAST FROM HONOLUL STATION KGMB FOR EARHART TO ANSWER IF SHE HEARD REQUEST PERIOD” “ITASCA SEARCHING WESTERLY QUADRANT TO COVER REPORTED POSITIONS AT DAYBREAK”

In 1935, Amelia Earhart was an aviation pioneer and a visiting faculty member at Purdue University, where she counseled women on careers and served as a technical advisor to the Department of Aeronautics. Early in 1936, she began planning a 29,000-mile flight around the world on a roughly equatorial route. With financing from Purdue, Lockheed Aircraft Company built a Lockheed Electra 10E twin-engine airplane to Earhart’s specifications in July 1936. Although it was publicized as a “flying laboratory,” it was largely intended to gather raw material and public attention for Earhart’s next book. Earhart chose Captain Harry Manning, an experienced pilot and radio operator, as her navigator. However, her husband George P. Putnam and her business partner Paul Mantz wanted a better navigator, and they selected former Pan American pilot Fred Noonan (1893-1937), who was experienced in both marine and flight navigation, as her navigator.

In March 1937, Earhart began her first attempt and made it only from Oakland, California, to Honolulu, Hawaii, where the plane was damaged on a takeoff run. After it was repaired in California, Earhart and Noonan made a second attempt by flying east from Oakland to Miami, Florida, in May, then leaving Miami on June 1, 1937. They made several stops in South America, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Southeast Asia, before arriving at Lae, New Guinea, on June 29, 1937, having covered about 22,000 miles of the 29,000-mile flight.

At midnight GMT, on July 2, 1937, Earhart and Noonan took off from Lae Airfield, headed for Howland Island, which was 1,700 nautical miles southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii, and just north of the equator. Their last known position report was near the Nukumanu Islands, about 800 miles into the 2,550-mile flight to Howland. The plane never successfully established radio communications with the USCGC Itasca, which was on station near Howland Island to guide Earhart and Noonan’s plane to the island. Just before 5:00 a.m. on July 2, the Itasca received calls broken up by static, but Earhart was unable to hear voice transmissions from the ship. At 6:14, Earhart reported that the aircraft was within 200 miles and requested that the ship provide a bearing for the aircraft. At 7:30-7:40, Earhart was 100 miles out and running out of gas but still could not hear the Itasca. The last known transmission from Earhart came at 8:43 a.m., and the Itasca used oil-fired boilers to generate smoke, but Earhart apparently did not see it.

One hour after Earhart’s last recorded message, the USCGC Itasca began an unsuccessful search north and west of Howland Island. The U.S. Navy soon joined the search, which lasted until July 19, 1937. At a cost of $4 million, the air and sea search by the Navy and Coast Guard was the most expensive and intensive in U.S. history up to that time.

The first telegram from Itasca was directed to Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. (1891-1967), who held that office from 1934 to 1945. The U.S. Coast Guard and its predecessor the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service were a part of the Department of the Treasury until 1967, when it was transferred to the newly created Department of Transportation. In 2003, the U.S. Coast Guard became a part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) was born in Kansas and developed a passion for adventure at a young age. She gained flying experience in the 1920s and in 1928 became the first female passenger to cross the Atlantic Ocean by airplane. Four years later, she became the first female pilot to make a nonstop solo transatlantic flight, for which she received the United States Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1935, Earhart became a visiting faculty member at Purdue University. She was a member of the National Woman’s Party and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment. During an attempt to fly around the world in 1937, Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island.

Eugene T. Osborn (1889-1957) joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1912 as a surfman. He was commissioned as a district commander with the rank of lieutenant and during World War II rose to the rank of captain. He was Long Island commander of the U.S. Coast Guard before his retirement in 1946.

Stephen B. Gibbons (1892-1958) was a secretary to anti-corruption crusader Judge Samuel Seabury of New York City and to Progressive movement leader William Gibbs McAdoo. Gibbons served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury from 1933 to 1939. He was later a vice president with the Hudson Trust Company of New Jersey. He was a victim of polio, wore leg braces, and carried a cane. He died in a fall from his fifth-floor apartment window in New York.

USCGC Itasca (1929-1950) was a Lake-class cutter of the United States Coast Guard. In 1935, it was used to transport the first wave of colonists in the American Equatorial Islands Colonization Project (1935-1942), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce to settle primarily young native Hawaiian men on Howland, Baker, and Jarvis Islands to claim them for the United States. In 1937, while stationed at Howland Island, the Itasca served as a “picket ship” to provide air navigation and radio links to Amelia Earhart.

 

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

 

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Item: 67355

Price: $18,000.00
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Amelia Earhart
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