Earhart researcher and former Air Force officer Joe Gervais, whose important Guam and Saipan witness interviews in 1960 strongly supported Fred Goerner’s Saipan findings, was best known as the creator of the insidious Amelia Earhart-as-Irene Bolam myth, forever immortalized along with other crackpot ideas in Joe Klaas’ infamous 1970 book, Amelia Earhart Lives.
In assessing Gervais’ contributions to Earhart research, I think a fair, even generous verdict might fall somewhere within the “mixed” category. To elevate Gervais’ work to anything more, as some in the Amelia Earhart Society, including his former friend and enabler Bill Prymak, were wont to do, is simply wrong. Of course it’s only my opinion, but I’m convinced that Gervais did far more harm than good for the truth in the Earhart disappearance. The Bolam travesty and Joe Klaas’ outrageous Amelia Earhart Lives remain among the most damaging items in Earhart “research” history.
The holes Gervais dug for himself with his ridiculous ideas in Amelia Earhart Lives and many other false claims were far too deep for him to escape contempt among some researchers, regardless of what his patrons in the Amelia Earhart Society and the The International Forest of Friendship, where he was inducted in 2005, might tell you.
The following piece by Gervais, “A Chronology of Japanese Denials Interests and Cooperation” [sic] appeared in the February 1995 edition of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters. I’ve copied the original AES Newsletter presentation and will follow with comments.
Let’s review this list of former Japanese officers and civilians who denied having any knowledge about the facts in the Earhart disappearance; we know about Amy Earhart’s highly publicized July 1949 interview with the L.A. Times, which Gervais mentions in this piece. Other related tidbits here are U.S. Ambassador to Japan Edwin O. Reishauer’s 1963 statement to Muriel Morrissey that the State Department file wasn’t closed, and Adm. Chester W. Nimitz’s 1966 telephone revelation to Fred Goerner that “Earhart came down in the Marshalls and was picked up by the Japanese.”
The first in Gervais’ series of Japanese lies came in August 1945, when on the heels of its surrender, “The Japanese Government denied ever having the flyers in their custody.” This requires no comment.
Gervais’ chronology next states, “Aug. 49 [sic]: CAPT. HANJIRO TAKAGI of the KOSHU carried out a search SE of the Marshall Islands but no traces of AE were found.” Of course no search of the Marshalls was done in connection with the Earhart case in August 1949.
On July 7, 1937, the New York Times reported:
The Japanese Navy’s 2,080-ton survey ship Koshu, Captain Hanjiro Takagi commanding, which is cruising in the area around Howland Island, was ordered yesterday to search for Amelia Earhart. The orders to the Koshu were radioed after Hirosi Saito, Ambassador to Washington, had reported that the United States Government had accepted an offer of Japanese assistance. Admiral Mistumasa Yonai, the Navy minister, immediately transmitted instructions to the Japanese commanders in Formosa and the Mandated islands.”
As we see in in my Nov. 13, 2020 post, “Japanese lied about Earhart search in Marshalls,” author and researcher Vincent V. Loomis wrote that the “Japanese managed to convince G-2 [U.S. Intelligence] they had searched the Marshalls quite thoroughly when in fact they had not. The 12th Squadron and the Kamoi were listened as having searched the area when, as found in their logs, they were in port in Japan. The Koshu was also listed as part of the search, but as having found nothing.”
Also in August 1949, Gervais cites the former “Japanese Governor of the Marshall Islands, Kinjiro Kitajima [no dates given for his tenure] at Jaluit Atoll found leading a secluded life in a Tokyo suburb, [who] said, ‘He had absolutely no knowledge of a while aviatrix, or one of any other color for that matter landing anywhere among the Marshalls at that time.’ ”
Our final August 1949 item comes from former Vice Adm. Seichiro Fujimori, “a frequent visitor to the Marshalls in connection with naval matters, [who] said, ‘To his knowledge no American flyers ever landed in the Marshalls.’ ”
The Kitajima and Fujimori denials Gervais cites must have come from two newspaper stories published in August 1949: “Survey Discounts Amelia Earhart Prisoner Rumors,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 26, 1949 [no byline]; or “The Earhart Mystery: UP [United Press] Tracing of Story Famed Aviatrix Was Nabbed By Japanese Still Proving Futile.” Nippon Times, Aug. 29, 1949, by Ian Mitsu. Gervais, who never claimed to be a writer — his Air Force officer friend Joe Klaas is the author of Amelia Earhart Lives, but the book is based almost entirely on Gervais’ ideas — can be confusing in his presentation.
