Monday, December 10, 2012


"I know there may be compensations, but I have no heart to look ahead."

Purdue University let Amelia Earhart's prenup fly around the webs this weekend. Feministing calls it "a pretty darn modern vision of marriage" and folks are thumbs upping like crazy on the Tumblrs. Knowing nothing of her romance with George Putnam, my loudest thought after reading was, "Don't do it!" Take a look.

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Gosh, I agree! Such grim resolve.

Allie J

It just made me feel sad.


@Allie J It helps to put this in the context that at the time, all the women she saw who got married stopped working and started having babies, and that this was the main point of marriage, and she was not at all interested in that. Now, marriage doesn't have to mean that, in part as a result of forward-thinking women such as Amelia who didn't feel as though they should be tied down just because they loved someone. At least that's my interpretation - granted, this letter is lacking in compassion, but it's just one letter - it doesn't seem fair to extrapolate to their entire relationship. That's like looking at one serious IM conversation between me and my boyfriend and deciding that we don't send each other cat gifs constantly, which would be extremely inaccurate.


@highfivesforall Love in the Time of Cat Gifs


@wee_ramekin Exactly - that was my computer background for awhile. The grumpiest of all cats. I was considering getting his christmas cards this year, but I think most of my relatives wouldn't get it - they'd think it was a picture of my own cat or something, and be insulted by the sentiment. Also they're sold out, so.

Roxanne Rholes

@highfivesforall @spex I actually read this situation as really sweet, in a weird way. His response to this letter was to agree to her requests, and marry her even though she basically told him she wasn't confident it was going to work. Especially for the time, I think that shows a lot of respect for her career and her goals, and he as willing to put a lot on the line, personally and professionally, to be with her. And maybe she recognized that, and figured it was worth a shot.


"Are there any books of that sort nowadays? The only ones I ever see mentioned in the papers are about married couples who find life grey, and can't stick each other at any price."


If the best you can muster to a marriage proposal is a hearty, "Ehhhuummm yeah, sure, I guess," it's possible—possible—that your answer should instead be, "No."


@Emby If my fiance sent me that letter, it would definitely be time to break things off.


It was the hexagram of the heavens
It was the strings of my guitar
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

runner in the garden

Amelia, It Was Really Nothing


Well, I think that Earhart succeeded in at least one way: the primary thing I know about her is that she was an aviator. I didn't even know that she was married. From this letter, it looks like she'd approve of that legacy.


@wee_ramekin Kind of related: I know we're supposed to frown on terms like this, but I am so fond of the word aviatrix. (And other archaic gender-specific job descriptions, like poetess).

Nicole Cliffe

HAVE you seen "The Drowsy Chaperone"???


@Decca Ditto. We have to change all our "suffragettes" to "suffragists", which always makes me a little sad.

fondue with cheddar

@Decca I don't like the -ess ones, but I also love the -trix ones.


@fondue with cheddar I'm fond of comedienne, myself.


I think that letter is the saddest thing I have ever read. Bleak desperation.

fondue with cheddar


"In this connection 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 confinement of even an attractive cage."


@fondue with cheddar: "The journey to such a place may require that I solo pilot a small plane."

fondue with cheddar

@laurel Yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking.


I don't know: she says they've talked about this before, so none of it should be startling or sad news to the intended audience. It's very solemn in tone, but I'd want to talk about kids, monogamy and careers before getting married too, and those are serious conversations!

It's also worth noting that marriage then and marriage now can be quite different. There's less social pressure on me today to get married and pop a few kiddos out and devote my entire life to raising them and tending to the home, which, frankly, I'd be about as enthusiastic about that as AE is in her letter. No matter how much I loved GPP-equivalent.


GP was also a business manager of sorts, and more of a like-minded companion than a paramour. There may have been a profound love between them, but it's not the passionate all-consuming strain of love that populates fiction. AE definitely had lovers and GP likely did too. My reading has always been two people with a deep connection who understand each other and know they can't fulfill the other completely.

Also, Purdue has an amazing collection of AE artifacts, most of which you can peruse online.


Guys it is a prenup those things aren't all flowered heart candies and butterflies. This is probably veers on the more romantic side of a prenup.

Nicole Cliffe

I have a prenup, and I like to think it went down like Liz and Jack renegotiating her contract.


medieval. medieval. medieval.

J Walter Weatherman

Good thing she was abducted by aliens in 1937 and sent to the Delta Quadrant so she could be frozen, and then thawed in the 24th century to start a new life on a different planet.

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