Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Amelia Earhart and George Putnam - Polyamorists

I was delighted to recently come across this letter from Amelia Earhart to her fiance, George Putnam, in anticipation of their marriage, in which she says, "I shall not hold you to any midaevil (sic) code of faithfulness to me, nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly. If we can be honest I think the difficulties which arise may best be avoided should you or I become interested deeply (or in passing) in anyone else." George was her publicist.

The letter is undated. They were married on February 7, 1931. Intent on retaining her independence, she referred to the marriage as a "partnership" with "dual control."

Sadly, six years later, on July 2, 1937, with less than 7,000 miles left to reach her goal of being the first woman to fly around the world, Ms. Earhart was heard from by radio for the last time while flying over the Pacific, reporting she was low on fuel. An extensive search was unsuccessful. George had her declared dead in January, 1939, and was remarried later that year, to Jean-Marie Cosigny James. Surely Amelia would have approved.

Amelia was an adventuress and early feminist. Clearly she was a woman of courage who wasn't afraid to take risks. Those qualities are consistent with those of the women whom I most admire, including a fair number who polyamorous today.

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