This coming week in New York is the World Stamp Show, an event I first heard was coming to the Big Apple in 2011. It was one of those things where you hear about it and say to yourself, “Yeah, but 2016 is five years away.” A friend and I have been talking about it eagerly since January and plan to attend to take it all in. An interesting thing came through my in box yesterday about aviator Victor Carlstrom, who I had not heard of until reading the article. Governors Island has a rich aviation history and it turns out that Carlstrom ran airmail for the Post Office in a plane called “The New York Times” that landed on the island in fall 1916. Carlstrom’s Chicago-to-New York run took two days and was hampered by a fuel leak that forced him to touch down a little more than half way. Apparently this one-time thing was something of a promotional stunt for both the Post Office and the Times.
And this was a fairly big event. Carlstrom landed at Governors Island, where Leonard Wood was on hand to greet the pilot. The article has a great photograph of the two men. Presumably he landed on the island because of the Army base’s proximity to Manhattan and the resulting ease to transport the mail haul across the harbor by ferry. Even more touching is that Carlstrom was a Swedish immigrant who had come through Ellis Island a little more than a decade previously. From his plane he would have seen the Immigration station, whose traffic had slowed considerably since the start of the Great War.
Carlstrom set all kinds of aviator records but did not have much longer to live. When the United States entered the war the following spring he trained America’s soon-to-be flying aces. As this headline from the 9 May 1917 Brooklyn Daily Eagle shows, Carlstrom was killed in a training accident in Virginia.
(top image, NYPL; bottom, Brooklyn Daily Eagle)