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ALPA Headquarters Communications Library Records

Identifier: LR000247_HQC

Scope and Content

The ALPA Headquarters Communications (HQC) materials represent a chronological compilation—a bound library—of correspondence, informational bulletins to pilot councils and pilot members, membership questionnaires, reports, collective bargaining agreements, and ALPA governing bodies materials. Essentially it is a chronological file of various items created and kept by ALPA Headquarters (then located in Chicago, Illinois) and circulated to ALPA membership.

Important subjects: Aeromedical subjects ALPA conventions and convention materials Air safety Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Collective bargaining agreements Early ALPA history Election of local officers Flying time Grievances Interstate and foreign commerce Local Executive Councils ( LECs) Master Executive Councils (MECs) Pilot delegates to convention Pilot Executive Councils (PECs) Pilot pay Route transfers Strikes Wage disputes Working conditions

Important correspondents: William Green and David L. Behncke


  • 1931 - 1954


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


No photocopying from bound volumes.
Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials.


In 1930, the Association formed in secret and was composed of “key men,” pilots whose names were omitted in ALPA’s early records for risk of detection by the airline for which each Key Man flew. Each airline whose pilots ALPA represented had a Key Man. ALPA’s existence as a secret organization ended when union credentials were discovered on the body of a dead ALPA pilot member on a crash site in California.

Of particular importance is the first bound volume in the collection, First Publication and Organization Material, Vol. 1 No. 1. Though the volume is labeled “1931” materials within range in date from April 1931 to January 1932. This volume contains the first de facto publication of the Association, the ALPA News and Progress Bulletin. The bulletin debuted October 1, 1931, at which time ALPA was still operating under an air of anonymity—no mention of pilot names—although ALPA’s secrecy had been compromised due to earlier circumstances.

On Sunday, October 4, 1931, ALPA went public when it announced to the world via press release that it had formed as an organization. The ALPA News and Progress Bulletin, which is effectively the precursor of ALPA’s official newspaper (and later magazine), The Air Line Pilot, ran two additional issues (November, 1931 and January, 1932) until the The Air Line Pilot’s first publication on April 5, 1932 replaced it. These issues can also be found in volume one.

The next installment, i.e. second volume, in the HQC chronology ranges in date from August 1931 to July 1932. The first usage of the term “Headquarters Communications” or HQC appears in this volume. HQC #1 was issued on October 23, 1931. The third volume in the HQC set, date range July 1932 to December 1933, reveals some of the history of the HQC usage.

HQC 732-1 (dated July 23, 1932 in the August 1931-July 1932 volume) revealed a new HQC numbering convention. “7” stood for the seventh month of the year, July, “32” the last two digits of the calendar year 1932, and “1” the first communication of that particular month. HQC 732-1 also explained that the last installment of the then “old” headquarters communications—the final one numbered HQC #50—was issued in July 1932.

The HQC numbering scheme was used from 1931 to 1935 in two distinct incarnations. The old chronological system (numbered 1-50) was used from August 1931 to July 1932. The new coded system was used from July 1932 through 1935. By 1935 the newer designation was not widely used, and information in the bound volumes was filed and identified apparently just with respect to the dates on the various items. Later, in the 1950s, some documents within the bound volumes are coded, for example, as “53-11” (for November 1953) but this coding appears to be of limited use and was likely just for ALPA internal purposes, possibly only as a placeholder for compiling individual documents prior to binding.

The fourth volume in this compilation is noteworthy as well. Councilmen’s Confidential Bulletins December 1932 to July 1933, Volume 1, Number 1, is a one-of-a-kind compilation. Other than this one instance, ALPA apparently never again utilized a dedicated volume format with respect to any other HQC topical area. Confidential bulletins were issued by ALPA beyond midyear 1933, and may be found within post-1933 HQC volumes as included documents without specific reference on volume labels.


17 Linear Feet (17 SB)


This collection represents a bound library in chronological order mainly consisting of ALPA conventions, air safety, collective bargaining agreements, early ALPA history, strikes, wage disputes, and working conditions.


The HQC Library is arranged in a single series of bound volumes in date order.

Note: For the sake of brevity in individual volume identification, part of the official title has been deliberately omitted in listing each publication, namely Air Line Pilots Association, International or A.L.P.A. Similarly, ALPA did not use the HQC designation in labeling these bound volumes. The identifier “HQC” has been included here—albeit artificially—to illustrate the differences in volume labeling between the first four volumes in the set and the majority of the volumes compiled from 1933 to 1954.


The records of ALPA Communications Library were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs by the President’s Department of ALPA.

Related Materials

ALPA collections

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in October 2005.
Guide to the ALPA Headquarters Communications Library Records
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA