Sunday, January 18, 2009

Background info: GP and Fred Noonan

George Putnam

Early life

Born in Rye, New York, he was the son of John Bishop Putnam and the grandson of his namesake, George Palmer Putnam, who was the founder of the prominent publishing firm that became G. P. Putnam's Sons. He studied at Harvard University and the University of California.

During World War I, George Putnam served with the United States Army field artillery. In 1926, under the sponsorship of the American Museum of Natural History, he led an expedition to the Arctic, up the west coast of Greenland. The following year he headed another expedition for the American Geographical Society to collect wildlife specimens on Baffin Island.

In 1911, he married Dorothy Binney, the daughter of Edwin Binney inventor and co-owner, with cousin C. Harold Smith, of Binney & Smith Inc., the company that made Crayola crayons. They had two sons, David Binney Putnam and George Palmer Putnam, Jr., and for a time lived in Bend, Oregon where Putnam was the publisher and editor of the local newspaper, the Bend Bulletin. He was mayor of Bend from 1912 to 1913.[1] He left Bend in 1915 to became the private secretary to Oregon governor James Withycombe.[1] Putnam was also the manager and editor of the Medford, Oregon Mail Tribune, and in 1980 he was inducted into the Oregon Newspaper Hall of Fame for his work there.[2] He created the Mail Tribune in 1909 after combining two newspapers, the Mail and the Tribune, and ran the paper until 1919.[3] (NOTE: picture I've seen of him in Oregon, he had a full beard)

Business interests

Within a few years, the family moved back to the East Coast where George Putnam entered the family publishing business in New York City. There, he was responsible for the publication of the Charles Lindbergh autobiography We. Because of his reputation for working with Lindbergh, he was contacted in 1928 by Amy Guest, a wealthy American living in London who wanted to sponsor the first-ever flight by a woman across the Atlantic Ocean.

Amelia Earhart

Ms. Guest asked Putnam to find a suitable candidate and he eventually came up with the still then unknown, Amelia Earhart. Following her successful flight, Putnam organized Earhart's public engagements and speaking tour across the United States. Shortly after, he took charge of promoting her career and arranged for endorsement contracts with a luggage manufacturer and a line of ladies' sportswear. In addition, Putnam published two books Earhart wrote about her flying adventures.

In 1930, the various Putnam heirs voted to merge the family's publishing firm with Minton, Balch & Co. who became the majority stockholders. George P. Putnam resigned from his position as secretary of G. P. Putnam's Sons and joined New York publishers, Brewer & Warren as vice president. Having divorced in 1929, the extensive amount of time Putnam spent with Amelia Earhart resulted in an intimate relationship and, in 1931, they married.

During their marriage, Putnam continued to manage his wife's career. On a personal level, they shared many common interests: hiking, swimming, camping, riding, tennis and golf. Following his wife's 1937 disappearance while attempting to set another flying record, Putnam published Earhart's biography in 1939 under the title Soaring Wings. Putnam later donated many of Earhart's belongings, including a flight jacket, to Purdue University where she had worked as a career counsellor. Other personal effects were sent to the Women's Archives in New York. In 1938, he set up a new publishing company, George Palmer Putnam Inc. in California.

George Putnam's offices:

They were at GP Putnam and Sons, 2 W. 45th street - corner of 5th avenue. There was a hotel at 50 W. 45th, the Seymour where AE got telegrams sent to her - Apparently they maintained a suite there as well. (NOTE: there's a Guest Quarters Hotel at 40 W. 45th, which looks like it's an old building, and there are pix of it).

West 45th street was publisher's row - across the street at 9 w. 45th was a publisher of religious books. However, the biggest landmark across the street was a building at 25. w 45th - this was where the New Yorker was located from 1925-35. a ref:

"The first offices of The New Yorker were located at 25 W. 45th St. This building was owned by Raoul Fleischmann, heir to a yeast fortune, and the main investor in getting The New Yorker off the ground. The magazine had its first offices here, from 1925-1935."

Other publishers were located in that building - for all intents across the street - The other closest landmark was the Astor Place theater at the corner of 45th and Broadway. If George had a corner office, for example, and looked down over Times Square in the distance, he might have had a view of the Astor.

from Wikipedia and other sources.

Fredrick Joseph Noonan

(4 April 1893 – missing 2 July 1937, declared dead 20 June 1938[1]) was a flight navigator, sea captain and aviation pioneer who first charted many commercial airline routes across the Pacific Ocean during the 1930s. He was last seen in Lae, New Guinea on 2 July 1937 and disappeared with Amelia Earhart somewhere over the western Pacific during their World Flight.

Early life and maritime career

Noonan was born in Cook County (Chicago), Illinois. His parents were Joseph T. Noonan (born in Maine around 1865) and Catherine Egan (born in England). Noonan's father died when he was four, and three years later a census report lists him as living alone in a Chicago boarding house, although relatives or family friends were likely caring for him. In his own words, Noonan "left school in summer of 1905 and went to Seattle, Washington,"[2] where he found work as a seaman.

