Amelia Earhart biographer doubts she was captured by the Japanese

Historians in the News
tags: Amelia Earhart



Susan Butler is the author of “East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart.”

Eighty years ago this month, the American aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared while trying to find tiny Howland Island, a dot in the Pacific Ocean. They had radioed that their twin-engine Lockheed Electra was running short on fuel.

Generations of Americans have been trying to find her ever since. It is hard to overstate her celebrity when she vanished. She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and the first pilot to cross on her own from Hawaii to San Francisco. In her latest adventure, she was trying to become the first woman to circumnavigate the planet at the Equator.

In the early years of commercial aviation, with many frontiers still to be conquered, her exploits pointed the way to the future. And not just in aviation. She was a woman making her considerable mark in a man’s world. Now she is in the news again.

A blurry photograph has been found in the files of the National Archives that shows a woman who might be Earhart and a man who might be Noonan. It was shot on Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The photo is a basis for a History Channel documentary and is seen by its advocates as further proof that Earhart and Noonan were rescued and jailed by the Japanese. That’s not likely. ...





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