San Diego Air & Space Museum’s Library & Archives Launches New 100th Anniversary of U.S. Airmail Online Exhibit

The San Diego Air & Space Museum’s Library & Archives launches a new online exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of U.S. airmail.

On May 15, 1918, the first airplane to provide regularly scheduled airmail service in the United States took off from the Potomac Park polo grounds in Washington, D.C., headed to New York City, a 218-mile route. Sponsored by the U.S. Post Office and personally sent off by President Woodrow Wilson, the trip proved to be an important one in the nation’s history, not only leading to quicker mail deliveries but, more importantly, accelerating the growth of aviation in America. Delivering mail made flying potentially profitable. In time, manufacturers competed to build larger, more capable, faster and safer aircraft to carry the mail, which then led to expanded passenger service and today’s airlines.

San Diego has a close connection to the initiation of airmail service, as the man who was directed to organize the first service was Reuben H. Fleet. Fleet was given only 12 days to find the pilots and the equipment to make the first airmail service possible—a remarkable accomplishment. Fleet later founded Consolidated Aircraft and relocated his company to San Diego in 1935. At one time, Consolidated—later the Convair Division of General Dynamics—was San Diego’s largest employer. To honor Fleet and all of those who flew the mail, the San Diego Air & Space Museum has created an online exhibit celebrating their history.

To view the museum’s new online exhibit, 100th Anniversary of Airmail, visit

The San Diego Air & Space Museum is California’s official air and space museum and education center. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and was the first aero-themed museum to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The Museum is located at 2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA, 92101. The museum and gift store are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.with admissions until 4:30 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Now showing: SPEED: Science in Motion, an interactive exploration of the fastest vehicles ever produced.

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