Gervais fast-forwards to July 1960, when Fred Goerner, soon followed by himself (Gervais) and Robert Dinger, visited Saipan in search of Earhart eyewitnesses and the truth after Paul Briand Jr.’s Daughter of the Sky trumpeted Josephine Blanco Akiyama’s first-person account to the world for the first time. Once again Japan offered several responses, consistent only in their uniform dishonesty and deceit.
Imperial Navy Capt. Zenshiro Hoshina of the 1st Section Naval Affairs Bureau and conservative member of the lower house of Parliment [sic] (no dates given), was first to weigh in, when he stated, “I absolutely deny it. No such execution could have taken place without my knowledge.”
Adm. Shegeyoshi Inouye, a wartime member of the Imperial Navy General Staff, chimed in by announcing, “I vigorously deny any knowledge of Earhart incident.”
The third and final of Gervais’ July 1960 entrees comes from Adm. Hitoshi Tsunoda, a former naval commander-turned naval historian, who declaimed, “Our records show no such incident.”
Such were the Japanese falsehoods that Gervais chose to cite, though he could have listed other similar mendacities emanating from the lips of the Emperor’s slaves, past and present. What else should we expect from the masters of the Bataan Death March, which remains the single greatest atrocity ever perpetuated against American POWs?
What was never expected was the truly shocking revelation that came from a humble Japanese housewife, Mrs. Michiko Sugita, whose amazing courage in stepping forward and separating herself from her entire nation’s shameful history in the Earhart matter probably cost that good woman her life.
Gervais quotes a November 1970 TOKYO REUTERS dispatch: “Mrs. Michiko Sugita stated that her father, a policeman on Saipan in 1937 stated, ‘It was the Japanese military who executed Earhart,’ and also that it disgusted him after he had learned about it because it was an illegal act under the Geneva Convention.” (End of Joe Gervais’ “A Chronology of Japanese Denials Interests and Cooperation.”)
Mrs. Michiko Sugita’s initial media revelation that Japanese military police shot Amelia Earhart as a spy on Saipan in 1937 was to the Japan Times. The story, headlined “Japanese Woman Says Police Executed Amelia on Saipan,” was released by the Tokyo office of United Press International on November 12. I don’t have the Tokyo Reuters release.
“Mrs. Sugita, who was 11 at the time, said Japanese military police told her father an American aviator had been shot as a spy,” UPI reported. “She said she never learned how the woman had been captured or where the execution took place.”
Sugita’s account remains the only report ever from a Japanese national that supports Amelia Earhart’s presence and death on Saipan in 1937. Thomas E. Devine, author of Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident (1987), eventually got Sugita’s address from the director of Asian services for the Tokyo bureau of UPI, and he shared a friendly but brief correspondence with Sugita that ended suddenly and without explanation. More than once Devine told me that he believed Sugita was “disappeared” by the Japanese government for her “treachery,” and as an example to anyone else in Japan with knowledge who might have been considering coming forward to support Sugita’s account. I can only agree fully.
For more on Michiko Sugita, please see pages 107-111 of Truth at Last (2nd Edition).
Joe Gervais passed away at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada on Jan. 26, 2005 at age 80.
Rollin Reineck, perhaps best known for his failed attempt to resurrect the Irene Bolam-was-Amelia Earhart lie in his 2003 book Amelia Earhart Survived, is familiar to readers of this blog, and so I will forego further introductions.
This letter from the retired Air Force colonel who once navigated B-29s launched from Saipan against the Japanese mainland, appeared in the November 1998 Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters. Here Reineck discusses with friends Bill Prymak and Joe Gervais an official response he received to one of many requests he had sent to Washington, D.C., this one to then-President Bill Clinton — which Clinton certainly never saw — seeking answers to the Earhart question. (Boldface emphasis mine throughout.)
Dear Joe and Bill,
Friday I received a response to my recent letter to the President, in which I asked that he direct the release from the various military intelligence sources and the CIA of all AE matter.
The response from the Director, Freedom of Information, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, is not exactly what I had in mind, and practically puts us back to square one. However, there may be some information we can use.
Paragraph four of the letter is a brief summary of the Executive Order that releases all classified information that is over 25 years old. I have a copy of the Executive Order, and made reference to it in my letter. Mr. Passarella points out that there are some exceptions concerning the release of info, and to be sure that I understand them, he has enclosed a copy of the pertinent parts to the Executive Order.
