Working as an Intern in the Southwest Airlines Corporate Archive has offered me a rather interesting experience. Within those walls I can learn the fine details to Southwest Airlines stories, I can see the negatives that first caught the Company’s history, and I can be a part of the acquisitions of new archival donations into our ever-growing collection.
In fact, my first acquisition project was the Sue (Pratt) Schaulin Collection.
In the Corporate Archives, we have several boxes, display case, and drawers dedicated to this collection.
Susan “Sue” (Pratt) Schaulin was one of the original 1971 Hostesses of Southwest Airlines. She was offered a position as a Hostess on April 23, 1971, and later began her training on June 1, 1971. As with all graduates of our first Hostess class, their official date of hire shows as June 18, 1971, the day of our first revenue flight. Sue was officially hired as a Hostess for this young Company and with such a unique start, you can bet that Sue had an interesting time at Southwest Airlines!
In this picture we have Hostesses Tanya Wright, Sue Roberts, and Sue (Pratt) Schaulin.
And indeed she did, for earlier this year a box was donated to the Southwest Airlines Corporate Archives containing items that Sue had collected during her time with Southwest. It was a rather nondescript box, but upon opening it, it became a wondrous treasure chest filled memorabilia, documents, and other fun objects from our Company’s past. There was a Spirit of Kitty Hawk memorial coin, a copy of the original Hostesses training packet, and even some items that are no longer supplied on our aircraft such as a Southwest-branded matchbook and bar soap.
So, let’s take a moment to stroll down memory lane and look at some of the items that the Sue (Pratt) Schaulin Collection has to offer!
This is a portion of the official letter that was sent to Sue offering her a position as a Hostess with Southwest Airlines. While this message gives details to the start of Sue’s career, it also provides a unique look into how rapid Southwest Airlines was changing at the time. You’ll notice that Air Southwest Co. and Southwest Airlines Co. are both listed on this document. We were originally incorporated as Air Southwest Co. in March 1967, but by March 1971 we decided to change our name to Southwest Airlines Co. So, this letter was sent out shortly after the name change and it helps tie our past to the present by showcasing Southwest’s dedication to low cost in all aspects of our business.
An often forgotten piece of our story is our brief 727 service in the late 70s/early 80s before the first 737-300 arrived. This is an original 727 Emergency Safety Information Card that would have been read by all the Passengers at the time.
Just as Southwest Airlines like to tell the story of how the idea for Southwest came from a design on a cocktail napkin, we also like to hand them out to every Passenger on our planes. It was no different in 1980 when we began advertising of our return to Houston Intercontinental Airport, which had been discontinued in 1972.
In our Corporate Archives, there are many display boxes dedicated to the collection of our Company pins that were handed out through the years. Here we have a display containing all of the pins that Sue used to wear, plus the added bonus of a Spirit of Kitty Hawk memorial coin.
Even Southwest-branded bumper stickers are included in our Archive.
Without contributions from our Southwest Airlines family, our Corporate Archives would not be what they are today. Thank you to everyone who has helped in our collections continual growth! And if you’re interested in being a part in the development of the Company’s archive, please feel free to get into contact with us.