Born in Atchison, Kansas in the home of her maternal grandfather, the daughter of a German railroad attorney, Amelia spent most of her childhood in numerous towns. Earhart was named, according to family custom, after her two grandmothers (Amelia Josephine Harres and Mary Wells Patton). Both Amelia and younger sister, Grace Muriel had an unconventional upbringing or childhood since their mother (Amy Otis Earhart) did not believe in raising her daughters into “nice little girls”. Amelia spent much of her early childhood in the upper-middle class household of her maternal grandparents. Amelia's mother, Amy Otis married a man who showed much potential, but had never been able to break the bonds of alcohol. Edwin Earhart was on a constant search to establish his career and put the family on a firm financial foundation. When the situation got bad, Amy would shuttle Amelia and her sister Muriel to their grandparents' home. There they sought out adventures, exploring the neighbourhood, climbing trees, hunting for rats, and taking breathtaking rides on Amelia's sled.
At age 19, Amelia attended Ogontz School near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two years later after visiting her sister, Muriel, in Toronto, Canada, Amelia felt compelled to leave school. Taking a course in Red Cross First Aid, Amelia enlisted as a nurse's aide at Spadina Military Hospital in Toronto, Canada. The following year, she enrolled as a premedical student at Columbia University in New York. Shortly thereafter, Amelia's parents insisted she move to California where they were living.
In 1920, Earhart took a plane ride that transformed her life. It was only ten minutes, but when she landed she knew she had to learn to fly. Working at a variety of jobs, from photographer to truck driver, she earned enough money to take flying lessons from pioneer female aviator Anita Snook. Earhart submerged herself in learning to fly. She read everything she could find on flying, and spent much of her time at the airfield. In the summer of 1921, Earhart purchased a second-hand Kinner Airster biplane painted bright yellow. She nicknamed it "The Canary," and set out to make a name for herself in aviation. On October 22, 1922, she flew her plane to 14,000 feet—the world altitude record for female pilots. On May 15, 1923, Amelia Earhart became the 16th woman to be issued a pilot's license.
Amelia made great strides in opening the new field of aviation to women. As a pilot, Amelia Earhart set many world flying records. In 1935, she became the first person to fly from Hawaii to the American mainland. By doing so, Amelia became not only the first person to fly solo anywhere in the Pacific, but also the first person to fly across both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. She also set several heights and speed records in an airplane. Earhart received the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for many of her records, having won multiple competitions and flown in many air shows. She joined the faculty of the Purdue University aviation department in 1935 as a visiting faculty member to counsel women on careers and to help inspire others with her love for flying. She was likewise a member of the National Woman's Party, and an early