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
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.