December 16, 2011

But better luck with a US cover

I also recently wrote about a cover that I had ordered last week.  It arrived today (while I was preparing the immediate previous post about Macedonia).


The cover measures 3⅜ in. x 5⅜ in. and was opened on the right edge in this image.  There are no markings on the back of the cover.  The extra marking in the lower left corner looks like “Ans’d” which I would interpret as "answered” on March 16, but since I’m not an expert, I’ve probably got this wrong.  However, it could have taken twelve days by road to get there.  The pair of stamps was cancelled on March 4, 1920, in New York.  Wheeler, New York, is about 85 miles south-south-east of Rochester; by Google Maps directions, the journey from New York City today would take just over five hours to drive through New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

View Larger Map

Roads through those states in the early 20th century were nowhere near the reliable avenues that they are today.  By 1920, however, the New York Central Railroad had frequent service between New York and Rochester.  My reprint copy of the 1893 Travelers’ Official Guide lists several New York Central trains between New York and Rochester with a 12-hour travel time, and the maps show other lines connecting south to Hornell, just to the west of Wheeler.  The New York postman could have put it on a Rochester-bound mail pouch, but the extra markings and the lack of an RPO postmark make me think that this cover traveled overland instead.  I need to research mail traffic patterns more thoroughly to fully decipher what happened.

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