Due to work by the city inside the building we will be opening at 1230pm on our Resident's Free Tuesday on May 14th.

From Cotton Mills to Beauty Salons

Jacqueline Cochran was born Bessie Lee Pittman in Florida on May 11, 1906. As a child, she earned five dollars a week in cotton mills before finding work in beauty salons as a hairdresser. By the 1930s, she had moved to New York City and started work in a Saks Fifth Avenue Salon.

Shortly afterwards, she met Floyd Bostwick Odlum, the founder of the Atlas Corp investment firm and CEO of RKO Radio Pictures Inc., a film production and distribution company. At the time, Odlum was one of the top ten wealthiest men in the world. When Cochran mentioned that she was interested in forming a traveling cosmetics company, Odlum suggested that she take flying lessons and sell her products via aircraft. Odlum even offered to pay for the lessons if she completed them within six weeks, a task that usually took about three months. On August 17, 1932, Cochran received pilot’s license No. 1498 after just three weeks of lessons at Roosevelt Airfield in New York.

Jackie Cochran in May, 1933.  

Next page in this exhibit.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

Subscribe to our E-Newsletter

Get Social with SDASM

Icon for Facebook Icon for Twitter Icon for Instagram Icon for Pinterest