NJFSC Chapter #44S..........PHS Affiliate #1A..........APS Affiliate #95
Society & Member's Galleries....
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Featured Covers Gallery
August 2012 Issue of the NJPH Journal HADLEY AIR FIELD, NEW BRUNSWICK. NEW JERSEY by Jim Walker
Early air mail service in the New York area used an assortment of air fields on Long
Island. Hazlehurst Field was the one in use at the commencement of Transcontinental Air Mail
Service in 1924 and was deemed inadequate due to smoke from city industries and ocean fog.
A new location was found at John R. Hadley's seventy-seven acre farm five miles from
New Brunswick, New Jersey. Located at what is now Route 529 and Hadley Road in South
Plainfield, this grass field became the Eastern Terminus of the new Transcontinental Air service.
On July 1, 1924, Hadley became the official air field for all New York Metropolitan air service.
It remained such until September 8, 1930, when the Eastern Terminus was transferred to Newark
Airport and all air mail routes serving New York City began using this facility. Hadley was
abandoned as an air mail dispatch center.
This cover was flown on the first day of service of the Transcontinental route. The Scott’s
#C4 eight cents stamp pays the single zone rate New York – Cleveland; it carries a boxed cachet
marking the occasion. It was mailed at a New York post office at 8:30AM on July 1, 1924. All
air mail was trucked to Hadley in time to make the flight. It is back-stamped at the Cleveland
Air field upon arrival, 4PM July 1st.
On July 1, 1925, the Air Mail Service began an additional service on the eastern leg of its
Transcontinental route, overnight service between New York and Chicago with intermediate
stops at Bellefonte, PA, Bryan, OH, and Cleveland, OH. This overnight service required two
cents extra, as the postage on this cover illustrates. On the first day of service, covers also
received the three-line cachet at the upper left. This cover was posted at Brooklyn at 2AM on
July 1 and, as noted on the cover, it was receiver at 10AM on July 2. It is also back-stamped
Chicago 7AM on the 2nd. It's not email but not bad for the day!
Private carriers, Contract Air Mail (CAM for short) began flying the mail on February 15,
1926. CAM Route #1 New York - Boston began July 1st. This cover was mailed on the first
day of service from Hartford, a stop along this route. Prepared by Rudolph Dinnebier, an active
collector-dealer of air mail covers, this cover mentions Hadley Field prominently in both the
cachet and the address. I believe Dinnebier’s idea here was to pick up the covers at the air field
where they would receive an air field back stamp and avoid having them forwarded to New York
City with the commercial mail and risk an overstrike cancel.
The following information is from the U.S. Highway Post Office Cover Catalog by the
Mobile Post Office Society March 2004.
The following information is from the U.S. Highway Post Office Cover Catalog by the
Mobile Post Office Society March 2004.
EXPERIMENTAL HPO* ROUTES - PRIOR TO 19412
9E. HADLEY FIELD AND NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. February 1928 to February 1930. (By
Bryant Alden Long) The Hadley Field & New Brunswick was established in February, 1928 (exact
date unknown) a full year before the first German HPO began and 13 years before the Wash &
Harris HPO No. 1 (the first permanent route, it still deserves that number). It was established and
manned by Railway Mail Service personnel, just like later HPOs (unlike similar Post Office operated
Miami truck which sorted air-mail later) and not by officials, but by three farsighted
clerks detailed to Hadley Field from the Penn Terminal RPO in New York. Normally, they sorted
the incoming air-mail at the Field (designated the Transfer Office, New Brunswick) in the wee
hours of dawn, for connection by ordinary truck to the N.Y. & Wash and N.Y. & Pittsburgh (PRR)
RPOs at New Brunswick. But when trains were late, there was no time, so they set up a sortingcase
on the truck-partition behind the driver, and sorted the mail enroute over their historic seven
mile run on "late-plane" days.
*Highway Post Office – This “experimental” route served Hadley Field on “late train days,”
sorting mail en route to Hadley Field.
The HPO operated for two years and was discontinued in February, 1930, when the last of the
commercial airlines were transferred to Newark Airport from Hadley Field.
