Arago: Documents


Note from pilot Max Miller to Benjamin Lipsner


Airmail pilot Max Miller wrote this note to Benjamin Lipsner, Post Office Department superintendent of flying, on November 29, 1918. The note lists the five airmail flights Miller made during which he also carried a U.S. flag. Lipsner had originally presented Miller with an American flag on the pilot's flight from Elizabeth, New Jersey, to Washington, District of Columbia. The flag is in the National Postal Museum’s collection.

Although Miller referred to all five flights as "Pathfinding and Experimental," on the August 6 and November 28 flights Miller delivered the new Standard JR-1 mail airplanes from the company’s plant in Elizabeth, New Jersey, to the College Park, Maryland, airfield to be used as the airmail service's Washington terminus. The September 5 and 9 airmail flights were true pathfinding flights. Pilots Max Miller and Eddie Gardner were charged with determining the best flight path between the nation’s largest commercial centers at the time, New York City and Chicago, Illinois.

August 12, 1918, marked the first date that the Post Office Department operated every aspect of airmail service, from hiring and training pilots to selecting aircraft and setting routes.

November 29, 1918
Nov. 29 -18 / In answer to your request this is to state / that I have carried your flag on the following / Pathfinding and Experimental flights. / Aug 6 Elizabeth to Washington. / Aug 12 Washington to New York. / Sept 5 New York to Chicago. / Sept 9 Chicago to New York. / Nov. 28 Elizabeth to Washington. / Max Miller / Pilot. / U.S. Aerial Mail Service
paper; ink
7.5 x 14 cm (2 15/16 x 5 1/2 in.)
Museum ID:

Additional Records
  • Certificate of appointment for postmaster
  • Certificate of appointment for postmaster
  • Letter of appointment for Benjamin Lipsner
  • Max Miller's letter of support for Benjamin Lipsner
  • Franklin and Foxcroft rate chart
  • Flight report by pilot James Edgerton
  • List of the first airmail mechanics and pilots
  • Note from pilot Max Miller to Benjamin Lipsner
  • Note from pilot Max Miller to Benjamin Lipsner
  • Memo from B. Lipsner to Army Adjutant General
  • US Army Quartermaster's Department letter
  • Letter of retirement for John T. Jackson

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