Ardmore Collector Has Previously Unseen Letter From Amelia Earhart

Earhart encourages a 13-year-old girl from Detroit to go after a career in flying — back in 1933.

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A previously unseen letter written in 1933 by groundbreaking aviator Amelia Earhart has been acquired by Ardmore-based Raab Collection, which recently purchased the document from a private collector. In it, Earhart, who was 36 at the time, responds to June Pierson, a 13-year-old aspiring pilot from Detroit, with realistic but inspiring advice on how to jumpstart a career in aviation.

While pieces of history from Earhart do exist, the letter (below) is in the “top .0001 percent” of documents from the famous pilot, according to Nathan Raab, one of the principals at Raab Collection.

In the early 20th century, “women were inspired by women who succeeded in a man’s world,” Raab said. In the letter, Earhart explains to her admirer the steps necessary for her career to take off, such as receiving a physical examination and finding “a means of taking lessons.”

After buying the letter, it underwent an extensive verification process. “It’s something we spend a lot of time on,” Raab said. Many aspects of the piece are examined — the signature, historical context, letterhead and the wear of the ink and paper. However, to forge a such a document and pass it off as authentic would be “an extraordinary undertaking,” Raab explained.

After being verified, the letter requires preservation. However, despite dating back more than 80 years, Raab says the letter is not as fragile as one might think. Still, it needs to be shielded from exposure to direct sunlight and moisture, he said.

Although the Raab Collection does maintain a display in Suburban Square, the newest insight into Earhart’s life is not currently part of it.

Earhart tragically disappeared only four years after the letter was written, in 1937, as she attempted to circle the globe around the equator. She was declared legally dead in 1939, though speculation about her disappearance has only intensified over the years.

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