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Happy Mother's Day; Amy Otis Earhart

The Mother behind the legend

It's Mother's Day! #HappyMothersDay

#AmeliaEarhart was born to Amy Otis Earhart. Who was the mother that raised Amelia? How did this mother come to terms with the disappearance of her daughter?

Amy Otis Earhart was born in 1869 to Alfred and Amelia Otis. She was the second child of six surviving children. She married Edwin Stanton Earhart in 1895 and moved with him to Kansas. Amelia was born in 1897 and her sister Muriel in 1899. Due to Edwin's job, the couple moved often and left the girls to stay with their grandparents in Atchison, KS. However, they later moved to Des Moines where marital problems finally took a toll on the family. Amy and Edwin separated in 1915 with Amy moving to Chicago with the two girls. The family eventually reunited the following year briefly in Kansas and moved to Los Angeles. However, the troubles continued and the couple officially divorced in 1924. Amy moved in with her daughter Muriel and later with Amelia and George.

Amy stayed in North Hollywood after Amelia's disappearance. The mother waited nine years for her daughter's return until she finally moved back to Massachusetts to live with Muriel. She passed in 1962, never knowing the fate of her oldest daughter.

The Purdue University arhcives has a wonderful collection of letter exchanges between Zelda Gould and Amy Earhart. In these letters, Amy expressed her emotions and coming to term with the loss of Amelia along with many other topics. More letters written by Amy Otis can be found at the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Papers of Amy Otis Earhart, 1884-1987. This collection includes a large multitude of various correspondence with many different people. According to the description of this collection, Amy was known for exchanging letters and often wrote many a day.

Unfortunately, online access to these collections is not possible and cannot be viewed virtually. However, if you ever find yourself near these amazing archive collections, make an appointment to have a look at them yourself! It is an indescribable experience to be able to touch and read the words of those before us.



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