Eighty-eight years ago today, Amelia Earhart departed from Trepassy, Newfoundland in a Fokker F7b-3M named Friendship to begin her successful flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Co-pilots Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon were also on the flight that took over 20 hours before landing safely in Wales, making Earhart the first woman to fly across the Atlantic.
In 1936, Agnes E. Wells, Dean of Women at Indiana University, corresponded with O. B. Stephenson of The Emerson Speakers Bureau in hopes of having Earhart speak at IU. In short time, Wells received the good news that Earhart would, indeed, speak at the university for a fee of $350. “Dear Miss Wells, A letter this morning from Miss Earhart accepts your lecture engagement the evening of October 22.”
Several newspapers, including the Indiana Daily Student and the Bloomington Evening World, excitedly reported that Amelia Earhart would be giving her lecture “Aviation Adventures” at Indiana University in Alumni Hall at 8 pm on October 22, with an informal reception to follow. The reception was an opportunity for the public to meet and question Earhart and was sponsored by A.W.S. and St. Margaret’s Guild, Bloomington Charity Organization.
During her visit, Earhart gifted this photograph to Indiana University, with an inscription written by her on the back: “To the Indiana Union. Amelia Earhart, October 22, 1936.” Autographed photograph of Amelia Earhart, IU Archives image no. P0046625