Eastern Airlines was a company that ran its course from 1926 until 1991 when it was liquidated. At the Georgia State University archives I was able to identify three different kinds of artifacts.
The first is this flight attendant’s uniform. The outfit includes a below the knee-length dress with a collar, and a bright yellow cardigan. The material for both of these seemed practical as the dress was thin and the cardigan more heavy for warmth.
The second artifact I examined is this advertisement; it is simple yet complex at the same time. The text reads “Smile.” and the circular figure below, that I presumed to be a globe, is filled with travel pictures, art, flowers, etc.
A manual on flight attendant/ hostess etiquette and dress was the third artifact that I observed; the text within it is bold and concise. The manual contains images to aid the reader as well and even transitional pages.
Concerning all of these artifacts from the Eastern Airlines display I believe they are all connected to a similar mindset. The era that the airline existed had many periods of revolutionary thought like the “love revolution” and other promotions of free thinking and the like. The advertisement is playing to the audiences emotion, and it does a really great job digging into the sentimental value of travel. Even though travel may cost a lot for families and especially air travel, Eastern Airlines was trying to convey that happiness is more than material. While the message itself is good, it was still an attempt to get people to spend money. The flight attendant uniform reminded me of the fifties, a time that a lot of people look back on as one of the greatest decades. However, the fifties were filled with constricting gender roles and the outfit is a good example of that. It looks like the picturesque housewife’s dress and cardigan, which to a customer would be appealing but only further pushes the negative and constricting stereotype. The flight attendant’s manual also demonstrates this same thinking. Pushing the women to look a certain way and formulate their lives around work provided for other people. Although at the end of the manual there is a note left for encouragement but it seems like a sort of consolation in this modern era.
*All pictures taken by the author from within the Georgia State Archive