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January 27, 2015

Glamour Girls of the Air: Fascinating Pictures of an Airline Stewardess Essay in 1958

The rather odd education that the girls are getting is preparing them for one of the most coveted careers open to young American women in the 1950s. They all want to be airline stewardesses.

The job they want does not pay extraordinarily well, only $255 to $355 a month. The life is irregular and opportunities for promotion are small. But the chance to fly, to see the world, and meet all sorts of interesting people — mostly the kind of men who can afford to travel by plane — gives the job real glamor. And the dawning age of jet transport, in which the stewardesses and their planes will go a lot farther and faster, gives it new excitement.

The positions are so eagerly sought that only three to five of every hundred girls who apply to major airlines are taken. To qualify, a girl should be between 21 and 26 years old, unmarried, reasonably pretty and slender, especially around the hips, which will be at eye level for the passengers. She should have been to high school, be poised and tactful, have a good disposition and a pleasant speaking voice.

(Photos by Peter Stackpole—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)



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