Posts: 3,595 What I collect: Flags on Stamps and Worldwide Cinderellas including: Flags; British Philatelic Exhibitions; USA and Worldwide Philatelic Exhibitions; Propaganda and patriotic; Judaica and other Middle East labels; Advertising Glassines; Poster Stamps etc
Given the addressee on this cover it may have been a NAMW commercial usage, but more likely it was philatelic as it lacks a return address. I think that, instead, it was a vanity piece for Wilbert who is standing by his airplane. The cover is posted on May 19th which was national pick-up day for NAMW mail originating at communities that did not have scheduled airmail service. Local pilots were recruited to collect and fly mail from these communities to a central drop off place in their respective states for placement on a scheduled airmail route. Wilbert was probably one of those pilots.
I collected this cover for the photo of what I believe to be Wilbert's nifty airplane, a Fairchild 24. The Fairchild 24 came with a variety of seating and engine configurations. The one pictured looks like the deluxe Model 24K with four seats and a Ranger six cylinder in-line engine.
When I purchased this NAMW cover several years ago, I thought it might be a commercial usage based upon the return address. After giving it some thought, however, the Kraft Corporation's Chicago return address and the NYC posting and cachet led me to believe it was not. My next speculation was that the addressee was a collector who may have worked at Kraft in Chicago and used some company stationery to get some NAMW covers from other cities. That theory, however, did not hold much water either as the address 1400 Lake Shore Drive is the location of the Field Museum of Natural History with no evidence that Kraft ever had a presence there. The cover remains a mystery. Any other ideas on its origin would be appreciated.
Again, this NAMW cover has additional collecting points appealing to me. Foremost is the dramatic illustration of a Douglas DC-3 climbing to cruise altitude. That was what caused me to purchase this cover and I keep it in my Aircraft on Covers collection. It also has a variant airmail border consisting of the towns in Du Page County, Illinois. The posted example below has a not-easy-to-read hand stamp cachet from Wheaton, Illinois. The addressee was probably a local collector.
I have often wonder who produced this cover. Given the inclusion of the towns in the country, it would seem that, perhaps, a country agency ordered the blanks and made them available. A chamber of commerce, maybe? Another interesting thing about this cover is that there are twenty-four towns in the county, but this is the only posted cover of this design that I have seen. I cannot image that this envelope would not have been popular during NAMW. Seems like there should be others from the other towns in the county. Does anyone else have an example?
Somewhere I picked up a couple of unused envelopes of this design. I include an image of one below to better show the design uncluttered with cachets and stamps. The one shown is addressed to President Roosevelt, but obviously not mailed. It also has Villa Park Post Office typed under the Du Page County line. Post offices were urged to send examples of their local cached covers to the president, postmaster general, state NAMW chairmen, and other dignitaries. Perhaps, this cover was intended to meet that obligation.
All-in-all, an exceptional NAMW cover for what we see and for what we don't know. If anyone has additional information about this design, I would be most appreciative if you would post it.
Out of my NAMW collection comes this unusual cover from Harrodsburg, Kentucky. It is a town of about 8,300 souls southwest of Lexington. I collected the cover for its illustrated timeline along the bottom outlining mail transportation from 1774 to 1938. The cover is posted on the the last day of National Air Mail Week. On the reverse is a quote: "Air Mail. Last to leave; first to arrive, first to be delivered, first to be read." along with the dates of NAMW. Another collecting point for me is the partial red, white, & blue lines, top center, designating the envelope as airmail. I also collect variant airmail borders and I have not yet seen another like this one. NAMW was truly a fascinating philatelic event. It produced such a multitude of different and interesting covers.
Multiple collecting points motivated me to buy this cover several years ago. First, it is an Iowa NAMW cover from Jefferson, Iowa, and I collect Iowa-related covers. As a small boy, I lived with my parents on a farm about 3 miles north of Jefferson.
Secondly, it has a remarkable cartoon style cachet. There many well be some, but I don't remember seeing other NAMW cartoon cachets. If someone has one, or more, please post as I would like to see them. This cachet is interesting for another reason. A former owner penciled a note near the top right hand corner of the cachet that reads "Ding Darling cachet." Jay "Ding" Darling was the editorial cartoonist for the Des Moines (Ia) Register for many years. He also was a leading conservationist in the U.S., founder of the National Wildlife Federation, and, most importantly for stamp collectors, the designer and artist of the first duck stamp. I, however, don't agree with attributing the cachet to Ding Darling. In the lower right corner of the cachet is the name Carlisle. That is the signature of Tom Carlisle. Tom Carlisle was from Jefferson, Iowa, also an artist, and was hired by the Register as Darling's assistant. Besides being a good cartoonist in this own right, Carlisle could emulate Darling's style as I believe he did in this cachet. The old farmer waving his hat at the airplanes is "Uncle John Iowa," Darling's signature character, but I think Carlisle drew it in this instance. It is my opinion that Tom Carlisle designed and drew Jefferson, Iowa's NAMW cachet.