I am aware of the exceptions, but find it odd that he would point them out. I can’t help but have the feeling that he is trying to tell me something. Generally the exceptions do not fit the Earhart case except Sec. 3.4.(b)(6). – . . . “reveal information that would seriously and demonstrably impair relations between the United States and a foreign government.” If my gut feeling about this is right, we might just as well fold up our tent and move on, as the foreign government involved is Japan, and no one is going to upset relations with Japan at this time over Amelia Earhart.
In the Goerner book, he talks about an aide to the Secretary of Defense who pointed out that there was more to the Earhart matter than anyone suspected and, “There are some possible international repercussions.” (pp. 314) It would appear that we now have gone the whole circle and we are no further ahead than we were in 1966. However, there is always the chance that we will find something that has been overlooked by the government that could add to our knowledge.
Passarrella also includes part of another Executive Order (#12937) dated 10 Nov. 1994. This EO would appear to offer some help as it is already effective and deals with the type of information we are interested in. Note the second half of the first page (just below the President’s signature), are record groups RG127 and RG226. I am trying to get an index of the material contained in these two groups. Perhaps you may have some ideas about the other groups. Let me know what you think.
I also got a letter (enclosed) from Senator [Daniel] lnouye [D] (rhymes with “annoy me”), which is in response to a letter that I sent to [Senator] Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D). It is typical of the innocuous trash we get from our representatives. Aloha, RCR
Just five years earlier, Bill Prymak couldn’t restrain his enthusiasm when he saw a September 1992 letter from the same Senator Inouye (below) to Reineck promising legislation that would finally break open the longstanding stone wall that has surrounded the Earhart case since its earliest days. Prymak was so overcome that he devoted the front pages of two AES Newsletters, the November 1992 (“Special Newsletter”) edition, headlined, in all caps, “Senator Dan Inouye, Hawaii, To Help Solve 55 Year Old Amelia Earhart Mystery,” and few months later, his February 1993 edition (below), screamed “FINALLY, PAYDIRT FOR COLONEL REINECK!!!”
Inouye was the only U.S. senator to ever actively advocate for total disclosure of the secret Earhart files. Ironically, he was a Japanese-American citizen who narrowly escaped internment during World War II. Inouye was one of only seven members of the U.S. Senate to be awarded the Medal of Honor; five of those were cited for their valor during the Civil War. With 50 more like him, we might write “Case Closed” to the problem of the Earhart disappearance — it’s never been a mystery to the Deep State in Washington.
For much more on Rollin Reineck’s attempts to break down the stone walls Washington long ago erected around the Earhart case, please see my Jan. 28, 2020 post, “Rollin Reineck’s 1990s Earhart work bears fruit: Hawaii senator pledges to open secret Earhart files,” and “Senator Inouye’s Earhart legislation would ‘declassify any records that have been classified’” of Feb. 11, 2020.
Today we conclude our review of the 1993 Amelia Earhart Symposium, held at The Flying Lady restaurant in Morgan Hill, Calif., organized by AES founder and President Bill Prymak and attended by nearly all the leading researchers and authors of the Earhart disappearance.
Names in bold capitals and other caps emphasis Prymak’s; all other bold emphasis mine.
A.E.S. SYMPOSIUM AUGUST 27-29th, 1993
LIST OF PRINCIPAL SPEAKERS
IRV PERCH: You can’t describe this guy as a “character”; there’s’ simply too much depth, warmth and charisma behind this man . . . his welcoming speech will be well remembered for the story of his 150 pair of white overalls . . . “What a character!” Hey! . . . I did say it! He IS a character!
BILL PRYMAK: Introducing principal speakers, special guests such as Bill and Nandine Southern, Bill being Neta Snook’s son; Irene & John Bolam, and a host of others. Pat Ward of the 99s a very special attendee; helped Bill immeasurably thru the early days of AES.
DON WILSON: Author of upcoming book Amelia Earhart: Lost Legend, has done a superb job of putting together an anthology of all the eye witnesses in the South Pacific associated with events immediately after July 2, 1937.
COL. ROLLIN REINECK: Describing his untiring efforts to initiate Congressional legislation to release State Dept. files that are still precluded from public scrutiny. His handouts to all attendees to be forwarded as detailed on the handout are vital to our cause: every attendee is urged to act on it! It only takes five minutes: Let’s do it NOW!
