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Braniff Airways Foundation preserves the history of Braniff Airways, Inc., through collecting, preserving, promoting, and protecting the carrier’s legacy. The Foundation, originally formed from the Herb Sherry Fund T-Shirt Outlet and Braniff History Group in 1978 and then in 2012, Braniff Preservation Group, which was created to assist in the preservation efforts for the historic Braniff Operations and Maintenance Base at Dallas Love Field, was registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization in October 2015.
The Foundation was created by Richard Ben Cass, specifically to join together other interested parties in promoting Braniff’s history. The Foundation also curates the Braniff International Heritage Archives, formerly Braniff Flying Colors Collection, which also houses the lifetime collection of Mr. Cass, and includes the original Braniff Airways Advertising Department records and archives.
The collection was founded in 1972, and has become the largest and most comprehensive collection of Braniff memorabilia known to exist. It includes over 20 million pages of historical and corporate materials and records, 40,000 collectible items, 500,000 photos, slides, and electronic images as well as large-scale Braniff company models, signage, and crew uniforms. One of the founding cornerstones of Braniff Airways Foundation was to make the public aware that any Braniff item is historic and there are organizations that will accept them for preservation.
Since 2012, the group has called on several other institutions to come together not only to assist each another in preserving Braniff’s heritage but also in assisting those in need of research access. Preservation Dallas, a Dallas, Texas, based historic preservation advocacy group, the University of Texas of Dallas, which houses the original Braniff Public Relations Archives and the Braniff Video Oral History Program, DOCOMOMO, a modern preservation advocacy group, Flying Crown Land Group, a Non-Profit historic structure preservation development company, and other institutions interested in preserving Braniff’s history. The Foundation also engages in the historic preservation of Braniff with the University of Dallas, Oklahoma Historical Society, Duke University, Frontiers of Flight Museum, The Kirkpatrick Science Museum of Oklahoma, and The University of Texas Southwestern.
In September 2014, The Foundation organized and cohosted with Preservation Dallas, the first Braniff History and Architecture Conference held at Braniff Place, Braniff World Headquarters at DFW Airport, Texas. The daylong event featured a morning history presentation followed by a luncheon. In the afternoon, an architecture section was followed by a tour of the Braniff facility. The conference was a sold-out event and served to bring Braniff employees, aviation buffs, and preservationists together to celebrate the life and legend of Braniff International. A second Braniff Conference was held on September 10, 2016, in conjunction with Preservation Dallas. The second conference drew another large group of guests and featured a cast of speakers from various professions in the airline industry, followed by a third and even larger event in September 2019. The Foundation conducts these exciting and large-scale Learn About Braniff Series of events every two to three years.
The group also hosts and cohosts tours of various Braniff buildings. The tours, also part of the Learn About Braniff Series, have been highly successful and heavily attended and further serve to bring those interested in the history of Braniff together. For instance, a daylong tour of Dallas Love Field, Braniff’s hometown airport until 1974, was held in conjunction with Preservation Dallas and DOCOMOMO in October 2015. A tour of Braniff’s original headquarters building in Oklahoma City was conducted on April 8, 2016. Preservation Dallas, Dallas Historical Society and Oklahoma Historical Society joined us with our hosts and current counselors, Crowe & Dunlevy, Attorneys and Counselors at Law, which also acted as Braniff’s first legal counsel beginning in 1917. In addition, a number of events were conducted during 2018, to celebrate Braniff’s 90th Anniversary, including a very special 90th Anniversary event at Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas, on Braniff’s 90th birthday, June 20, 2018. Tours of Braniff Buildings are scheduled on a regular basis with sufficient advance notice for registration to attend.
