Arago: Documents


Advertisement for airmail service


The Post Office Department issued this airmail advertising pamphlet in October 1918. Titled "Daily report of arrivals and percentage of efficiency for September, 1918," it boasted a 100 percent performance report for each flight that month.

Airmail service's preliminary high cost (twenty four cents per ounce in May, reduced to sixteen cents after two months) was more than many could spend for the service. By December 1918 the Department had reduced the cost even more, to six cents per ounce.

Postal officials worked hard to convince the public to use the new airmail service. Otto Praeger, the Department's second assistant postmaster general, boasted about the service in the pamphlet, calling the "Aerial mail permanent" and saying, "The aerial mail, operating 100 percent perfect daily, is now a permanent service of the Post Office Department.

"In the first five months of its operation it has performed more than 50,000 miles of service, has carried more than 2,400,000 letters, and has cut in half the time between Washington and New York.

"A letter by aerial mail costs only 3 cents more than a letter sent by special delivery. By reason of the special treatment given, it is practically as speedy, under existing congestion, as the telegraph, more desirable because it has the privacy of a sealed communication, and more serviceable because it admits of enclosures."

Along with Praeger's statement, the pamphlet publicized information about the service by noting that flights between New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., operated "daily, except Sunday." One page advertised the airmail schedule. Southbound mail left New York's Belmont Park airmail field at noon and arrived at Philadelphia's Bustleton airfield at 1:10 p.m. A different pilot and airplane then carried mail from Philadelphia, leaving at 1:25 p.m. and arriving at Washington's College Park (Maryland) airfield at 3:20 p.m. The northbound schedule stated that airmail leaving Washington at 11:30 a.m. arrived at Philadelphia at 1:15 and then proceeded from Philadelphia at 1:30 p.m. to New York, arriving at 2:30 p.m.

The back page of the pamphlet boasted that airmail service was not affected by weather, claiming, "No interruption to service by rain, snow, or other weather conditions." The back page states, "Service is certain, rapid, and affords greater privacy than a telegram, making it an ideal means for communicating important and confidential business matters. Postmasters will furnish printed list of Aeroplane Mailing Stations, giving latest hour for depositing aeroplane mail. Advances mail for important train connections at Washington, Philadelphia, New York."

Although the September 1918 flights were completed without incident, weather problems caused delays and flight cancellations in several flights through the winter of 1918-1919.

October 1918
Aerial Mail Serivce / Between / New York, Philadelphia and Washington / . . .
paper; ink; adhesive
12.5 x 15 cm (4 15/16 x 5 7/8 in.)
Museum ID:

  • Advertisement for airmail service
  • Advertisement for airmail service
Additional Records
  • Letter permitting Airmail Service use of grounds
  • Letter to customers explaining recovered 9/11 mail
  • Letter-copy book for the Chicago post office
  • Postal rates and regulations form letter
  • Postmaster reprimand form letter
  • Order to evacuate CSA Post Office records
  • Special passport for postal employee
  • Travel pass for William Goddard
  • Advertisement for airmail service
  • Chart of the Post Office’s first airmail flights
  • Travel commission for a Railway Mail Service clerk
  • Travel commission for a Rural Delivery special agent

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