National Archives News

Records Relating to Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan disappeared during their attempt at a round-the-world flight in July 1937. The National Archives contains records relating to the proposed flight and the search for their airplane.

refer to caption

"Amelia Earhart prior to last takeoff." Records of the U.S. Coast Guard, RG 26, NAID 6708612.

refer to caption


Letter from Amelia Earhart to President Franklin D. Roosevelt regarding her world flight. November 10, 1936. Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. NAID 6705943 (3 pages)

refer to caption


Amelia Earhart, July 1936. Records of the Army Air Forces, RG 18, NAID 6708609.


refer to caption


U.S. Navy Report of the Search for Amelia Earhart, July 2-18, 1937. Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, RG 38. NAID 305240 (96 pages)

refer to caption

Report, p. 1, dated January 7, 1939, on information that Earhart was a prisoner in the Marshall Islands. Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, RG 38, Entry 81, General Correspondence, 1929-1942, File A4-3/Earhart, Box #70

refer to caption

Report, p. 2, dated January 7, 1939, on information that Earhart was a prisoner in the Marshall Islands. Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, RG 38, Entry 81, General Correspondence, 1929-1942, File A4-3/Earhart, Box #70

refer to caption

Report, p. 3, dated January 7, 1939, on information that Earhart was a prisoner in the Marshall Islands. Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, RG 38, Entry 81, General Correspondence, 1929-1942, File A4-3/Earhart, Box #70

Explore other digital objects and descriptions in the National Archives Catalog.

The lists below provide more detailed descriptions of records in the National Archives in Washington, DC, College Park, MD, and San Francisco, CA.

National Archives in Washington, DC, and at College Park, MD

The list indicates records held in Washington with [DC] and in College Park with [CP]. Please note the location if you are requesting information about ordering copies.

Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Record Group 24 [DC]

Includes the deck logs of the USS Colorado, Ontario, and Swan, vessels engaged in the search for the lost Earhart plane in the vicinity of the Howland and Phoenix Islands during the period July 1-19, 1937. The total number of pages of log entries for the period of the search is 71.

Records of the United States Coast Guard, Record Group 26 [DC]
Available on Reference Microfilm – 4 Rolls

Correspondence File "601 Itasca" for 1937

1.  Cruise report of the Itasca for the period during which it was searching for Amelia Earhart, together with a letter and two cables. 14 pages.

2.  Track chart showing the area searched by the Itasca. 1 page.

Correspondence File "601 Amelia Earhart"

1.  Copy of the radio log of the Itasca. June 9-July 16, 1937, with official remarks and opinions. 106 pages.

2.  Copies of cables and radiograms, February-April and June-July 1937, relating to preparations for the flight and to the search for the plane.  159 pages.

3.  Transcripts of the logbook of the Itasca, June 22?26 and July 1-23, 1937. 57 pages.

4.  Copy of the communications log of the Itasca. 43 pages.

5.  Photographs of Amelia Earhart, the plane, and related subjects. 26 items.

Records of the Hydrographic Office, (Record Group 37) [DC]

Includes a 25-page file of correspondence and newspaper clippings relating to the proposed Earhart flight and the search for the plane. File Designation – A4-3; Box 22.  General Correspondence. 

Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, (Record Group 38) [CP & DC]

A1 entry 351 - 84 page "Report of Earhart Search by U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, July 2-18, 1937."  Available online: [CP]

Includes a file on Amelia Earhart among the general correspondence of the Office of Naval Intelligence. This file consists of 170 pages of correspondence and reports relating to the flight of Amelia Earhart but also includes a report, dated January 7, 1939, on information that Earhart was a prisoner in the Marshall Islands. Entry 81, General Correspondence, 1929-1942, File A4-3/Earhart, Box #70 [DC]

General Records of the Department of Commerce (Record Group 40) [CP]

General Correspondence Files 101232 and 83272/126 relating to Amelia Earhart. 45 pages.

General Records of the Department of State (Record Group 59) [CP]

Decimal File 811.76940 EARHART, AMELIA/1: Document dated June 17, 1928, concerning her flight from the United States to Europe with Wilbur Stulta. 6 pages.

