The preservation of Seaboard's legacy began in earnest about 11 years ago when David Hill, who was appointed Seaboard's official Historian in 1999, decided to create the Seaboard video you have all seen. He recruited me to help with the photos. He collected perhaps two thousand of them from crewmembers and company sources. He also acquired many company documents. He did a great deal of research to ensure that the information he presented was accurate and he went to considerable lengths to get permission to use copyright material and credit was given where appropriate. He wrote and delivered the narration and arranged for the production of the video. He and I put up the money for the production of the videos. He sold only a few hundred copies of the video, almost all to crewmembers and other Seaboard employees. Good as it was, it is unlikely that many more will ever be sold.
Therefore, the most effective venue for the preservation of the Seaboard legacy seems to be the Web. Not only is it available to a vast world-wide audience but it allows for addition and expansion. Since the video was made, I have been sent many photos that have been added to the site. A few days ago, Andrea Battern sent me about 70 slides taken by Margaret Powell during the Vietnam years. I've started work on them and they will be posted after I finish the section for this reunion. They show many flight attendants who did not appear in the video and who do not appear now on the Web site. I will need help identifying many of them. When I took over the Web site from John Bilotta in 2001, it consisted of approximately 23 pages and 18 photographs. Today, it has more than 300 pages and almost 1,300 photos. It includes sections for Seaboard's history, all the aircraft types operated by Seaboard, a list of all the individual aircraft known to have been operated by Seaboard, master seniority lists with more than 1,000 crewmember names, crew uniform insignia, service pins, Seaboard memorabilia, a memorial section, a family album section with reunion photos and other micscellaneous crewmember photos, a members's activities section, and the directory. The memorial section lists 265 people who have died. Of those, 154 have individual pages. The reason the others don't is that I don't have any information or photos for them. A few years ago, I added a link on Wikipedia's Seaboard section to my history section. Today, the history section gets about 180 visitors per month, many of them outsiders via the link on Wikipedia. From that link, they can learn a lot about Seaboard.
The remaining issue is to ensure that this legacy will be permanently preserved. David and I have been discussing this and plan to have the Seaboard portion of the current Web site hosted by a museum or university as he mentioned in his report. I have provided him with a CD containing the Seaboard Web site. David is uniquely qualified to get that done. He has been working with museums since he was in high school when he had junior staff positions at both the American Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. More recently he donated Seaboard documents and objects to the National Air & Space Museum where they became part of the archives available to researchers. I've been working on separating the SPAR part of the Web site from the Seaboard part. The SPAR part will consist of the news page, family album section, members' activities, and member directory. In practice, little will change for Web users. When this separation is finished, I will send everyone a new link or two and all sections will be accessible and look the same as now. Ultimately, I'll no longer be able to run the SPAR site and Lou has indicated he has made arrangements for that day. In the meantime, I'll continue to run the site and fund it as I have for as long as I can do the job.
Capt. Ken Kahn
March 30, 2010