Letter of appointment for Benjamin Lipsner
This letter, dated July 2, 1918, is from Second Assistant Postmaster General Otto Praeger to U.S. Army Capt. Benjamin B. Lipsner (1887-1971). It appointed Lipsner to the newly-created post of superintendent of the airmail service.
In his letter Praeger says, "Referring to our conversation yesterday, I beg to advise that the Post Office Department will appoint you Superintendent of the Aerial Mail Service in charge of its operation of mails, at the rate of pay of $4,200 per year, effective August 1, 1918.
"This tender is made subject to the willingness of the War Department to relinquish your services.
"Kindly indicate at as early a date as possible whether you can accept."
At the time of this appointment, Lipsner had spent three months assisting Major Reuben Fleet with the airmail service while the U.S. Army operated it for the Post Office Department.
Lipsner and Praeger did not get along, and on December 5, 1918, Lipsner resigned his position with a public attack on Praeger and Postmaster General Albert Burleson, giving an unusually critical letter of resignation and charges to the press. In his letter Lipsner accused Praeger and Burleson of trying to direct public funds to aviation companies for personal gain. Praeger and Burleson pointedly denied all accusations. Lipsner offered no proof, and the subject died-down in the press.
The memo includes a typographical error, with Lipsner’s initials in the address listed as A.B. instead of B.B. At the memo's top, Lipsner added the words “Exhibit No. 3.” Years after leaving the service, Lipsner, who had saved several documents and articles from his time as superintendent, created exhibits (with the help of aviation historians) that he exhibited publicly.