Amelia Earhart Quotes

Amelia Earhart (1897-1937?)

Amelia Earhart with plane, undated
Amelia Earhart with plane, undated. Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Amelia Earhart was a pioneer in aviation, and set a number of records for "firsts" for women. In 1937, her plane disappeared over the Pacific, and while there are theories about what happened to her, there is not certain answer even today.

Selected Amelia Earhart Quotations

About her first airplane ride: As soon as we left the ground, I knew I had to fly.

• Flying may not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.

• After midnight the moon set and I was alone with the stars. I have often said that the lure of flying is the lure of beauty, and I need no other flight to convince me that the reason flyers fly, whether they know it or not, is the esthetic appeal of flying.

• Adventure is worthwhile in itself.

• The most effective way to do it, is to do it.

• I want to do something useful in the world.

• Please know that I am quite aware of the hazards. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others. [Last letter to her husband before her last flight.]

• Women must pay for everything. They do get more glory than men for comparable feats. But, they also get more notoriety when they crash.

• The effect of having other interests beyond those domestic works well. The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one's appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.

• The woman who can create her own job is the woman who will win fame and fortune.

• One of my favorite phobias is that girls, especially those whose tastes aren't routine, often don't get a fair break.... It has come down through the generations, an inheritance of age-old customs which produced the corollary that women are bred to timidity.

• After all, times are changing and women need the critical stimulus of competition outside the home. A girl must nowaways believe completely in herself as an individual. She must realize at the outset that a woman must do the same job better than a man to get as much credit for it. She must be aware of the various discriminations, both legal and traditional, against women in the business world.

• ... now and then women should do for themselves what men have already done -- occasionally what men have not done -- thereby establishing themselves as persons, and perhaps encouraging other women toward greater independence of thought and action. Some such consideration was a contributing reason for my wanting to do what I so much wanted to do.

• My ambition is to have this wonderful gift produce practical results for the future of commercial flying and for the women who may want to fly tomorrow's planes.

• In soloing -- as in other activities -- it is far easier to start something than it is to finish it.

• The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.

• Never do things others can do and will do if there are things others cannot do or will not do.

• Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done.

• Anticipation, I suppose, sometimes exceeds realization.

• There are two kinds of stones, as everyone knows, one of which rolls.

• Worry retards reaction and makes clear-cut decisions impossible.

• Preparation, I have often said, is rightly two-thirds of any venture.

• Amelia is a grand person for such a trip. She is the only woman flyer I would care to make such an expedition with. Because in addition to being a fine companion and pilot, she can take hardship as well as a man -- and work like one. (Fred Noonan, Amelia's navigator for the around-the-world flight)

• A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.

The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.

• Better do a good deed near at home than go far away to burn incense.

• No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.

• I lay no claim to advancing scientific data other than advancing flying knowledge. I can only say that I do it because I want to.

• For the economic structure we have built up is all too often a barrier between the world's work and the workers. If the younger generation finds the hurdle too absurdly high, I hope it will not hesitate to tear it down and substitute a social order in which the desire to work and learn carries with it the opportunity to do so.

• Like many horrid children I loved school, though I never qualified as teacher's pet. Perhaps the fact that I was exceedingly fond of reading made me endurable. With a large library to browse in, I spent many hours not bothering anyone after I once learned to read.

• It is true that there are no more geographical frontiers to push back, no new lands flowing with milk and honey this side of the moon to promise surcease from man-made ills. But there are economic, political, scientific, and artistic frontiers of the most exciting sort awaiting faith and the spirit of adventure to discover them.

• In my life I had come to realize that when things were going very well indeed it was just the time to anticipate trouble. And, conversely, I learned from pleasant experience that at the most despairing crisis, when all looked sour beyond words, some delightful "break" was apt to lurk just around the corner.

• Of course I realized there was a measure of danger. Obviously I faced the possibility of not returning when first I considered going. Once faced and settled there really wasn't any good reason to refer to it.

Poem by Amelia Earhart

Courage is the price that
Life exacts for granting peace.

The soul that knows it not
Knows no release from little things:
Knows not the livid loneliness of fear,
Nor mountain heights where bitter joy can hear the sound of wings.

Nor can life grant us boon of living, compensate
For dull gray ugliness and pregnant hate
Unless we dare
The soul's dominion.
Each time we make a choice, we pay
With courage to behold the resistless day,
And count it fair.

Letter from Amelia Earhart to Her Husband

In a letter she gave to her future husband, George Palmer Putnam, just before their wedding in 1931, Earhart wrote:

You must know again my reluctancy to marry, my feeling that I shatter thereby chances in work which means so much to me.

In our life together I shall not hold you to any medieval code of faithfulness to me, nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly.

I may have to keep some place where I can go to be myself now and then, for I cannot guarantee to endure at all times the confinements of even an attractive cage.

I must extract a cruel promise, and that is you will let me go in a year if we find no happiness together.

About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

More Women Pilots

If you're interested in Amelia Earhart, you might also want to read about Harriet Quimby, first woman licensed as a pilot in the United States; Bessie Coleman, the first African American to earn a pilot's license; Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; or Mae Jemison, first African American woman astronaut.  More about women pilots is found in the Women in Aviation Timeline, and more about women in space in the Women in Space timeline.