A Lockheed Electra 10-E had been purchased for her in April 1936 by means of the Amelia Earhart Fund for Aeronautical Research, set up through Purdue University. Almost immediately there was a report that she planned to make a world flight. Miss Earhart denied having such plans, claiming that she would be too busy doing research for Purdue. Yet, early in June, her husband, George Palmer Putnam, the publisher, contacted Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and asked her to intercede with the State Department to obtain their help for the world flight. Putnam stressed that the plans were being kept confidential. Mrs. Roosevelt, through her secretary, contacted the State Department and Richard Southgate, the Chief of the Division of Protocol, was assigned to handle the matter. The Department contacted Putnam, but it was not until late September that discussions began on the flight.
Amelia Earhart's Final Flight
The 33-year-old trail is cold now, but still the literary bloodhounds, baying loudly, strain to pick up the scent. Yet, even if the mystery of Amelia Earhart's disappearance were finally to be unraveled, the riddle within-the-riddle probably would remain: was she really on a spying mission for her government?
By Francis X. Holbrook