Military Postal History Society

Other Presentations

Slide 1

Hollywood Fan Mail During Wartime

Regis Hoffman & Thomas Richards

Slide 2

Purpose of Talk?.

Social history ? even in times of war, people tried to maintain some sense of normalcy.

Interest in Hollywood stars was universal. Will see letters from soldiers, POWs, internees and civilians.

Learned much about obscure areas of military postal history.

Slide 3

World War I ? Charlie Chaplin

?I Am Well? card from British FPO.

U.S. not in war ? assessed postage due.

Sent to Essanay Studios, Chicago.

Essanay hired Chaplin from Mack Sennett Studios in 1914.

He left after one year ? too cold

Forwarded to Hollywood.

Slide 4

World War I ? French Soldier

International appeal of ?America?s Sweetheart?, Mary Pickford.

Simple address.

Sender was from the French 122nd Infantry Regiment of the 31st Infantry Division.

Mailed in July of 1919 from Valenciennes, France. Interestingly, mailed through a civil post office, and not a military post office

Slide 5

World War I ? GB Civil Censorship

To Warner Oland (aka Charlie Chan).

Major role in ?The Jazz Singer? ? first ?Talkie? produced.

Played as Charlie Chan in 1931 for 15 movies.

Had no Oriental heritage.

UK censor tape.

Slide 6

World War I ? Antipodes Civil Censorship

Australia to Mary Pickford at Lasky Studios.

New Zealand to Mary Pickford at Photoplay Magazine in Chicago ? forwarded to Artcraft Studios in Hollywood.

Slide 7

Between the Wars

Double registered cover to Deanna Durbin from Alexis Holmansky on Route de Grouchy in Shanghai in French Concession.

Many Russian Jews in the early 20th century who were fleeing pogroms in Russia moved to China, especially Shanghai. No visa required.

Found in a box of miscellaneous China covers.

Slide 8

The Finnish ?Winter? War

Mail from MGM Helsinki to Liisa Rahola at the Finnish Legation in London.

March 12, 1940 - Peace with Russia.

March 24, 1940 - Treaty ratified.

March 29, 1940 ? letter sent.

Finnish censor tape (In Swedish and Finnish).

Ms. Rahola made only one film with MGM.

?Dollari Miljonna? ? ?One Million Dollars? in 1942.

Slide 9

WWII ? Allied Forces ? Dorothy Lamour

Boxed ?Poste Militaire ? No. 101?

Registration label (lower left) reads RPM 101 MEF ? No. 711.?

British crowned ?PASSED BY CENSOR? mark.


Censored in the United States (most likely Miami, Florida).

British Middle East Command provided Congolese troops with a military post office assigned the code ?101?. This office was located in Cairo, Egypt. 40,000 in number.

Slide 10

World War II ? Gene Autry

Gene Autry went through USAAF basic training at the Santa Ana Army Air Base, and then later served at Luke Field in Phoenix, Arizona

Was never at Alliance Air Base.

Forwarded to Republic Studios.

Slide 11

WWII ? Axis ?Allied Forces -> Deanna Durban

19th Italian Quartermaster Service Company attached to US Army.

A total of 192 Quartermaster Service Companies of 33,000 men working at 67 military installations in 25 states.

The Italian soldiers were no longer POWs, as Italy had surrendered and joined the Allies

The Italian soldiers were permitted to volunteer for non-combat duty in special service units of the US Army.

Slide 12

World War II ? French Trainees

To Yvonne De Carlo

5000 members of Free French air crew and ground support trained by U.S. Army Air Forces.

Nearly 1,400 French recruits learned to fly over the piney woods of the American South

Slide 13

World War II ? Yugoslav Trainees

Not addressed to a particular star. ? not uncommon.

Royal Yugoslav Air Force destroyed in 1941.

62nd Bombardment Group formed in 1942.

Pilots escaped to Greece, Russia and Egypt.

Partisan Yugoslav Air Force formed.

Lt. was probably sent to US for training ? similar to French pilots in previous slide.

Slide 14

World War II ? Chinese Trainees

The 8th Chinese Bomber Group trained in Pueblo from August 3, 1944 to May 5, 1945 with B-24 Liberators.

Peak of 520 Chinese trained at Santa Ana Army Air Base (SAAAB).

Note ?Free? franking. Allowed?