At the age of 15, Noonan shipped out of Seattle as an ordinary seaman on a British sailing bark, the Compton. Between 1910 and 1915, Noonan worked on over a dozen ships, rising to the ratings of quartermaster and bosun's mate. He continued working on merchant and Royal Navy ships throughout the First World War. Serving as an officer on munitions ships, his harrowing wartime service included being on three vessels that were sunk by U-boats. [3] After the war, Noonan continued in the merchant marine and achieved a measure of prominence as a ship's officer. Throughout the 1920s, his maritime career was characterized by steadily increasing ratings and "good" (typically the highest) work performance reviews. Noonan married Josephine Sullivan in 1927 at Jackson, Mississippi. After a honeymoon in Cuba they settled in New Orleans.

Navigator for Pan Am

Following a distinguished 22-year career at sea that included sailing around Cape Horn seven times (on three occasions under sail)[3], Noonan contemplated a new career direction. After learning to fly in the late 1920s[3], he received a "limited commercial pilot's license" in 1930, on which he listed his occupation as "aviator." The following year he was awarded "license #121190, Class Master, any ocean,"[4] the qualifications of a ship's captain.[5] During the early 1930s, he worked for Pan American World Airways as a navigation instructor in Miami and an airport manager in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, eventually assuming the duties of inspector for all of the company's airports.

In March 1935, Noonan was the navigator on the first Pan Am Sikorsky S-42 clipper at San Francisco Bay. In April, he navigated the historic, round-trip China Clipper flight between San Francisco and Honolulu, piloted by Ed Musick (who was featured on the cover of Time magazine that year). Noonan was subsequently responsible for mapping Pan Am's clipper routes across the Pacific, participating in many flights to Midway and Wake Island, Guam, the Philippines and Hong Kong. In addition to more modern navigational tools, the licensed sea captain was known for carrying a ship's sextant on these flights.

1937 was a year of transition for Fred Noonan, whose reputation as an expert navigator, along with his role in the development of commercial airline navigation, had already earned him a place in aviation history. The tall, very thin, brown-haired and blue-eyed 43-year-old navigator was living in Los Angeles. He resigned from Pan Am because he felt he had risen through the ranks as far as he could as a navigator, and had interest in starting a navigation school. In March, he obtained a divorce from his wife Josie in Juarez, Mexico. Two weeks later, he married Mary Bea Martinelli (born Passadori) of Oakland, California. Noonan was rumored to be a heavy drinker, but this was fairly common during the era and there is no evidence it ever interfered with his reliability or accuracy as a navigator.[6]

Amelia Earhart met Noonan through mutual connections in the Los Angeles aviation community and chose him to serve as her navigator on her World Flight in the Lockheed Electra 10E she had purchased with funds donated by Purdue University, a circumnavigation of the globe at equatorial latitudes. Although the aircraft was of an advanced type and dubbed a "flying laboratory" for the press, little real science was planned, the world was already criss-crossed with commercial airline routes (many of which Noonan himself had first navigated and mapped) and the flight is now widely regarded as an adventurous publicity stunt. Noonan was probably attracted to the project because Earhart's mass market fame would almost certainly generate huge publicity, which in turn could reasonably be expected to attract attention to him and the navigation school he hoped to establish when they returned.

The first attempt began with a record-breaking flight from Burbank, California to Honolulu. However, as the Electra was taking off to begin the second leg to Howland Island, its wing clipped the ground, Earhart cut an engine to maintain balance, the aircraft ground looped and the landing gear collapsed. Although there were no injuries, the Electra had to be shipped back to Los Angeles for expensive repairs. Over a month later they tried again, this time leaving California in the opposite direction.

Earhart characterized the pace of their 40-day, eastward trip from Burbank to New Guinea as "leisurely." They took off from Lae on 2 July 1937, and headed for Howland Island, a tiny sliver of land in the Pacific Ocean, barely 2,000 metres long. The plan for the 18-hour flight was to reach the vicinity of Howland using Noonan's celestial navigation skills, then find the island using radio navigation signals sent by the United States Coast Guard cutter Itasca. Through a series of misunderstandings or mishaps (which are still controversial), over scattered clouds, the final approach was never accomplished, although Earhart indicated by radio they believed they were in the immediate vicinity of Howland. Two-way radio contact was never established and the fliers disappeared over the western Pacific. Despite an unprecedented, extended search by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, no physical evidence was found [7]

Later research showed that Howland's position was misplaced on their chart by approximately five nautical miles. There is also motion picture evidence that a belly antenna on the Electra may have snapped on takeoff (the purpose of this antenna has not been identified and radio communications seemed normal as they climbed away from Lae).

from Wikipedia and other sources.

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