Collection Item Summary:
In 1935 Amelia Earhart's husband, George Putnam, commissioned Albert Wood and Five Sons, of Port Washington, New York, to build a chest for her trophies, plaques, and memorabilia. Putnam conceived the wheel motif for the ebony feet. Wood designed the hand-carved motifs on the Burma teakwood representing three milestones: Earhart's 1932 transatlantic, 1935 Honolulu-Oakland, and 1935 Mexico City-Newark solo flights.
Collection Item Long Description:
As a gift to his wife in 1935, George Putnam, Amelia Earhart's husband, commissioned Albert Wood and Five Sons of Port Washington, New York, to build a chest for Earhart's trophies, plaques, and memorabilia. Putnam conceived the wheel motif for the ebony feet. Wood, a highly regarded furniture maker, designed the hand-carved globe motifs on the Burma teakwood chest on the front and sides for Earhart's three important milestones: her 1932 North Atlantic, 1935 Pacific, and 1935 Mexican solo flights.
Wood wrote the following about his design to Putnam:
"Besides Amelia Earhart's heroic spirit of flight, the design seeks to symbolize in line and contour the Lockheed Vega plane in which these flights were made. The wing spread on the front panel is in true scale and proportion and modeled direct from the working drawings from which the plane itself was made. The carving on the front commemorates the North Atlantic flight. On the circular border is inscribed the official distance, date, and flying time. Harbor Grace, the take-off and Londonerry, the happy landing are playfully symbolized by the codfish and the shamrock. Amelia Earhart's monogram appears in the center. In a similar manner the carving on the left end of the chest commemorates the Pacific flight and the carving on the right end the Mexican flight."
After Earhart's disappearance, the trophy chest became the property of Earhart's mother, Amy Otis Earhart, and then Earhart's sister, Muriel Earhart Morrissey. In 2003, the Museum acquired the chest from Amy Morrissey Kleppner, Earhart's niece.
North Atlantic Flight
May 21 1932
The Pacific Flight
Jan 11 1935
The Mexican Flight
May 8 1935
National Air and Space Museum
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
Gift of Amy Morrissey Kleppner
3-D: 130.2 × 59.1 × 61cm (51 1/4 × 23 1/4 × 24 in.)
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Wooden chest engraved on three sides with hand-carved motifs commemorating three of Earhart's record-setting flights. Lift top. Interior tray.