JOE GERVAIS: 1960, first AE investigation. Went to Saipan several times to interview native witnesses, first trip 1961. Visited Japan, Howland Island, Lae, Truk, Marshall Islands all in search of information leading to a solution. Joe supplied all research data for Joe Klaas’ book Amelia Earhart Lives (1970), which was nominated for COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PULITZER PRIZE in 1971 [and later pulled from all bookstores after Irene Bolam sued the publisher for defamation]. Joe to this day still keeps up a torrid pace on his quest for the truth. One of the true icons in Earhart research.
JOE KLAAS: Author of Amelia Earhart Lives (see above) . . . book now a rare classic fetching upwards of $125/copy. Felt Howard Hughes put substantial “heat” on himself and Gervais after their book suggested that possibly Japanese obtained Zero Fighter blueprints from Hughes. Hughes had great respect for the two Joes, who jointly earned approximately 30 combat medals between them. They were told by Hughes’ henchmen, “If it were not for their combat records, they would have been squashed like bugs.” A very strange story indeed.
ELGEN LONG: Put forth his theory that AE simply ran out of fuel and ditched approx. 40-75 miles NW of Howland Island. Mr. Long was heatedly contested on his position by several researchers, but, as is with AES policy, all sides are given time to plea their case.
ED MELVIN: A close associate of Art Kennedy, who was her chief engine mechanic prior to her last flight, and Ed thinks AE was approached by one of the military services to survey, not spy, on Japanese installations in the Pacific. Gave detailed insight on the personal life and accomplishments of Kennedy.
PAUL RAFFORD: Gave a detailed lecture on the radio analysis of the final flight . . . brought up serious questions re: events at Miami, where she spent one week, touching on issues as removing the 250 ft. reel-in antenna, how she blatantly refused a Pan American radio crystal that would give better coverage over the vast Pacific, how a ADF loop was installed on a “new” airplane, and the strange conduct by Amelia re: radio transmissions during her final hours. Technically, a superb presentation.
ANN PELLEGRENO telling of her appearance at the 1976 99/Zonta meeting at which a “shorter” Irene Bolam was to speak. (I wish the SYMPOSIUM could have made more time for Ann to tell of her fascinating trip around the world in an Electra 10, replicating the Amelia Earhart flight thirty years later–ED.) Ann was our helpful GOFER GAL!
BUDDY BRENNAN who has done much research in the Pacific, and is author of the book Eyewitness to the Execution: The Odyssey of Amelia Earhart (1988), tells of his interview with BILAMON AMARON, who treated in 1937 at Jaluit the wounds of two American flyers, one a woman, and who saw a twin-engine silver airplane, Japanese, on the fantail of the Japanese ship.
GENE TISSOT related how his dad was her mechanic on the VEGA and went to Hawaii with her to prep the plane for its historic flight to Oakland. “Amelia was an average pilot,” states his dad.
ELLIS BAILEY told how during the Saipan invasion in WWII remains of two flyers, purportedly downed before the war, were secretly transported away from the Island of Saipan.
JO ANN RIDLEY: Co-author of the fascinating book High Times, Keeping ‘Em Flying, recounting interesting tidbits from her book regarding Art Kennedy and his close relationship with Amelia. Jo Ann did for AES all the grunt work of putting together a superb detailed record of the entire SYMPOSIUM . . . available upon request.
ALBERT BRESNIK: set up a magnificent display of photos he personally took of Amelia. Albert was the only person at the SYMPOSIUM who had personal contact with Amelia Earhart, and his talk sharing with us his private time with Amelia was very moving.
NOTICE! Albert has shown the AES a proof of the group photo taken at the SYMPOSIUM: it’s a great memento, and it’s a MUST for everybody who attended: Send $10.00 for each mounted copy (8½ x 11) to:
16843 Sunset Blvd.
Pacific Palisades, CA. 90272
Telephone 310 454-1825
JERRY STEIGMANN: Our most provocative speaker of the entire SYMPOSIUM. Jerry is an ex-NYPD forensic specialist who has carried on his research on the AE mystery for over 40 years, and his dogged investigations have led him to some startling conclusions:
1. Amelia Earhart was a “double agent” working simultaneously for the Marine Corps, ONI, plus the Japanese JOHOKYOKU.
2. Since the early 1920s, AE had been in contact with Admiral YAMAMOTO and the Japanese naval intelligence.
3. The “staggering revelations” gleaned from Japanese intelligence, services survivors, and former members of the Japanese Imperial Household guards, who are now dispersed, to the far flung corners of the globe, have avoided news media in an effort to thwart any uncover the of the mystery of “Mata Hari of the Pacific Skies.”
