The First Flying Machine From Washington!

On my F is for Firsts page, I show this cover with the first US airmail stamp, mailed from Washington, DC to New York City on May 21, 1918, with the notation "This letter came on the first flying machine from Washington!" I thought the letter interesting enough that I am reproducing the entire text below. Remember that World War I was still being fought at the time - the armistice was finally signed on November 11, 1918.

2145 Decatur Place
May 21st

Our greetings to you, dear friends, by the "Air Ship Mail Service", and soon, we shall see you. Dr. [Seomen? Slosser?] is better, and he is working every day. We have been at Camp Meade, for you know his interest is in "Camp Sanitation", and he is trying to do his part. We have been at the Walter Reid Hospital, where many of our own American wounded are receiving good care. The Red Cross procession was inspiring. And the "Blue Devils" with the French commission have won all hearts.

Our love always, Mary Louise [Seomen? Slosser?]

Some of the above is guesswork, as the handwriting of the letter is not the clearest - I was able to find a few Internet references to the family name [Seomen? Slosser?], but no connection to DC and the time period in question. The reference to "French Blue Devils" struck me as odd until I "Googled" that phrase and found this page , which explains it admirably.

The stationery on which the letter is written has a small monogram at the top, with the latin motto, Spectemur Agendo, which means "Let us be judged by our actions", and in a quick Internet search I found it associated with various charitable and religious societies, numerous English and Irish families, as well as The Royal Dragoons (army cavalrymen) of Great Britain, so presumably it is either the [Seomen? Slosser?] family motto, or that of some organization with which they were associated at the time. Or maybe the good doctor and his wife just liked it.

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All text Copyright © 2000, William M. Senkus

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Revised -- 01/09/2002