Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart Were Close Friends

Aviator Amelia Earhart and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, though having differing careers, were close friends and both were committed to important social causes such as the peace movement and, of course, the indelible women’s movent.

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In 1932, the two ladies met. They became positive role models for women at the time. Both were representing women in places where women weren’t often seen. As the first woman in flight, Amelia set many records and achieved many a dangerous flight. For Eleanor, who was the First Lady, also was interested in flight, earned the nickname from some, First Lady of the World for her politically related travels. The First Lady also gained experience flying in a reconfigured bomber, the cleverly named Guess Where II.

The Secret Service deemed the plane, initially meant for President Roosevelt, to have subpar safety ratings and suggested he not fly in it. However, it was safe enough for the First Lady, apparently. The President later discouraged her dream saying that her flying was too dangerous. On one occasion, Amelia Earhart was invited to the White House for dinner with her spouse, George Putnam. The couple joined Eleanor Roosevelt and her brother Hall Roosevelt while President Franklin D. Roosevelt was away from the White House.

As the story is retold, midway through the meal, in between courses, the Aviator suggested that she and the First Lady take a spontaneous trip to Baltimore and come back. So, they did. The ladies and gentlemen left still in their formal dinner clothing and went to the Hoover Field airport. Aboard an Eastern Air Transport twin-engine aircraft. While two Eastern Air Transport company pilots were supposed to fly the plane, that isn’t what happened. Amelia Earhart flew the twin-engine aircraft. The first lady, Mrs. Roosevelt, who’d recently gotten a student pilot’s license of her own sat in the co-pilot spot, next to her friend. The trip consisted of flying from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore. According to the Baltimore Sun, during the flight Eleanor Roosevelt exclaimed,

“It does mark an epoch, doesn’t it when a girl in an evening dress and slippers can pilot a plane at night,”

After the late-night sky-high joyride, the foursome was escorted back to the White House, via the Secret Service, for the remainder of dinner.

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