Amelia Earhart’s Adventurous Side

Carrie E. Hintz

Alright, so the images here are a bit fuzzy but what they show is a young Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) perched on top of the domed roof of Columbia’s Low Library.


Earhart attended Columbia University’s School of General Studies from 1919-1920 (and again, briefly, in the spring of 1925) intending to go on to medical school. Though discovering aviation shifted her career goals away from medicine, she did make full use of her time at Columbia to explore the campus.

In her memoir, The Fun of It, Earhart recalls: "I was familiar with all the forbidden underground passageways which connected the different buildings of the University.  I think I explored every nook and cranny possible. I have sat in the lap of the gilded statue which decorates the library steps, and I was probably the most frequent visitor on the top of the library dome. I mean the top".  (p. 22).



These pictures, taken in 1920 by Earhart’s college friend Louise De Schweinitz (1898-1997) (later Louise De Schweinitz Darrow, MD), prove that she wasn’t lying about her illicit explorations of the campus.  These images show Earhart on the top of Low Library with Morningside Heights spread out below her.

Clearly, even before she took her first flight, Earhart was already exploring her adventurous side (and proving she didn’t have a fear of heights)!


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