In 2014, the Foundation, in conjunction with Preservation Dallas and Dallas Historical Society began a lengthy and extensive historical plaque project, dubbed Braniff Trail, to permanently mark and identify sites and facilities that played major roles in the development and growth of Braniff Airways. The project includes the placement of plaques in not only Dallas/Ft. Worth and Oklahoma City, but also as far West as Hong Kong and Hawaii, London in the East and Buenos Aires in the Southern Hemisphere. Over 30 plaques will be placed with certain locations receiving more than one historical plaque. A special multi-part full-color brochure has been posted online at www.braniffinternational.com to provide “Braniff Hikers” with a map to embark on a full-scale local and global tour to view each of the plaque sites. Braniff Trail was officially debuted in 2018, as an integral part of Braniff’s 90th Anniversary Celebration. In 2018, the Foundation expanded Braniff Trail to include application for permanent state historical markers at selected Braniff historical sites.
The Foundation acts as an advocacy group for Braniff buildings that may be in danger of demolition. Since 2012, the group spearheaded the grassroots effort to prevent the demolition of the mid-century themed Braniff Operations and Maintenance Base in conjunction with lead Flying Crown Land Group, as well as Preservation Dallas, and DOCOMOMO. In 2014, the group authored the nomination for the Braniff Hostess College to determine its eligibility for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The Hostess College is undergoing a complete restoration and will become a public use facility in the future. In 2021, it was discovered that the historic Braniff Tower at Exchange Park near Love Field in Dallas, Texas, was slated for demolition. The Foundation petitioned the Texas Historical Commission to determine the buildings eligibility for inclusion in the US National Park Service's National Register of Historic Place. In August 2021, the building was determined eligible for inclusion.
In the fall of 2016, the Foundation created a unique line of products that feature the colorful look of Braniff Airways as their main theme. The products were introduced to social media by Christmas 2016, followed by the introduction of new and/or updated products each month in 2017. Braniff Boutique products were exceptionally well-received by customers that included designers, artists and aviation enthusiasts as examples Braniff Airways, Inc., formed the product line specifically to support the Foundation's preservation efforts. The Boutique is the eighth most searched Shopify business platform on the internet and is one of the largest airline branded online retailers. Also, Braniff Airways is the only one of two major airline brands that are still independent and without ownership by another legacy carrier. By 2020, the Boutique had sold in over 120 countries globally and offers its products at brick and mortar stores in Dallas, Houston and Johnson City, Texas.
Braniff Airways, Inc., administers the intellectual property of Braniff Airways, Inc, including its copyrights and trademarks. Since 1983, over 700 licensing agreements have been executed authorizing the use of Braniff’s intellectual property Every year, these agreements are created between Braniff and a wide and diverse array of groups including the Smithsonian in Washington, DC and Olympia LeTan as well as movie production companies and book publishers, as examples.
For licensing inquiries: www.braniffinternational.com/licensing
Braniff Airways Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors of eleven highly experienced people with combined aviation experience that exceeds 400 years.
Ben Cass - Founder, Chairman
President Collin L. Ice - Secretary/Treasurer
Howard A. Blouir, Martinaire Air Cargo, Inc., retired - Vice President
David Presizosi, Executive Director, Preservation Dallas - Board Member
Nelda Ireland, Braniff Airways, retired - Board Member
Paul Oelkrug, The University of Texas at Dallas, retired, now Frontiers of Flight, Registrar - Board Member
Claudia Bevill, Braniff Airways Flight Attendant, retired - Board Member
Jack L. Witherspoon, Braniff Airways, Manager, Department of Advertising, retired, Board Member
Romlee Stoughton, Pan American World Airways and United Airlines Flight Attendant, retired - Board Member
Rudy L. Bowling, Braniff Airways, retired - Board Member
Administration and Legal Counsel: Braniff Building 324, North Robinson Avenue Suite 100, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73102
Braniff International Corporation
Braniff International Hotels, Inc.
Paul R. Braniff, Inc.
Braniff Air Lines, Inc.
The Braniff Building 324 North Robinson Avenue Suite 100, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73102
Long and Harman Airlines: www.longandharmanairlines.com
Bowen Airlines: www.bowenairlines.com
Mid-Continent Airlines: www.midcontinentairlines.com
Panagra Pan American Grace Airways: www.panamericangraceairways.com