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Earhart, Amelia.

20 Hrs. 40 Min. Our Flight in the Friendship…

Book

Earhart, Amelia. 20 Hrs. 40 Min. Our Flight in the Friendship: The American Girl, First Across the Atlantic by Air, Tells Her Story...With 61 Illustrations. New York...: Putnam's, 1928.
8vo.; frontispiece photograph of Earhart "On The 'President Roosevelt'"; 60 other illustrations, mostly photographs of Earhart, throughout; endpapers printed with facsimile of flight logbook in Earhart's hand; burgundy cloth, stamped in gilt; pages fresh and bright, covers barely used; in the original yellow and blue pictorial dust-jacket, a drawing of Earhart on the front panel, her photograph on the spine; jacket used, with a few closed tears, but overall quite handsome.
First edition of Earhart's first book, a memoir of her landmark transatlantic journey (as a passenger) aboard the Friendship; the title refers to the exact time of the record-breaking flight. The dust-jacket notes:
Miss Earhart holds the first international pilots license issued by the N.A.A. [National Aeronautic Association] and has some 500 hours of solo flying to her credit. In the twenty hours and forty minutes of the flight from Trepassey to Wales, about 19 hours was in or over fog. Much of the flying was of the most difficult kind....Only a few pilots today can both navigate and fly by instruments, notable among them Wilmer Stultz, pilot of the Friendship. So it happened that Miss Earhart took no turn at the controls.
Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) as a college student in Pennsylvania began a notebook of newspaper clippings about women taking on jobs previously limited to men. It was a prophetic pursuit for the young woman who would become the most famous woman aviator of the century and who would open up the field for women as pilots and engineers. Earhart's first airplane ride utterly enthralled her with its "breathtaking beauty." She took lessons with pioneer woman aviator Neta Snook making her first solo flight in 1921. The 20s, the era of flying circuses and barnstorming, saw the young flyer becoming a familiar figure "on the dusty runways and in the tin airports of southern California." (NAW). A crash landing in a cabbage patch failed to daunt her, "although it did, as she said, dampen her fondness for cabbage." Fame came when she agreed to fly in the Friendship cross Atlantic in 1928; though only a passenger, the press and the public immediately took to this remarkable woman. She lectured on flying; joined Cosmopolitan as their aviation editor, flew in the first women's Air Derby in 1929; was the first woman to fly the early prototype of the helicopter and a founding member and president of the Ninety-Nine, an international organization of woman pilots (to whom she dedicated this book). In 1932 she made a solo transatlantic flight, the first woman to accomplish this feat, setting a new speed record. Congress awarded her the Distinguished Flying Cross. Her death in 1937 while attempting a 27,000 mile trip around the equator continues to provoke controversy and speculation and in some ways obscures her genuine achievements. For The Fun Of It, her second book, is characteristic in its informality and modesty and keen appreciation of her fellow women in aviation. (NAW I, pp. 538-540. 100 Most Influential Women, pp. 255-258)
At the time this book was written Earhart had just been appointed as "aviation editor" for Cosmopolitan magazine. She held the post, created specially for her, for two years. Though she had already set her first world record-in 1922, for the highest altitude flown by a woman-she was a decade away from her two successful solo flights across the Atlantic (1932) and across the Pacific (1935). In the penultimate chapter of 20 Hrs. 40 Mins., eerily entitled "Problems and Progress," Earhart discusses safety standards in the aviation industry; Earhart would become a victim of one of the most famous aviation tragedies in history when her plane disappeared over the Pacific in July 1937.
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