Items Worn by Employees
. . . continued - Dr. Charles Quarles Collection
Other Miscellaneous Employee Items
Items found in our Aircraft Cabins
Tickets and other Flight Related Items
Promotional Flyers & Brochures
Founding and Wartime Operations
In early 1941, Air Service veteran John Howard "Jack" Connelly and noted Hollywood agent/producer Leland Hayward formed a business partnership that five years later would evolve into a scheduled commercial airline. Neither man was a stranger to aviation; Connelly was also a former test pilot, airplane salesman, Civil Aeronautics Administration instructor pilot, and inspector for the 1930s-era Soviet Union. Hayward was an active private pilot and was on the board of directors of Transcontinental and Western Airlines (TWA). The two men enlisted the support of commercial pilot and photographer John Swope to oversee the training of aviation cadets. Together, they founded a maintenance depot for overhauling training aircraft, a wartime air cargo line, and a military pilot training complex consisting of Thunderbird Field No. 1, Thunderbird Field No. 2, and Falcon Field in Arizona.
By the end of World War II, Southwest Airways was the largest training contractor in the United States, and trained more than 20,000 pilots from over two dozen countries. After the war, Connelly and Hayward raised $2,000,000 (in 1946 dollars) from investors, including Hollywood notables such as James Stewart and Darryl Zanuck, to expand Southwest into the airline business, pending government approval. They were awarded a three-year experimental charter from the Civil Aeronautics Board on May 22, 1946 for their feeder service. Scheduled passenger service under the name Southwest Airways began on December 2, 1946, using plentiful and affordable war surplus C-47s, the military version of the Douglas DC-3, converted for civilian use. The initial routes were situated along the Los Angeles to San Francisco corridor, including stops in Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, Monterey, and San Jose, with Medford, Oregon added later.
Memorabilia items displayed below are from the period of 1941 through 1946, prior to the forming of Southwest Airways commercial passenger service.