The clerks -- W.D. Ugriss, M.A. Pence and E.J. Donnelly -- used the airfield postmarker on
their HPO trips. This read, "NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. TRANS. OFFICE," because the clerk
distributing unit was originally a small transfer office in the baggage room, PRR Station, New
Brunswick; as airmail increased it was moved to Hadley Field. The HPO truck left Hadley Field at
4:20 AM, and arrived at New Brunswick station around five, and was owned by Bradley & Peterson
Co. No mails were sorted on the return trip. The letter case had twenty pigeonholes, while wire
hooks were hung in the truck's mesh screen to hold open pouches; pouch mail was dumped on the
floor for distribution. A small stool was nailed to the floor and used by the letter clerk!
Whenever one of the planes of those early days crashed in the general vicinity, the HPO was
diverted from its route and rushed to the scene -- and the lengthy detour was put to good use, as the
ill-fated craft's mail cargo was sorted on the way back. Once, hitting a bump in the wretched road, all
mail was flung out of the case in a shower on the floor, and had to be resorted. Again, during a
snowstorm which blocked roads, the mails had to be transferred to sleds commandeered from kids
living near the airport. Even with all their ingenuity they could not manage to set up distribution
facilities on the Flexible Flyers; but Donnelly is rumored to have enjoyed a record belly-whopper
down one hill. Sorting in the truck was continued after arrival, if trains were late.
Police of New Brunswick and Raritan Township helped speed the truck through to the station,
little dreaming it was our first HPO. Even the clerks didn't know it was -- the phrase had not been
invented. Of the crew, Mr. Pence became Assistant General Superintendent, PTS, (Air) at New York,
while the others became clerks in New York AMF.
This cover carries the same cachet as the previous cover with a date changed to the 17th,
franked with C11 and canceled with the elusive Air Mail Field, New Brunswick, N.J. #NBR #1
Type 1. Little is known of this cancel. AAMC lists this cancel as used between 1928 and 1930
but examples are known as early as September 1926 used on CAM 13 New York - Philadelphia.
Hadley Air Field assumed the status of a small local airport. As Figure 15 (above) shows,
the airfield was pressed into service again in 1938 for National Air Mail Week.
This blotter advertises air taxi and package delivery service in December 1952. The
Airport was closed in 1968 after forty-four years of service. The property was sold and
developed and all that's left at the intersection of Route 529 & Hadley Road is an engraved
memorial shown in Figure 17.
ENDNOTES & REFERENCES:
1 American Air Mail Catalog 5th Edition Volume 1,2,& 5 1974-77, 6th Edition Volume 1, 1998
2 United States Highway Post Office Cover Catalog, 2nd printing March 2004, published by the Mobile Post Office
3 Web site: Abandoned and little known airfields: Northeastern NJ at http://www.airfieldsfreeman.
4 Web site: Abandoned and little known airfields: Northeastern NJ, op cit. Jack McKillop reported in 2007 that “part of the old airport is now a Holiday Inn.”
New Jersey Aeronautical Heritage... A Concise Chronology by H.V. Pat Reilly 1982
See also: http://www.airmailpioneers.org/history/HadleyField.htm
Past Featured Covers
May 2012 Issue of the NJPH Journal FIVE CENT 1856 STAMP ON COVERS FROM NEW JERSEY by Robert G. Rose
Have you ever fantasized, as have I, of forming a collection of United States
classic stamps used on covers from New Jersey? If so, the task to put such a collection
together would be a real challenge....
February 2012 Issue of the NJPH Journal A Wonderful Revolutionary Letter by Ed and Jean Sisken
In the Oct-Nov 1988 issue of La Posta, Tom Clarke wrote an article about a wonderful
Revolutionary War cover he had. Dated February 16, 1777, from New Brunswick, New Jersey...
November 2011 Issue of the NJPH Journal New Jersey Civil War Covers -Wyman the Wizard!
If you were to conduct a detailed review of the 190 Civil War
patriotic covers illustrated in NJPH whole nos. issues 100 and 117, or the
online exhibit of covers shown at NOJEX, you can begin to see the
emergence of some interesting patterns among the covers. An obvious
pattern is that there are several different correspondences represented in
the illustrated covers. Read more.....
August 2011 Issue of the NJPH Journal New Elizabeth, NJ Marking
ELIZABETHTOWN STAMPLESS POSTMARK ALTERED TO READ “ELIZABETH”!
