Inside the APRL Archives: Lytle S. Adams Scrapbook of First Ship-to-Shore Air Mail

This post is the first in a quarterly series highlighting items from the APRL’s archival collections and historical objects. In this series APRL Research Assistant Marian Mills writes about some of the unique and rare items found in the APRL Archives.

Dr. Adams (holding mail bag) on the S.S. Leviathan

In 1929, oral surgeon and part-time inventor Dr. Lytle Adams planned a test flight to demonstrate his latest invention of a device that could pick up mail from a ship by a moving air plane. This first experimental flight from ship-to-shore was planned for the S.S. Leviathan’s trip, which departed from Southampton on June 2, 1929 and arrived in New York on June 7. This first flight was unsuccessful.

Continue reading “Inside the APRL Archives: Lytle S. Adams Scrapbook of First Ship-to-Shore Air Mail”

Fiction with Philatelic Themes

Before I started working at the APRL in December, the majority of my knowledge about stamp collecting came from Terry Pratchett’s book, Going Postal. As a teenager I was a huge fan of Pratchett’s humorous fantasy books set in the fictional Discworld, and Going Postal was one of my favorites. When I arrived at the APRL I was glad to see that the book was included in the library’s collection.

The story of Going Postal concerns Moist van Lipwig, a con artist who receives a job as the Postmaster General of the non-functional Ankh-Morpork Postal Service. As postmaster general, Moist introduces postage stamps, delivers decades of undelivered mail, and competes with a visual telegraph company. The following excerpt is a conversation between Moist van Lipwig and his employee Stanley Howler (likely named after Stanley Gibbons) after Moist invents the first postage stamps. Continue reading “Fiction with Philatelic Themes”