I’m a big fan of the website Letters of Note, which views it’s mission as giving publicity to “Correspondence deserving of a wider audience.” Although not normally a history fan, I do appreciate many of its stories about different pieces of mail that have particular significance, either to the sender and receiver, or just because of what they reveal about society at large and the personalities of certain famous individuals.
Today, I want to share the text of the world’s first piece of transatlantic air mail. Much like the first telephone call, it’s short and to the point, recognizing not much more than the significance of how the event would change the future:
June 12th 1919
My Dear Elsie.
Just a hurried line before I start. This letter will travel with me in the official mail bag, the first mail to be carried over the Atlantic. Love to all.
Your Loving Brother
You can read more about this letter at Letters of Note. It’s not hard to imagine that in the near future there won’t be much air mail left to transport. Consider the decline in paper mail overall as email and other electronic communication have taken hold. Then consider that even the little paper mail left may someday just be opened, scanned, and re-printed or electronically delivered to the sender without much physical transport in between. I remember reading about this as much as two years ago, so the next shift in mail technology is already happening.