Decimal File 841.413 EARHART/1: Document dated August 9, 1930, concerning dedication of a monument to Earhart at Burryport, Wales. 2 pages.

Decimal File 811.001 HOOVER, HERBERT/2629: Musical composition dated July 29, 1932, dedicated to "Lady Lindy" from two British composers. 5 pages.

Decimal File 124.023/33: Documents dated August 8, 1932, concerning an advertisement in the Keystone, a jewelry trade magazine, in which Earhart endorsed a Swiss-made watch in a letter written on American Embassy stationery. 5 pages.

Decimal File 093.115/111: Citation dated July 23, 1937, including a replica of a medal presented to Earhart at the Gimbel Brothers Banquet in Philadelphia, honoring her as "Woman of the Year for 1932," and cover letter to the Secretary of State with acknowledgement. The medal replica is bronze, 15/16 inches in diameter, inscribed "Amelia Earhart, First Woman in the World to Fly Alone Across the Atlantic Ocean." 2 pages.

Decimal File 862i.01/333: Letter dated June 17, 1939, from Senator Gerald P. Nye to the Secretary of State, and the reply. Nye's letter concerns allegations in an Australian weekly that the search for Earhart was used as a cover for espionage against Japanese possessions in the Pacific. There is a reply from the Secretary of State denying the story. A photographic copy of the newspaper articles is included. 9 pages.

Decimal File 800.79611 PUTNAM, AMELIA EARHART/1-212: File dated June 1936-May 1940 concerning Earhart's flight around the world.  Many of the documents are despatches and instructions relating to clearance for her flight from countries over which she proposed to fly.  Some material concerns her disappearance and the subsequent search for some trace of her or her aircraft.  Also includes unverified reports of her whereabouts. 364 pages. There is also a 19-page index to this file.

General Records of the Department of the Navy, (Record Group 80) [DC]

Includes an 84 page "Report of Earhart Search by U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, July 2-18, 1937."  There is also a 27-page file concerning her proposed round-the-world flight.  File Code A4-5 (5) (361030-4) General Correspondence 1926-1940.

Records of the Office of the Adjutant General, (Record Group 94) – Army Records [DC]

Includes an 81 page file relating to the Trans-Pacific and round-the-world flight of Amelia Earhart.

Records of the Office of Territories (Record Group 126) [CP]

Central Classified Files, 1907-51, Equatorial Islands. 

Aviation-General, file 9-12-21. December 3, 1936-May 12, 1938. Correspondence relating to Earhart's round the world trip stop at Howland Island and the Itasca's search efforts. 133 pages.

Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs, (Record Group 165) [DC]

Includes 17 pages concerning Amelia Earhart among several files of the Military Intelligence Division. These consist of a 10 page summary of her flight, several reports concerning her goodwill flight to Mexico in 1935, and two letters dated July 8, 1937, and November 1, 1939, from civilians who claimed to have received messages from Earhart.

National Archives Gift Collection (Record Group 200) [CP]

Papers donated by Leo G. Bellart, a crew member of the Itasca:

1.  Radio log of the Itasca. 3 pages.

2.  Newspaper clippings relating to the search for Amelia Earhart. 20 pages.

3.  Correspondence of Leo G. Bellart. 67 pages.

4.  Scrapbook containing various types of information. 152 pages.

Records of U.S. Army Overseas Operations and Commands, (Record Group 395) [DC]

Include among the records of the Air Officer, Hawaiian Department, the proceedings of a board of officers to investigate the crash of Amelia Earhart at Luke Field on March 20, 1937, and a report, dated July 27, 1937, on the search for her plane. The proceedings total 56 pages and the report 10 pages.

Records of the Federal Aviation Administration (Record Group 237) [CP]

Correspondence Files 805.0, 805.3 and 835 relating to Amelia Earhart.  329 pages.