Slide 15

World War II ? Italian Internee

To Deanna Durbin.

From an interned Italian seaman.

Ansaldo Benedetto a deck hand on

the Italian ship ?Ida Z.O.?

Fort Missoula, Montana camp.

Red ?S? indicates censorship by Serena Fauste.

Free mail started on Nov. 6 1942 but not many found before 1943

Slide 16

World War II ? Italian POW

To Deanna Durbin

From POW at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri

During World War II Italian and German POWs were interned at the fort.

U.S. censor marking.

?UNCALLED FOR AT METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER? marking. She was at Universal Studios at this time. (Type MGM-1 marking)

Slide 17

World War II ? German POW

December 30, 1942 from German POW Oscar Preti at Crossville Internment Camp in Tennessee.

To Elyse Knox at Universal.

Made ?Follow the Boys?, one of the World War II morale-booster films in 1944

The usual request ? send some photos

POWs limited to 3 letters per month ? use one to send fan mail?

Slide 18

World War II ? German POW Camp

From guard at Camp Alva, OK to Deanna Durbin

The Allies captured large number of German and Italian soldiers from Erwin Rommels?s famed Afrika Korps.

Only German POWs were confined in Oklahoma.

Sent by Pfc. Ronald Campbell, 455th Military Police Escort Guard (M.P.E.G. )

Was to get 5x7 photo but was upgraded to 6x10!

Slide 19

German in Canadian POW Camp

Sent to Gracie Fields.

From German civil internee

Only German in Canadian Camp movie star mail that we have seen.

Forwarded from studio to her home.

Slide 20

Hunt Idaho Internee to Robert Paige

From the Minidoka Relocation Center, aka Hunt Camp.

Mainly Japanese Americans.

In use ? August 10, 1942 ? October 28, 1945.

December 1944 ? Supreme Court ruled illegal to hold US citizens ? freed soon after .

Return Address ? ?44-7-C?

44 = Block

7 = Barracks

C = Apartment

5 Japanese American Internees were in that apartment

Slide 21

Deanna Durbin Censored Fan Mail

Deanna Durbin?s short career spanned the WWII years.

Most popular star during the time.

Many of our examples are to her.

APO 759 ? Casablanca, Morocco - Camp Don B. Passage Aug 43.

Middle East POW marking.

Camp Passage reported to be staging area ? POW probably on way to NY.

Slide 22

World War II ? Allied POW

From member of Royal Canadian Air Force

Sergeant at Stalag Luft III (Sagan, Germany) to the wife of actor Ronald Colman. Card asks for aid.

Camp made famous as the location of the ?The Great Escape?.

Held by censor and released after the war

Slide 23

Post WWII - Mail to Ann Rutherford

Fan Mail to Actress Ann Rutherford ? played Scarlett?s sister in ?Gone With the Wind?.

From British FPO 746 on January 21, 1946.


NOTE: ?GOLDWIN? spelling.

Type MGM-1a marking.

Slide 24

Post World War II - RAF

To Maureen O?Hara

From a member of the Royal Air Force (RAF) in India in 1946

Slide 25

Post World War II ? RAF - -> Lauren Bacall

RAF Japan

RAF Colombo (Ceylon)

Slide 26

Post World War II ? British Forces

To Anne Blyth at Warner Brothers Studios.

British Forces in Egypt.

FPO 461 - March 25, 1947 (Port Said)

Mail was handed over to the Egyptian civil Post Office where a quicker delivery would result, rather than send the mail to England.

Slide 27

Post World War II ? British Forces

To Doris Day at Warner Brothers Studios.

FPO 791 ? August 15, 1954

British Forces in Germany assigned to the British Army of the Rhine.

Slide 28

What Do You Get ?

Hopefully this

Slide 29

But Maybe This From Star ? Jack Oakie

Slide 30


Fascinating area ? illustrates how people coped during times of war.

Both have been collecting movie related material for almost 20 years.

10+ years of writing ?Stars & Strife? column.

Thought we would run out of material at least 3 times ? but now have over 30,000 pieces of fan mail and other movie related covers.

Have at least a 2 year backlog of articles.

2016, 2018 - Articles in The Congress Book on the development of the philately of the Hollywood movie industry.

Slide 31

Thanks For Your Attention.

Any Questions?