4. Amelia Earhart was the real reason that Gen. MacArthur declined to prosecute Emperor Hirohito as a war criminal, and why he covered up the many atrocities committed by the Japanese Army Medical Corps in the Pacific.
5. MacArthur feared that Hirohito would disclose to the world the role that Amelia Earhart played in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Mr. Steigmann claims to have documentation to all of the above statements, and will in short time present it in book form to the American Public. Good luck! (End of A COMPENDIUM ON THE SYMPOSIUM.)
Jerome Steigmann may have been the most “provocative” speaker at the three-day symposium, as Prymak euphemistically described Steigmann’s disturbed exploration into Earhart fantasy, but he was far from the most credible, nor was the nearly incoherent spillage of Ellis Bailey, who joined Steigmann in capturing top honors in the Earhart lunatic fringe category. Steigmann never produced the book he promised, nor any evidence to support his outrageous claims, and passed away in Phoenix, Ariz., in May 2003 at age 77.
Bailey, who died in 2004, also didn’t author a book, but his serial letter-writing adventures qualified him to join Steigmann, James A. Donahue, Robert Myers and others among the disreputable ranks of Fred Goerner’s “totally irresponsible weirdo fringe” in the annals of Earhart lore.
For much more on Ellis Bailey’s extensive Earhart fantasies, please see my Aug. 17, 2017 post, “From forgotten files of the Earhart lunatic fringe: The incredible tale of Ellis Bailey and USS Vega.”
We continue with our visit to the first and only Amelia Earhart Symposium held and sponsored by the Amelia Earhart Society, in August 1993 in Morgan Hill, Calif., an event that AES founder Bill Prymak modestly labeled a “measured success.”
Today we present the first-person account of the symposium proceedings as recorded by AES member Jo Ann Ridley, who, with Art Kennedy, co-authored High Times: Keeping ‘Em Flying: An Aviation Autobiography (1992). Boldface emphasis mine throughout; underline and caps emphasis author’s.
“AMELIA EARHART SYMPOSIUM
AUGUST 27-29, 1993”
By: Jo Ann Ridley
When Amelia Earhart failed to reach Howland Island during a 1937 attempt to fly around the world, her disappearance in the South Pacific created a mystery that after fifty-six years intrigues the American public nearly as much as the JFK assassination, and seems no closer to a solution.
But not for want of trying. As 70 members of the Amelia Earhart Society heard during a recent members-only symposium in Morgan Hill, California, twin bills introduced by Hawaii’s Senator Daniel Inouye and Congresswoman Patsy Mink would declassify and transmit all relevant government records to the Library of Congress for public perusal.
Col. Rollin Reineck, USAF (Ret.), responsible for gaining the collective ear of his Hawaii congressional contingent, is suspicious of government protestations that all Earhart material has been released. Major Joe Gervais, USAF (Ret.), after thirty-three years of investigation considered the “dean” of Earhart research, claims that until the United States government does release classified documents he believes still are kept hidden from view, the mystery of Earhart’s disappearance never will be solved.
During the three-day closed session in August, impressively accredited researchers took to the podium to offer persuasive and well-documented hypotheses about what really happened to Amelia Earhart, and why. Not surprisingly, their theories are as diverse as their backgrounds.
A retired Pan American Airways radio man, recreating with charts her radio transmissions and presumed flight path, wondered why Earhart initially refused his airline’s offer to help track her across the Pacific. A retired airline pilot totally committed to an assumption that Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan perished when they crashed in the ocean, pleaded for acceptance of the flyer’s last radio transmissions as evidence of the truth of her predicament and ultimate fate. On the other hand, AES president, Bill Prymak, the Denver business man who has traveled the world and sailed the South Pacific with Gervais in pursuit of Earhart data, told of their encounter with “uncontaminated” Marshallese witnesses who confirmed published reports that Earhart and Noonan were captured by the Japanese.
A retired New York Police Department forensic expert presented a sheaf of government documents he says indicate that as early as 1923 Earhart had been selected by the U.S. military to participate in a secret “Orange Plan” and was on a photo mission when she vanished. Like Gervais, he believes Earhart returned to the United States after the war, but not as the Irene Bolam described in the book “Amelia Earhart Lives” by California writer Joe Klaas, based on material furnished by Gervais.
