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Carolyn Lee Wills collection of Eastern Airlines' Southern Region Public Relations Office records

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Carolyn Lee Wills collection of Eastern Airlines' Southern Region Public Relations Office records

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Eastern Airlines' Southern Region Public Relations Office:

A Guide to Carolyn Lee Wills' Collection of Its Records at Georgia State University Library

Georgia State University
Georgia State University Library
Special Collections and Archives
100 Decatur St., SE
Atlanta, GA 30303-3202
404-413-2880
Fax: 404-413-2881
archives@gsu.edu

June 23, 2008



Profile Description

Creation: EAD version 2002 finding aid created in XMetaL 4.5 by Traci JoLeigh Drummond, June 23, 2008.
Language: English

Collection Summary

Repository: Georgia State University Library, Special Collections and Archives, Atlanta
Creator:Wills, Carolyn Lee
Title:Carolyn Lee Wills collection of Eastern Airlines' Southern Region Public Relations Office records
Dates: 1927-2008 (bulk 1965-2008)
Quantity: 25.25 linear ft. (in 69 boxes)
Abstract:The Carolyn Lee Wills' collection on Eastern Airlines, Southern Region Public Relations Office, 1927-2008 (bulk 1965-2008), consists of news clippings, press releases, newsletters, annual reports, monthly reports, correspondence, memoranda, photographs, slides, an early scrapbook (or day book), artifacts (promotional items) and audiovisual materials. This collection mainly provides insight into publicity and outreach efforts at Eastern Airlines, but also its history, charitable work, and day-to-day operations.
Identification: L1986-27
LanguageEnglish.

Organization of the Collection

Organized into nine series:
Series I. Historical Information
Series II. Office Files
Series III. Publicity
Series IV. Promotions
Series V. Community Involvement and Sponsorship Files
Series VI. Destinations
Series VII. Operations
Series VIII. Publications
Series IX. Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport

Scope and Content of the Collection

The Eastern Airlines Collection, 1927-2008 (bulk 1965-2008), consists of news clippings, press releases, newsletters, annual reports, monthly reports, correspondence, memoranda, photographs, slides, an early scrapbook (or day book), artifacts (promotional items) and audiovisual materials. This collection mainly provides insight into publicity and outreach efforts at Eastern Airlines, but also its history, charitable work, and day-to-day operations. The materials were accumulated by Carolyn Lee Wills, who worked in the Public Relations Department of Eastern's Southern Regional Office from 1965 until 1987.


Biography of Carolyn Wills

Carolyn Lee Wills graduated from Georgia State University, where she studied journalism, history and speech. She also participated in many extra-curricular activities including Panhellenic Council, Delta Zeta Sorority, and yearbook. Before she began her work at Eastern Airlines, she travelled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, North and South America, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Bermuda.

In 1965, Wills joined Eastern Airlines as a Representative of Women’s Activities. In this role, she interpreted the company's progam to women by working in the fields of fashion, radio, television, public relations, and promotions. In 1971, Wills became made Regional Manager of Public Relations.

Eastern Airlines closed its Atlanta offices in November 1973, but found it difficult to cover their public relations needs in Atlanta from their headquarters in Miami. Four months after closing, Wills was re-hired by Eastern to manage the Southern Division covering Atlanta to Tokyo.

While employed by Eastern Airlines, Wills served on many boards including American Women in Radio and Television, Georgia State University Alumni Association, and was a national representative of Delta Zeta Sorority. In 1966, she married attorney Charles H. Wills.


History of Eastern Airlines

The earliest incarnation of Eastern Airlines was Pitcairn Aviation, founded in 1927, which was the U.S. Postal Service contractor flying from New York to Atlanta. In 1930, the carrier was sold to North American Aviation owner Clement Keys and was renamed Eastern Air Transport. It soon added passenger routes and adopted the name Eastern Air Lines. Throughout the pre-World War II era, Eastern dominated passenger travel and air transport along the Atlantic coast, including the introduction of one-day service from New York to Miami in 1932. Famed pilot Eddie Rickenbacker bought the company in 1938 and was closely identified with it until his 1963 retirement.

During the air travel boom of the 1950s and 1960s, Eastern Airlines grew into one of the "Big Four" United States carriers, enhancing its status as the lead air travel carrier on domestic east coast flights with the introduction of air shuttle service in 1961. Shuttle service was created as an alternative to bus routes and included hourly flights from Atlanta to Washington D.C., New York, and Boston. During this time, Eastern Airlines also expanded international service to Mexico, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Under the leadership of former astronaut Frank Borman (hired as an advisor in 1969, he became Chief Executive Officer in 1975), Eastern Airlines enjoyed continued successes in the industry until the enactment of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.

Beginning with Eastern’s early U.S. Postal Service government contract, the company had relied upon the regulated and protective policies governing the airline industry. Without government protection, Eastern’s profits began to make a downward turn that eventually culminated in the selling of the company to Texas Air International, headed by Frank Lorenzo. Following deregulation, Lorenzo was able to purchase multiple airlines including Continental, Frontier, New York Air, and Eastern.

To cut costs in the midst of declining profits, Lorenzo asked Eastern’s union employees to take massive pay cuts in wages and benefits. Union workers refused to accept Lorenzo’s demands and opted to go on strike. By claiming bankruptcy in 1989, Lorenzo was able to hire non-union workers to fill the jobs of striking employees. Lorenzo took his demands a step further when he asked the machinists’ union to take a pay cut, which resulted in another strike that dealt the final blow to any hope that Eastern Airlines would recover lost profits. In 1991, Eastern Airlines was permanently grounded. Eastern’s main hubs in Atlanta and Miami were taken over by various competitors and its concourses in New York and Newark were demolished.


Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the Georgia State University Library online catalog (GIL). Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Borman, Frank, 1928-
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Jackson, Maynard, 1938-2003
Wills, Carolyn Lee
Eastern Air Lines, inc. Southern Region Public Relations Office.
Eastern Air Lines, inc.
Eastern Air Transport.
William B. Hartsfield-Atlanta International Airport.
Eastern Air Lines, inc.--Periodicals.
Aeronautics, Commercial--Georgia--Atlanta Metropolitan Area.
Airlines--Public relations.
Airlines--United States.
Atlanta, Ga.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Photographic prints
Reports
Slides (photographs)

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access. All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult the reference archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.


Administrative Information

Citation

[item], [folder title], Carolyn Lee Wills Collection of Eastern Airlines' Southern Region Public Relations Office Records, 1927-2008 (bulk 1965-2008), L1986-27, Southern Labor Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University, Atlanta.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Carolyn Lee Wills in 1986 (L1986-27), 1998 (L1998-03), and 2008 (L2008-13).

Processing Information

Processed by John M. Duncan, Archival Assistant, and Sydney Lanier, Graduate Student Assistant, April 2008. Collection and finding aid updated by Scott Adams, Graduate Research Assistant, February 2009.

Processing Note

This collection was processed using minimal standards processing, attempting at all times to make folder titles as descriptive as possible. Please contact the archivist for the Southern Labor Archives with questions about the materials in this collection.


Related Material

Related materials in this repository:

Eastern Airlines Strike Collection, 1986-1990 (L2000-09), Southern Labor Archives
W. J. Usery, Jr. Papers, 1940, 1952-1998 (L1985-12), Southern Labor Archives
Frank Borman Papers, 1961-1989 (bulk 1980-1986) (L2005-16), Southern Labor Archives

Related materials in other repositories:

Eastern Airlines, Inc. Records, 1926-1939, Research Center, Historical Museum of Southern Florida, Miami, Florida


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