National Archives at San Francisco

Records Relating to Amelia Earhart's Flight and Search Efforts

RG 181 Records of Naval Districts and Shore Establishments, 14th Naval District, Commandant's Office

General Correspondence (unclassified) 1925-1942.

[NM 72, Entry # 49] Box 92



A4-3/Earhart "Report of Earhart Search by U.S. Navy & U.S Coast Guard 2-18 July 1937" (94 pgs)

A4-3/Earhart [1] [2/15/37 to 3/2D/37] (273 pgs)  (This file contains correspondence and radio messages related to the earlier failed start.)

A4-3/Earhart [2] [4/4/37 to 7/6/37] (Radio Messages) (250 pgs)

A4-3/Earhart [3] [7/6/37 to 7/9/37] (Radio Messages) (181 pgs)

A4-3/Earhart [4] [7/9/37 to 7/12/37] (Radio Messages) (157 pgs)

A4-3/Earhart [5] [7/12/37 to 7/20/37] (Radio Messages) (162 pgs)


Commandant's Earhart Search Charts, 1937

Folder # 1:

U.S.S. Lexington Proposed & Actual Time Search Track  (5 ft. long)

U.S.S. Colorado, U.S.S. Swan and U.S.C.G. Itasca Search Areas July 2-11, 1937 (4 ft. long)

Track of USS Lamson 11 July 19 July 1937 while engaged with Earhart Search Group (2 ft. long)

Photostat of above 8 1/2 X 11 (1 pg)

Howland Island layout 8 1/2 X 11 (1 pg)

USS Lexington and Attached Aircraft Tract Chart, Earhart Search 13-18 July 1937 (3 ft. long)

Track of USS Swan 3 July 21 July 1937 (3 ft. long)

Itasca Search for Earhart Plane 2-18 July 1937, 12" X 12" (1 pg)

Same as above 20" X 12"  (2 pgs)

USS Drayton (366) Navigational Chart Earhart Search, 11-18 July 1937, 8 1/2" X 11" photostat (1 pg)

Tract of USS Cushing Earhart Search Group 11-18 July 1937,  14" X 11 1/2" photostat (1 pg)

Tract of USS Colorado, USS Swan and USCG Itasca

overlap 14" X 20" (2 pgs)


Folder #2

Earhart Search #2 1937 [Position Plotting Sheet showing areas searched by Itasca 2-6 July 1937& by Swan 6,8 July 1937] (4 ft. long)

Earhart Search #26 1937 [Plot Chart Showing Plots of Search Ships & Planes] (5 ft. long)

Earhart Search 1937 [Chart showing all planes and ships' tracks and search areas.] (5 ft. long)

[Earhart Search Chart] [Same as above some corrections] (2 ft. long)

Tract of USS Cushing Earhart Search Group, 11-18 July 1937 (2 ft. long)



General Correspondence (Unclassified) 1926-1939

(NM 72, Entry # 38) box 490 RA 3051 B


A21(1) General Correspondence [Earhart Flight & Search, [#1] [21 Jan. 1937 to 21 July 193/] (92 pgs)

A21(1) General Correspondence [Earhart Flight & Search Radio Messages 20 June-19 July 1937] [#2] (174 pgs)



General Correspondence (Unclassified) [313-D8G-3440, (V9723), RA 2268B]

File: A4-3 (1) Earhart Flight [15 Feb 1937 to 20 July 1937] (Messages & Correspondence) (114 pgs)


In the news . . .

refer to caption

PL - MARSHALL ISLANDS, JALUIT ATOLL, JALUIT ISLAND. ONI # 14381 JALUIT HARBOR. Citation: U.S. National Archives, Records of the Office of Naval Intelligence, Record Group 38, Monograph Files Relating to the Pacific Ocean Area, NAID 68141661)


News reports and a television documentary in July 2017 suggested that this image, part of the National Archives' holdings, may show missing pilot Amelia Earhart and her navigator Frederick Noonan on the Marshall Islands after her disappearance over the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937. The National Archives' mission is to preserve and provide access to the historical records. We encourage you to review the records in order to form your opinions.