Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Earhart's Disappearance Still a Compelling Mystery

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Earhart's Disappearance Still a Compelling Mystery

Article excerpt

`EVERYWHERE I look," says historian Susan Ware, "Amelia keeps popping up. Here's a Gap ad, for heaven's sake, and there's Amelia looking terrific in khaki pants."

Ware, 43, who teaches at New York University, is one of the rediscoverers of Amelia Earhart. Her book "Still Missing" makes the point that Earhart, a product of the '30s, remains very much a woman of the '90s in her looks, dress and commitment to feminism.

Tom Crouch, of the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum, believes the seeds of the current Earhart revival were sown when Richard Gillespie, who heads an organization devoted to aviation history, returned from the South Pacific four years ago with artifacts he claimed were from Earhart's plane.

"They weren't," said Crouch, "but Rick and I have been arguing about it ever since."

Crouch believes that Earhart, lost and out of fuel, rests somewhere on the ocean floor.

But much of the new interest in Earhart focuses on the discovery that America's favorite missing person is more than just the subject of the 20th century's favorite mystery but also a most interesting person in her own right. The new outpouring about Earhart is mainly a rediscovery of the personality that vanished with her, the essential Amelia.

Biographers have a fairly easy time doing research about Earhart; her husband, G.P. Putnam, an accomplished promoter, saw to that.

Nancy Porter, who wrote, produced and directed the PBS film (scheduled for a repeat sometime this summer) noted also that Earhart "came of age at the same time newsreels came of age. Back then they shot 10-to-1 - 10 times more film than they used. So we saw film that had never been seen before, and it showed her in a less canned way."

Maybe, as some modern historians claim, the interest in Earhart (and in Charles Lindbergh) results from a current thirst for heroes. …

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