It was Klaas who related in spine-tingling detail the harassment he and Gervais experienced at the hands of minions of Howard Hughes, who Klaas intimated in his book may have provided the Japanese with a design for the Zero fighter in an attempt to gain Earhart’s release. The harassment ended with Hughes’s death, but not before the powerful millionaire recluse sent the two a message to the effect that had it not been for their distinguished combat records in World War II, he’d have “squashed you like bugs,” to quote the Hughes messenger Klaas heard say it. Thanks to efforts either of Hughes or the U. S. government and a cooperative publisher, Amelia Earhart Lives is virtually unobtainable today, with first editions fetching up to $100 a copy.
[Editor’s note: Amelia Earhart Lives was republished by iUniverse in March 2000 and has been available ever since for a pittance on Amazon. Not that I recommend it for casual readers, but the 1960 interviews by Operation Earhart operatives Gervais and Robert Dinger on Guam and Saipan were valuable contributions; otherwise the rest of AE Lives presents only bizarre and ridiculous speculation, and probably did more damage to honest Earhart research than any book ever published.]
As if that weren’t enough on-the-spot intrigue, the final day of the symposium featured several witnesses to the possibility that Earhart, having survived capture and imprisonment when her country failed to extricate her from a mission of their own making, was quietly repatriated by an embarrassed U.S. government under the assumed identity of a New Jersey woman.
Julie Perch, whose father operates the famous aviation theme restaurant “The Flying Lady,” where the symposium took place under 120 model airplanes circling overhead, related her bizarre encounter with Irene Bolam in New York City in 1976. For many, it was bizarre enough to force a conclusion that Bolam either was Earhart or, slightly confused, was afraid that she was. The late Bolam’s best friend was a special guest at the Symposium and confirmed that she saw stacks of files in a closet marked “AE,” and that a silver hair brush set bore the initials “AE.” Bolam’s brother-in-law and his wife said they remembered an intelligent, “classy” lady who was a world traveler, had famous friends, and could talk knowledgeably about airplanes of the twenties and thirties. But all agreed that if you dared to ask if she were Amelia Earhart, you were no longer her friend. None would admit they thought Bolam was Amelia Earhart, but none of them would positively claim that she was not. Photographs of both women elicited various opinions about a resemblance.
[Editor’s note: Only the blind could see any resemblance between the slim, attractive, 5’8″ Earhart and the far shorter, stodgy Irene Bolam. In late December 2015, I began a four-part analysis and overview of the entire Irene Bolam fraud. If you’re new here or want to revisit one of the most ridiculous chapters of the Earhart saga, please click here for the entire series.]
The symposium ended on the following note: no solutions yet, but banding together presents a united front for the record in Earhart research. More information constantly is being retrieved and someday the truth will be known.
The only unanimous conclusion during the sometimes hot and heavy debate was that The International Group For Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) did not find remains either of the Earhart Electra nor her belongings on Nikumaroro (Gardner) Island as claimed by its director Richard Gillespie. Cited were independent reports from three former Lockheed employees who worked on the plane emphatically denying that a piece of the belly of an aircraft located by Gillespie could be from the Earhart Electra. Nor was it possible that the size 9 shoe sole Gillespie offered as having belonged to the famed aviatrix actually was hers. Earhart wore a size 6 shoe, which Gillespie already had been told by Lou Foudray, curator of the Amelia Earhart birth-home in Atchison, Kansas, before releasing the information.
Amelia’s presence at the symposium was all the more palpable by the affectionate display of photographs taken by Albert Bresnik of Los Angeles, who was Earhart’s personal photographer and originally was slated to fly with her to record the journey. Others among the intent participants, who came from all over the U.S., were several members of Ninety-Nines, the women flyers organization Amelia Earhart helped to establish. Michelle Stauffer, a Kansas aircraft dealer and the first woman ever to fly a Russian SU-27 jet fighter, and Ann Pellegreno, who in 1967 successfully duplicated and completed Earhart’s 1937 flight represented two generations of women pilots devoted to Earhart’s memory.
Two more books about Earhart are due out within the next few months. An anthology of eyewitness accounts assembled by Don Wilson of Rochester, New York, will be published in November under the title Amelia Earhart: Lost Legend. Bloomsbury Publishing will bring out Lost Star: The Search for Amelia Earhart by Gervais associate Randall Brink in November.
End of Part II.