National Geographic Society Newsroom

Amelia Earhart, first woman to receive National Geographic’s special medal for exploration

Before one of the most distinguished audiences ever assembled in Washington, D.C., President Hoover presented Amelia Earhart with the National Geographic Society's Special Gold medal for her solo plane flight across the Atlantic. It was the first of the Society's historic medals to be bestowed upon a woman, National Geographic Magazine reported in its September 1932 issue. ...

Before one of the most distinguished audiences ever assembled in Washington, D.C., President Hoover presented Amelia Earhart with the National Geographic Society’s Special Gold medal for her solo plane flight across the Atlantic.

The opening pages of the National Geographic article about Amelia Earhart’s special award ceremony.

It was the first of the Society’s historic medals to be bestowed upon a woman, National Geographic Magazine reported in its September 1932 issue. The ceremony took place on June 21, in Constitution Hall, “national auditorium of a woman’s organization, the Daughters of the American Revolution,” the magazine added. Apart from the President of the United States, in the audience were “enough Senators and Representatives to make a quorum in either House of Congress,” the report continued.

More than 10,000 requests were received for tickets to the event, but as fewer than 4,000 could be accommodated arrangements were made for the public to listen in through a network of 38 stations of the National  Broadcasting Company. The highlight of the evening was Earhart’s first public account of her transatlantic flight,  a transcript of which you may read here,

On July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared on one of the last legs of their around-the-world flight. “They were aiming for tiny Howland Island just north of the equator in the central Pacific Ocean,” Michael Greshko writes in a July 2017 article for National Geographic. “They couldn’t find Howland, however—and despite many attempts, no one has been able to find them since.” Read Greshko’s article: Top 3 Theories for Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance

Additional National Geographic media about Amelia Earhart:

For more information on Amelia Earhart and other National Geographic explorers, dig through our timeline here.

Amelia Earhart and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt pose by NGS flag at a luncheon in 1935.

About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of the world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 14,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit www.nationalgeographic.org or follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Meet the Author

David Max Braun
More than forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Max Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. In his 22-year career at National Geographic he was VP and editor in chief of National Geographic Digital Media, and the founding editor of the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directed the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. A regular expert on National Geographic Expeditions, David also lectures on storytelling for impact. He has 120,000 followers on social media: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn