Amelia Mary Earhart was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Here are some facts that you probably didn’t know about her:

– Amelia was named Amelia Mary Earhart after her two grandmothers, Amelia Harres Otis and Mary Wells Earhart — a family tradition.

– Amelia received the nickname “Meelie” from her younger sister Muriel, because as a young child, Muriel couldn’t pronounce Amelia’s name correctly.

– Amelia was initially engaged to be married to a New Englander named Sam Chapman, whom she met while visiting her parents in Los Angeles.

– She helped to finance a date fruit farm in Arizona for her former California mechanic who had contracted tuberculosis.

– Amelia was the first female, and one of only a few to date, to receive the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross.

– Upon leaving California to return to the east coast, Amelia sold her first plane, and purchased a 1922 Kissel Goldbug automobile, which she promptly nicknamed “Yellow Peril.”

– Amelia met her future husband, George Putnam, while Putnam was searching for a female pilot on behalf of Mrs. Frederick Guest of London. Their introduction led to Amelia being chosen the first woman to cross the Atlantic as a passenger.

– Though never much for dolls, Amelia and her sister, Muriel, had two very special companions — Donk and Ellie. The pair were jointed wooden animals who accompanied the sisters on many journeys. Donk, a donkey, belonged to Amelia, while Ellie, an elephant, was Muriel’s.

– Amelia and Muriel often spent time in their backyard playing on a “Flying Dutchman” — a leg-propelled merry-go-round built for them by their Uncle Nicey.

– Amelia’s childhood pet, a large black dog, was named James Ferocious, because of his uneven temperament with strangers.

– Amelia and Muriel had two imaginary playmates, Laura and Ringa, with whom they shared great adventures.

– During her childhood, Amelia invented a tribe of imaginary small black creatures she called Dee-Jays. Described as a cross between a Krazy Kat cartoon and a jabberwocky, the creatures were often blamed for Amelia’s own irresponsible behavior, such as: talking out of turn, eating the last piece of candy, or when something turned up lost.

– The U.S. Post Office issued the Amelia Earhart 8¢ commemorative airmail stamp on her birthday, July 24, 1963.

– For finishing third in the inaugural 1929 Powder Puff Women’s Air Derby, Amelia received $875, (only $5,100 in today’s dollars).

– Carl Otis, the youngest of Amy Otis’ brothers, lived with the Earhart family in Kansas City, while he was initially establishing himself in business. Both a friend and a play companion, Amelia and Muriel affectionately referred to Carl as “Uncle Nicey.”

Source: AmeliaEarhartMuseum