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Unidentified Photographer,
Associated Press

[Amelia Earhart showing the size of Howland Island]

Date 1937
Dimensions Image: 8 1/2 x 6 1/2 in. (21.6 x 16.5 cm)
Paper: 9 1/8 x 7 in. (23.2 x 17.8 cm)
Print medium Photo-Gelatin silver

This image was run after Earhart's disappearance: "Several months ago, when Amelia Earhart disclosed plans for her round-the-world flight, a reporter asked her how big Howland Island would look on the map compared to the other places she would visit, and she smilingly held up her hand as shown. Tonight [July 2, 1937] she apparently had missed the tiny island in her flight from New Guinea."
Earhart knew that the most difficult part of her round-the-world trip would be the 2,556-mile flight from Lae to Howland Island, a tiny speck in the South Pacific. In addition to building her a landing strip on the island with WPA funds, the U.S. government also stationed the USS Ontario midway between Lae and Howland and the Coast Guard cutter Itasca at Howland. The Itasca was supposed to maintain radio contact with Earhart by issuing weather reports and sending up puffs of smoke to help guide her. Even though July 2, 1937, was a clear day, she never saw the smoke and she could make only sporadic radio contact.

Credit line

The LIFE Magazine Collection, 2005

Feedback Accession No. 1343.2005