Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tailspin Tommy, Hal Forrest, and Copyright

At the urgings of Librarian of Congress Ainsworth Rand Spofford all of the functions of copyright for the United States were centralized in the Library of Congress in 1870. This more or less guaranteed that the Library of Congress would become the largest library in the world. With this responsibility came an unbelievable amount of mail for the Library. Millions and millions of pieces of mail. Perhaps no postal item received by the Library was quite as spectacular as the envelope shown above which was designed and mailed by Hal Forrest (1895-1959), creator of the Tailspin Tommy comic strip. The comic strip was started in 1928 and ended in 1942. The letter was mailed as best as I can tell in 1932 and Forrest was almost certainly seeking copyright (or at least information about copyright) for some of his material. The most interesting discussion of Hal Forrest and Tailspin Tommy on the web is on the Collect Air website. A gallery of some his work is located HERE. I am busily working on an exhibit of postal librariana related to the Library of Congress for the American Philatelic Society's stamp show in Richmond, VA in August and you can be sure this envelope will be in the exhibit.

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