FIVE RAILWAY POST OFFICE FILMS
VHS video cassette in hard plastic case
This 120-minute video tape includes five movies. These are: TAKE A LETTER, THERE GOES THE MAIL, YOUR POSTAL SERVICE, OUR POST OFFICE, and ATLANTA REGION SCENES.
The first film on the tape is a 15-minute movie TAKE A LETTER that was made by Gil Mereweather in the late 1940s at Syracuse, New York. This video is transferred from the only surviving 8 mm black and white, silent print, which Bryant A. Long mentions in his book, MAIL BY RAIL published by Simmons-Boardman in 1952. In general, it shows the trip of a letter from sender to receiver with lots of interior and exterior scenes aboard New York Central System Railway Post Offices (RPOs). A notable scene is the first trip of the Syracuse, Oswego and Rochester Highway Post Office (HPO) in 1949.
Next, THERE GOES THE MAIL was copied from another only-surviving 15 minute, black and white, silent film from the Indianapolis, Indiana area. This movie concentrates on the clerks, first examining the trains they rode (steam and early diesel-era scenes from St. Louis, Terre Haute, and Indianapolis are included), then the clerks themselves at home preparing for trips as well as at Railway Mail Association events, and their wives who were in the Women's Auxilllary and are shown arriving for a meeting and doing sewing together.
Film 3 is YOUR POST OFFICE which was a documentary from 1948. It is 15 minutes long, black and white, with sound. This features an overview of the New York City Post Office showing brief scenes of clerks, letter carriers, a PRR RPO on the Horseshoe Curve as well as a non-stop exchange on a RPO behind a GG-1, pneumatic tubes, air service (including a helicopter mail view landing at the Los Angeles Terminal Annex that was adjacent to the Los Angles Union Passenger Depot) and vehicle service. It concludes with two factual stories about Postal Inspector cases protecting the mails and the public.
Film number 4 is OUR POST OFFICE (second edition) which has scenes at the Evanston, Illinois, post office, with mail being handled between Milwaukee and Chicago aboard Chicago & St. Paul RPO train 161. This is a color film that runs 10 minutes and has sound.
Finally, the remaining hour consists of color 8mm films taken by Joseph K. Smith, a clerk aboard the Charlotte & Atlanta RPO between 1968 and 1970. In July 2000, I acquired about 20 reels of 8mm film from Mr. Smith. These were transferred to videotape by Strauss Photo-Technical Services in Washington, DC, in March 2001. At the end of that month, I visited Joseph a second time. During two evenings, I recorded his comments while watching the films. During 2002, a two-hour edited tape was created of his best scenes with the narration added. Here is a copy of the finished product. Every non-stop mail exchange between Greensboro and Atlanta is shown from on-train pictures taken from the RPO car door. There are also scenes of sorting mail aboard the trains, interior views of the Atlanta Terminal Station transfer office, a HPO stopping at the Transfer Office, the razing of that station, and reunions of clerks taken at Atlanta restaurants after the RPOs were discontinued. Although these films by Mr. Smith are grainy and there are some places of under- or over-exposure of film, this is wonderful documentation of Southern Railway trains 29, 38, 47, and 48 and stations when few people were taking home movies, and almost no one was focusing on the disappearing RPO service.
Here are some sample video clips from
these films at http://www.railwaymailservicelibrary.org/videos/
TAKE A LETTERHanging and catching a mail pouch on a New York Central System branch line
THERE GOES THE MAILViews inside a Railway Post Office
YOUR POSTAL SERVICEIntroduction to this MARCH OF TIME - FORUM EDITION film
OUR POST OFFICEOutside and inside of a Chicago & North Western Railway RPO
ATLANTA REGION SCENESRazing the train sheds at Atlanta Union StationGreensboro & Atlanta RPO clerks
These video clips aren't as good as what is on the video tape. They only hint at the interesting material that rail historians and postal researches will find in these programs. Your complete satisfaction is guaranteed. If not pleased, you may return the cassette in good condition and receive a full refund including your return Media Rate USPS postage.
The purchase price covers the preservation of the original films at the Railway Mail Service Library. It also includes the conversions and all costs to produce the tape. Remaining proceeds benefit restoration of the Boyce, Virginia, railway station as well as monthly utility expenses. This former 1913 Norfolk and Western Railway station is shown before repairs and repainting commenced in a 2003 photo . You may learn more about the Railway Mail Service Library at its website or on the RMSL "AboutMe" page.
Price is as follows:
$17.99ea plus Shipping, Costing $3.01 for the first and $1.00 for each additional Cassette purchased for Domestic Shipping and $5.01 for International with $2.00 extra for each additional.
You can make payments via www.PayPal.com to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail a check to:
RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE LIBRARY
117 EAST MAIN STREET
BOYCE, VA 22620-9639