The American Legion and aviation During the 1920s and 1930s

During the late 1920s and early 1930s, The American Legion probably did more to promote aviation in America than any other organization. Thomas Rumer in "The American Legion: An Official History" (1990) wrote that “one of the most popular projects in which a post could engage was the building of landing fields and airports.” The Legion’s promotion of aviation was partly to boost national defense and partly to encourage commercial aviation. As Rumer put it: “part of the burgeoning commercial aviation business would be conducted from Legion-built airfields and with pilots being guided back on course by place names painted on rooftops by Legionnaires.” (pp. 180-81)
The most conspicuous surviving artifacts of these Legion efforts may be the postal covers issued to mark the dedication of the airports it sponsored and commemorate various aeronautical events and competitions it organized. I write to inform members of the Legion of this little-remembered service it performed, to illustrate how interesting are some of these covers, and to encourage members interested in aviation to seek some for themselves. They are readily available on eBay, usually for under $5. I have around 60 of them and illustrate here a few of my favorites.

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