The Royal Mail Steam Packet Company (RMSP) was founded by James MacQueen. While a young man, he lived on Grenada and managed a sugar plantation. He traveled throughout the Caribbean, forming ideas on the flow of trade and correspondence. He created a plan, which he coaxed through the British Parliament, and in 1837 he was granted a Royal Charter for a fleet of steamers to operate from Britain to the Caribbean and Central America, with a route north to New York and Halifax. He received the British Government mail contract in 1840, and the first mail voyages began in 1842. His line eventually grew to include routes to South America and South Africa.
My passion, of course, is for the postcards of the mail steamers, like these by Charles Dixon and Kenneth Shoesmith.
And below, a menu from the “farewell dinner” of a voyage, with an illustration by Kenneth Shoesmith…
And I enjoy this postcard of the Kingston, Jamaica, RMSP office, which has a real “post office” air to it.
For a nice history of The Royal Mail Lines, go here.
Illustration by Cyril Cowell
Elvis Presley reads mail while serving in the Third Armored “Spearhead” Division in Germany, circa 1959.
A beautiful bookplate is a lovely surprise when one picks up an old book, and the British Museum is publishing a collection of bookplates from its collection, entitled Ex Libris: The Art of Bookplates by Martin Hopkinson, in the very near future. My thanks to Laurie Winship for the discovery.
Illustration by Paul Stahr (1883-1953) for Judge magazine, 1919, in which we see that even Air Mail is subject to flight delays.
An illustration of the Post Office in the Government Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893, in Chicago, by Victor Perard (1870-1957).
A puzzling choice in the 1950s on 12th Street in Washington, D.C.
Image circa 1939, from the collection of the National Postal Museum.
Jack Ziegler in The New Yorker
From a Rally Day postcard published by The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, postmarked 1913, with an illustration by W.N.W.
The cover of Fe Mail Art, issue number six of Vile magazine, 1978. Just listed my copy on eBay; parting is such sweet sorrow.