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Rare early map promoting the United States Post Office's newly established air mail routes, as the system stood in November of 1933.

The map shows three varieties of Air Mail service: "Routes operating", "Service suspended", "Foreign mail routes", as well as "Figures in circles indicate route numbers".

This map was issued just before the promulgation of the Air Mail Act of 1934, a major landmark in American Mail and related aviation policy

After an intermittent series of government-sponsored experimental flights between 1911 and 1918, domestic U.S. Air Mail was formally established as a new class of service by the United States Post Office Department on May 15, 1918, with the inauguration of the Washington-Philadelphia-New York route for which the first of special Air Mail stamps were issued.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the U.S. Congress used legislation (such as the Kelly Act and the McNary-Waters Act), and the U.S. Postal Service under Walter Folger Brown used air mail contract regulations, as tools to foster private-sector aviation companies (manufacturers, airlines, and conglomerates thereof) to encourage the development of a civil aviation system that would provide passenger airline service and cargo transport by air as widespread facets of American life. These events devolved into ethically dubious backroom deals between the government and corporations just in time for the Great Depression to create a populist backlash against such "fat cat" behavior. The resulting Air Mail scandal led to the Air Mail Act of 1934, which mandated the separation of air carriers from their equipment manufacturers, breaking up companies such as the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation.


As these routes were updated regularly and the usefulness of any particular edition of the map was very ephemeral, these Air Mail maps are very rare today.

We have previously handled a 1929 air mail route map, a 1934 edition, and the 1940 edition.

Condition Description
Dampstaining. Some repaired seprations at old folds. Some clean tears mended on verso.