American Air Mail Society Founded 1923

National Air Mail Week

National Air Mail Week—May 15-21,1938

Postmaster General James A. Farley and President Franklin Roosevelt created and proclaimed a week-long event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the inauguration of US airmail service.  They saw the event as an opportunity to gain wider support and usage of the Post Office Department’s airmail service.  The celebration week was preceded by the issue of a new 6c airmail stamp, the attractive bicolored eagle, Scott #C23.  Farley asked that every US citizen send an airmail letter during the week.  The slogan was “Receive To-morrow’s mail today.”

National Air Mail Week Cover


Postal officials encouraged special cachets to be applied to letters mailed on May 19th.  24-hour airmail duty by volunteer pilots all across the nation allowed many small towns to get one-day of airmail service.  The idea proved immensely popular. Cities, towns and hamlets created their own designs and held a wide variety of special events to actively participate in the week.  In California alone, 4.5 million airmail letters and 3200 packages were posted on May 19th .  There were 90 special airmail flights with 129 pick up points; 5193 actual miles flown.  In Massachusetts, famous women fliers, Blanche Noyes and Edith Bernson performed mail duties, as did Alma Harwood in New York.

Races with Pony express riders in Montana and a bicycle cavalcade in New York got press coverage.  Oxen carts, reindeer teams, stage coach and wheel equipped dog sleds moved the mail from the airports and grass strips to post offices in rural Maine.  An autogiro performed in Chicago.  This was truly a national event.

Collecting NAMW covers is a colorful and interesting hobby and is not difficult.  They can be organized by State, region or specific CAM Route.  While there are a few very scarce covers, most are affordable and available through many sources.

Lee Downer, AAMS



The best I have seen is the Aerodacious website.