By John M. Hotchner
If you want to make sure you have gotten your rant to the right people to hear it, here is the perfect address, from the May 2, 1941, envelope shown nearby: “Senator Stimson Hull & Congressmen/White House/Washington, D.C.”
I bet that the letter contained in the envelope (unfortunately no longer there) was from a person weighing in on the subject of involvement in Europe’s war.
Cordell Hull (1871-1955), a former U.S. senator from Tennessee, was at this time secretary of state. (He holds the record as the longest serving secretary of state, 1933-44).
Hull succeeded Henry L. Stimson (1867-1950), who had been secretary of war (1911-13) and governor-general of the Philippines (1927-29) before serving as secretary of state under President Herbert Hoover (1929-33). He was again secretary of war (1940-45) for the entire period of the American involvement in World War II.
Based on the markings on the envelope, it first went to the White House, and was sent from there to the State Department.
Easy to miss while focusing on the address is the fact that the letter was mailed twice; the first time with only one 1½¢ Martha Washington Prexie stamp (Scott 805).
It was returned for additional postage as the rate was 3¢, and a 2¢ National Defense stamp (Scott 900) was added on top of the original cancellation.
It is doubtful that Stimson or Hull ever laid eyes on the letter. It would have been tabulated as part of the effort to keep an eye on the sentiments of the public.