National Air Mail Week

Bill Hopson

Next week marks the 75th anniversary of National Air Mail Week, so declared by President Roosevelt and Postmaster General James A. Farley back in 1938. The celebration honored the 20th anniversary of the first air mail flight in 1918 and was a tribute to the speed and reliability of the Post Office airmail service.

During National Air Mail Week, Farley encouraged everyone to send a letter via air mail. There were an abundance of contests to celebrate the occasion, such as racing pigeons and stagecoaches against air mail flights, essay contests, and creative poster contests. Individual towns across the country also embraced the festivity by creating cachets with their own local touches to send through air mail.

Many special flights were added to locations all across the country in support of the increased mail volume. Landing spots were cleared that had never received a plane before in preparation for new arrivals. Volunteer pilots were even asked to help deliver the special cargo, with approximately 60 pilots signing on for the task.

The 1938 National Air Mail Week event captivated the hearts and minds of the American population during a particularly difficult economic time in American history.

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1 Comment

  1. Jonn

     /  May 23, 2013

    That had to be one scary job. Planes were expirimental gadgets back then, and many of them failed. The guy in the photo died in a crash a few years after the photo was taken. No lights, no guidance systems, just some bold fly by the seat of your pants flying. Now we fly drone planes remotely in a different part of the world. Aviation has sure changed a lot since the days of airmail.

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