Thirdly, is the reference to Jefferson and National Air Mail Pick-up Day. Indeed, the cover is posted on May 19th, 1938, national pick-up day. Many small towns participating in NAMW did not even have an airport, let alone being on an airmail route. So, May 19 was the day for accumulating NAMW mail from smaller towns and transporting it to a designated town with an airport as a pick-up point. Jefferson apparently had an airport and was a pick-up point for flying accumulated mail to Des Moines, the closest airport on an airmail route.
Fourthly, the cover is addressed to James Mead. In 1938, Mead was a U.S. Congressman from New York and chairman of the House Post Office and Post Roads Committee. He played an active role in the organization of NAMW. Postmasters were encouraged to send examples of local NAMW cachets to Washington, D.C. dignitaries. The cover has no return address, but surely it was one of those covers directed to government personalities.
Given the above collecting points, this is one of my more prized covers for both my NAMW and Iowa-related cover collection.
Garden City, NY, chose to reenact the 1911 airmail flight of Earle Ovington to commemorate National Air Mail Week. The cover's cachet is a real photo of the Bleroit XI that Ovington used for his flight. The cover included an insert explaining the 1911 event and included more photos of Ovington and Richard H. Depew Jr, the pilot for the commemorative flight on May 19, 1938. Depew is standing in front of his airplane, a Fairchild F24. The text box in the cachet proclaims Garden City as "the cradle of the air mail service," a bold claim, but chambers of commerce are not known for their modesty.
Each state had a state chairman for National Air Mail Week, and, as this cover and letter indicate, these state chairmen corresponded with each other. Presumably, the Virginia state chairman sent this letter to all of the other 47 chairmen, and possibly to the territories as well. Does anyone have NAMW covers from the territories? Seems like Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico would have participated, but I don't remember having a NAMW cover from any of the U.S. territories. If anyone has a territorial cover, I hope you will post it.
Here is a NAMW cover posted on May 19th, national pick-up day, in Morganville, Kansas. Morganville is a very small town in Clay County, Kansas, about fifty miles northwest of Manhattan, KS, population less than 200 souls in 2010, and probably not much larger in 1938. I find it surprising that there is a NAMW cover from there. While it may be an example of the popularity of NAMW and wide participation by many small towns, it is more likely, in this instance, that the sender was a cover collector. Note the circular hand stamp at the top left. It is typical of collectors of the 1930s. I also think that this is a generic cover used for NAMW by the small towns in Clay County, and possibly elsewhere Kansas, as evidenced by the magenta Morganville handstamp, which probably belonged to the sender. The photo cachet is of a Longren No. 1, an airplane built by Albin K. Longren of Topeka, Kansas in 1911. It is purported to be the first airplane built in the state of Kansas. A similar model is in the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka. The cover came with a chatty letter to Esther Davis, perhaps a sister-in-law or cousin, telling of the senders prospect for crops planted and animals he is raising for sale The cover's reverse has another Morganville postmark dated May 20th which suggests that it missed the May 19th dispatch, or the weather was poor and the the pilot was unable to complete the flight to the collection point. All in all, an interesting NAMW cover with an airplane cachet that makes it a desirable addition to my Aircraft on Covers Collection.
I collected this NAMW cover for the aircraft depicted in the cachet. It is not clearly identifiable and may be a composite drawing, but it closely resembles a Thomas Scout, a trainer used by the U.S. Army Air Corps. For this thread, however, the cover represents Claremore, Oklahoma, during NAMW. Claremore was at one time Will Rogers' hometown and also the site of Oklahoma's state military academy. The military academy was a two-year college-level school that morphed into what is now Rogers State University. In the cover, as an insert, was an interesting art deco style brochure describing the Will Rogers Hotel and its Radium Water Baths that claimed healing properties. The cover is postmarked on March 19, 1938, national pick-up day for NAMW. As evidenced by a receiving cancel on the reverse, it was flown to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where it was put on an airmail route.
This is a recent acquisition for my very selective NAMW collection. Most of my NAMW covers were purchased for their aircraft cachets, for being commercial usages, or from my home state of Iowa. This one caught my eye for its military origin, i.e. Fleet Air Base, San Pedro, CA. It was posted on May 19th, 1938, national pick-up day.
I didn't know that any U.S. military bases participated in NAMW until I saw this cover. Now I need to watch NAMW offerings more frequently and closely to see if I can find another.