Anne Morrow Lindbergh

As March finishes off Women’s History Month, I wanted to share about Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  She is best known as the wife of famed aviator, Charles Lindbergh, the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.  She was also the author of the best selling book, Gift From The Sea.  Excerpts of the book can be found here.

However, Anne wrote many other books and over the last ten years, I’ve read a number of them including her diaries Locked Rooms Open DoorsHour of Gold, Hour of Lead (which includes the death of her first child who had been kidnapped); and Bring Me A Unicorn.  I also read her travel accounts in North to the Orient and borrowed several biographies from the library in an effort to get to know her better.

And you know what?  She wasn’t just Charles Lindbergh’s wife.  She had many accomplishments in her own right.  She was a college educated woman, a licensed pilot, and winner of numerous awards in recognition of her pioneer efforts in air travel, including surveying transatlantic air routes.  Anne also won awards for her books.  To Charles, Anne was his co-pilot, navigator and communications operator.

Charles was a domineering man.  Things had to be done his way.  When the baby was kidnapped, he forbade Anne from crying.  He took over the investigation and kept her in the dark.  He was insensitive to her conflicts over leaving the children to travel with him.  When she tried to quit flying with him, due to the discomforts of the open cockpit and bone-chilling cold, he talked her into staying on because he didn’t trust anyone else.

Yet, he gave her adventure.  She saw the world not as a pampered woman, but as a woman who earned her way.  He trusted her judgment and relied heavily on her opinions and observations.  She saw things that others didn’t even know existed.  In North to the Orient, she wrote about villages in far northern Canada who didn’t know planes existed.  Natives came out to meet her and Charles, some having never seen a white woman before.

Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh were mobbed by the press and fans alike.  The paparazzi were on a par with that of Princess Diana.  Everything they did and said was scrutinized and published in the newspapers.  There was nowhere they could go for privacy, leading them to finally move to Europe.

Although her book, Gift From the Sea, appears to be soft and genteel, it is in fact a reminder to women to take care of themselves.  There is strength in the book, thoughts on women being themselves and not losing their lives in children and husbands, to protect their talents and creativity.  This was in 1955, before the feminist movement, in a time when women were expected to take second place to their spouses and families.

To me, I was amazed at her strength of character.  Her life was extraordinary.  She was companion to a difficult man, who also encouraged her to get a pilot’s license, to fly on her own, and to pursue a literary career.  Would she have done these things without Charles?  I think she would have been a woman of accomplishment, although not likely with these things.  But she took his passions and pursuits and made them hers as well.  To my mind, Charles Lindbergh only achieved what he did because Anne Morrow Lindbergh was an equal and worthy partner in his life.

Here’s a bit of trivia to finish off my post.  During the Iraq War, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., was commander in charge of all the military forces fighting in Operation Desert Storm.  His father, Major General Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf Sr., was with the New Jersey State Police when the Lindbergh baby was kidnapped.  Herbert Schwarkopf did significant work on the case, using early techniques of reconstructing the crime and criminal profiling.

[Other posts for Women's History Month include Jane Addams and my maternal grandmother.]

Categories: Life Lessons, Women's History Month | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

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24 thoughts on “Anne Morrow Lindbergh

  1. Pingback: I’d Rather Work Than Wish « Living The Seasons

  2. There is a fascinating documentary film – I believe it’s titled “Charles and Anne – alone together” or something along those lines. You would probably enjoy it! It talks about the relationship between Charles and Anne.

  3. Pingback: My Maternal Grandmother « Living The Seasons

  4. Great post on an amazing woman. I have not read her and really had no idea about who she was. Thanks for educating me.

  5. Interesting post, Nancy.

  6. I have always loved Anne Morrow Lindbergh and have given a copy of “Gifts from The Sea” many times as a gift. She was an amazing person in her own right. I believe she lived to be 94 and died in her own home. I have not read the book her daughter wrote about her, have you?

    • Yes, she lived to a very old age. I read one of Reeve’s books (Under A Wing). My recollection was that it was okay, but not overly balanced in the view of her parents. I believe her second book was even more so and it did not appeal enough to me to read it. I liked the Susan Hertog book better.

  7. cellosusie

    Thank you so much for reminding me of this beautiful book – I read it way back in high school but will resurrect it again. Some books are so worth reading again. I had forgotten about her mysterious disappearance – reminds me of the author of The Little Prince – another special book, seemingly written for children but full of so much wisdom. Happy day all!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Prince

    • You’re welcome Susie! Anne was actually good friends with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and in her diaries, refers to several conversations she had with him when she was deeplhy discouraged.

  8. P.S. – the comment above mine by “philosophermouse” caused me to read about Anne Morrow Lindbergh on wikipedia. I think the person who flew into the unknown was Amelia Earhart – not Anne Morrow Lindbergh. But, hey, that mistake caused me to read the wiki article which I found most enlightening. The woman behind the man – but who does the world remember? Thanks again for your post on AML. Mary Rita

    • Yes, it was Amelia Earhart that disappeared. People remember Anne as the wife of Charles Lindbergh and forgot her many contributions to the world of aviation. I have mixed feelings whether he convinced her to stay because he trusted her or if it was because he didn’t want to pay someone else to fly with him as a co-pilot. Her diaries indicate she believed that he truly wanted and needed her help, but it was hard on her.

  9. Excellent Post ! Thanks for sharing your reading experience of Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

  10. She was amazing. Way ahead of her time. Somehow her mysterious disappearance is fitting…she just took off one day and flew into the unknown. Nice post

    • Thanks Karen! Yes, that was Amelia Earhardt that disappeared mysteriously. One huge difference between her and Charles Lindbergh was his use of rigorous checklists before getting into the plane to take off. No one really knows what happened to Amelia, but many have tried to figure it out.

      • WOW do I feel silly. I read your post – and mentioned that last paragraph to my husband. Then stopped and watched a story on new search for Earhardt and then had to break up a dog bark-a-thon outside, Then jumped back here without switching gears.
        Really dumb.
        Anyway I forgot to mention I love the pictures you selected. Anne was far ahead of her time – beautiful, talented , and brave. As you mentioned her life was made difficult. Her writings are fascinating.
        OK, sorry to add confusion.
        I promise to do better and complete one task before starting another.
        Always find a good read here!

        • Not a problem. We’ve all done stuff like that. Some of even hit the publish button before finishing the post!

          I’m glad you liked the pictures and the post. My Mom found the pictures interesting too – they certainly showed a different side of Anne than dressed up for society. Even in that puffy flight suit she was pretty.

      • As you can tell, this is really bothering me! My original idea was to mention how alike Anne and Amelia were (pilots, celebrities, very much outside traditional roles)- yet they were so different. (temperament, and Anne was such a talented author) In any case, there’s a little mystery connected to both of them. OK, soothed enough, I hope…

        • Your points are good ones though. Both were celebrities in the aviation field, but yes so very much alike. Amelia was so independent and adventurous, while Anne was more quiet and studious. Both do have mystery to their lives, which was why I undertook to read so much of Anne’s diaries and books a while back. I wanted to get to know her better and the diaries really helped me with that, even more so than the various biographies about that.

          And yeah, you’ve beaten yourself up enough. If that’s the worse thing you’ve done, you’ve had a pretty good day. One of my comments I made a big old mistake and there I was with another comment of “you gotta edit it first!”. I think it was with Kate, who was very gracious about changing it. I’d offer to delete yours, but it’s led to some good discussions which I enjoyed.

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