The Southern Labor Archives announces the Eastern Air Lines Digital Collection, unlike any other in the Southern Labor Archives. It represents the work of blue- and white-collar workers, in traditional union and non-union jobs. It provides a look into the history of the airline, its fleet, its operations, its employees, and public perception of the airline in good times and bad. Featuring content from ad agencies, newspaper reporters, labor organizations, Eastern’s management offices, and mediators, the content of the collection includes correspondence, newsclippings, photographs, scrapbooks, press releases, radio ads, television commercials, oral histories, and artifacts.
The Digital Collection includes documentation from the following collections; in some cases only selected items from the collection were digitized, in others, the entire collection.
- Collective bargaining and mediation information taken from the Bill Usery papers; Usery, a former U. S. Secretary of Labor, was a mediator for
Eastern in the 1980s
- The Frank Borman papers chronicle his tenure as the president of Eastern Air Lines in the late 1970s and 1980s
- The Jim Ashlock collection includes Eastern’s annual reports, coverage of Eastern’s dissolution, Eastern television ads, and information about
daily operations during the strike; Ashlock was a public relations specialist at Eastern from 1966-1991
- Martha Hamilton, a Washington Post reporter who donated her notebooks and newsclippings related to her coverage of Eastern 1989-1991
- Adrienne Cohen, copy writer and advertising executive, donated copies of her ad work for Eastern (radio and print ads) including “The Wings of Man” radio commercial series featuring Orson Welles from the early 1970s (here’s one about Atlanta!)
- The records of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, who represented the ground crew at Eastern, include recordings of television coverage of the strike, collective bargaining agreements, and photographs of daily operations at various locals
- The papers of John Chaknis, a member of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), who collected materials related to ALPA’s sympathy strike with the Machinists
Carolyn Lee Wills, former director of the Eastern Airlines’ Southern Region Public Relations Office, collected and donated press releases,
photographs, newsletters, destination files, operations information, and a formidable collection of artifacts from Eastern Air Lines.
In addition to content in the Eastern Air Lines Digital Collection, Special Collections and Archives also holds materials related to Eastern Air Lines in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution photographic collection, the Lane Brothers photographic collection, and the IAM Publications, among others. We will be adding more content to the Digital Collection over the next year.
For more information about the Eastern Air Lines Digital Collection, or primary resources related to transportation, aviation, and aerospace, contact the Southern Labor Archives. Special Collections and Archives is located on the 8th floor of Library South and is open Monday-Friday from 9:00am-6:00am (404.413.2880 | firstname.lastname@example.org).