This newly-discovered Elizabeth postmark falls at the time the name was changed from
Elizabethtown to Elizabeth, and a new handstamp was created from an existing Elizabeth-town
May 2011 Issue of the NJPH Journal Civil War Patriotic Covers from New Jersey.
The cover below is dated Mar. 10 from Bloomsbury, NJ to West Liberty, Ohio, with the imprint of S.C. Rickards, Stationers, 102 Nassau Street, N.Y., and shows one of the rare New Jersey Civil War patriotic images.
February 2011 Issue of the NJPH Journal A Folded Letter in art - was it from New Jersey?
This painting by Jacques-Louis David, painted in 1821, shows two Bonaparte princesses reading a stampless folded letter from their father, Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon. Was it written to them from New Jersey?
November 2010 Issue of the NJPH Journal REVOLUTIONARY WAR COVER
The cover of our most recent journal features this Revolutionary item, from Don Chafetz’s prize-winning exhibit of Morris County Mail Service, 1760 to 1850.
August 2010 Issue of the NJPH Journal NEW JERSEY ILLUSTRATED LETTER SHEETS
These items were made popular by the nice ones that exist from the California Gold Rush days, and those used during the Civil War, where they depicted contemporary scenes at the top of the letter sheet, the rest of which was then used to write a letter.
Earliest examples usually included an attached sheet and were used as stampless folded letters.
Later ones were more like letterheads, and were sent enclosed in envelopes.
May 2010 Issue of the NJPH Journal Celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America!
Treasure Island Scout Camp occupies a fifty-seven acre island in the Delaware River between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The camp is operated by the Cradle of Liberty Council (formerly the Philadelphia Council), Boy Scouts of America. Read more.....
February 2010 Issue of the NJPH Journal featuring a 1995 cover of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, the last of the conventionally-powered US aircraft carriers, decommissioned in 2009.
This great ship served almost 50 years in service of her country.
November 2009 Issue of the NJPH Journal featuring a Holiday Greetings from Viet Nam
Just before Christmas of 1971, a GI-produced Christmas card was distributed to the troops of the 101st Airborne for them to send home. A hand-made envelope served to carry it home to New Jersey.
As it was late in December, member Jim Walker used a U.S. air mail stamp instead of the usual free frank available to soldiers in combat,
August 2009 Issue of the NJPH Journal featuring a a Graf Zeppelin cover.
L127 First Trip to the USA in 1928. Special credit to John Trosky for this nice article!
WEB-SITE SPECIAL: an addendum to this article with additional information on an originating 1928 LZ-127 cover from Len Peck!
May 2009 Issue of the NJPH Journal featuring a DPO cover from Maurer, New Jersey.
A pretty little letter sheet invitation from a local hotel in Maurer (now part of Perth Amboy, Middlesex County), NJ turned up at the Garfield-Perry Show in Cleveland, in JWF (Jim Faber’s) stock. Used in 1905, it is from a community that literally does not exist anymore. The location is now the site of a large “tank farm” belonging to Chevron.Read more.....
February 2009 Issue of the NJPH Journal featuring a cameo campaign cover.
A December 15, Hoboken, NJ postmarked Embossed Cameo Campaign Envelope produced by William Eaves was offered this March by Robert A. Siegel Auctions featuring a beardless Abe Lincoln. Only a few examples are known. This Hoboken, New Jersey cover hammered on March 25, 2009 for $2600.00 before the 15% buyers premium! Read more.....
November 2008 Issue of the NJPH Journal featuring a cover of seasonal greeting.
A RFD ”Season’s Greetings” post card, cancelled December 24, 1915 with a Pittstown, NJ postmark, sent by the carrier on Route 2 out of Pittstown to the people along his route. Special thanks to Member Jim Walker for sharing this cover. Read more.....
Members: One of the benefits of membership is sharing your interests and collections! If you would like to share an interesting single item from your collection, or have multiple items to share - the NJPHS Galleries offer you the opportunity to put your collectibles on center stage. Please e-mail your webmaster about contributing to our on-line Galleries. We can even help you if you do not have a scanner or digital images. Just ask. Remember, we are always looking for articles of interest for the NJPH Journal, and would welcome your contribution whether it's a single page or five page article.
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