Fire and Ice: Hindenburg Disaster Card

Photo: National Postal Museum
February 15, 2012
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Photo: National Postal Museum

Hindenburg Disaster Card, 1937

The zeppelin Hindenburg burst into flames on May 6, 1937, while attempting to land at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey. The disaster destroyed the ship in thirty-four seconds, ending the magnificent era of lighter-than-air commercial travel. Postal officials salvaged only about 160 burned pieces of mail out of more than 17,000 pieces that had been aboard. Salvaged from the wreckage, the U.S. Post Office Department enclosed the fragile, charred remains in a glassine envelope, officially sealing it before delivery to the addressee.