Smithsonian National Postal MuseumTitle: The Pichs CollectionSan Carlos Institute
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Smithsonian National Postal Museum The Pichs Collection, Exploring Cuba's History Through Postage Stamps
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Postal History
Aviation History

International Mail (13)

Written at Havana on September 24, 1864, this folded letter was taken directly to the dock and handed to the purser, or ship’s captain, of a steam vessel imminently scheduled to sail for New York. Unfortunately, the name of the vessel is not written on the face of the letter.

However, we do know that there was fairly regular weekly communication between Havana and New York at this time. The letter is docketed as being received at New York on October 1.

Tome I, p.31: Havana to New York, 24 September, 1864.

Addressed to Lanman & Kemp, Druggists, this cover came from a huge find of correspondence addressed to this firm from all over the world, encompassing the period 1850’s to 1879. The find included over 10,000 letters from Cuba alone. Lanman & Kemp were wholesale druggists who imported large quantities of dried plants and herbs to be prepared for medicinal purposes.

The United States Congressional Postal Act of June 30, 1864, effective July 1, 1864, established a 10 cents per 1/2 ounce uniform “blanket” rate for all mail to and from the United States carried by steamship or other vessel regularly employed in carrying mail, regardless of the distance involved. Upon arrival at New York, the exchange clerk applied his “Steamship/ 10” marking, meaning the letter arrived by steamship and was due 10 cents postage from the addressee.

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