Arago: Exhibits

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Otto Praeger

Otto Praeger was a relentless individual who was wholly devoted to the expansion of the Post Office Department. Praeger was the central driving force behind the Airmail Service. His creative accounting and tireless lobbying funded it, his policies governed it, and his ruthless policy of expansion legitimized it in the eyes of the politicians watching over him.

Praeger, however, was a constant problem for the rank and file pilots. His labor policies required pilots to fly in dangerous conditions or they would be dismissed. He wanted reliability and high delivery statistics. He wanted this so bad that his policies had little regard for the safety of his pilots. If a pilot refused to fly, regardless of the weather or faulty equipment, he would lose his job on the spot.

Under Praeger and his policies the Airmail Service did nothing but expand. Praeger believed in airmail, and was willing to accept the drastic losses that it was incurring; he believed that once everything was up and running, it would be a practical and workable means for transporting mail.

Photograph of Second Assistant Postmaster General Otto Praeger

Praeger was responsible for the growth and administration of the Airmail Service in its formative years.