In the years between the beginning of formal air mail service between the United States and foreign countries and the beginning of World War Two, information about rates and routes was communicated to the business community and general public through notices published in the Daily Postal Bulletin, and the United States Official Postal Guides, and the monthly supplements to the postal guides. As foreign air mail became more prevalent during the 1930s, the volume of information which was included in the annual editions of the Official Postal Guide, published in June of each year, was so great that it became necessary to split the annual edition into two parts.
Beginning with first edition of the Fifth Series of the Official Postal Guide, Vol. 1, No. 1, published July 1937, Part I continued to summarize all of the basic Post Office operational instructions for the domestic postal service, and money order business. A new publication, The United States Official Postal Guide, Part II (often informally identified as the International Postal Guide), was issued as First Series, Volume 1, on the same date, and included a compilation of all of the mailing instructions, rates and routes required for international postal service. Although the Part I volume was scheduled for publication on a bi-annual basis in this Fifth Series, this new Part II volume was published annually for years 1938 through 1941. Following the entry of the United States into World War Two on December 8, 1941, information about foreign air mail routes and their schedules became an issue of national security. One of the first steps taken by the US Post Office Department was to discontinue the publication of the International Postal Guide after publication of the July 1941 issue, although a limited amount of information was continued to be included in the Daily Postal Bulletin.
To facilitate the business community, which still had a requirement to use air mail to support their activities with countries not in the immediate theater of war, a new publication, The Official Foreign Air Mail Guide (OFAMG) was established in the private sector to fill the need. Although the title included the term “Official”, this was merely a private enterprise. The editor and publisher was Otto Praeger, who had served as the Second Assistant Postmaster General between September 15, 1915 and March 1921.
This new publication was issued monthly, beginning in January 1940, and continuing until the final issue published in December 1946. Each issue included the up-to-date information about air mail routes between the United States and foreign destinations served by the air mail systems of the allied nations during the war, and was expanded to include all nations following the end of the war. At the beginning of each issue was a short summary describing events and new route and rate information. This has been compiled into the Summary document below. Once the International edition of the Official Postal Guide resumed publication with the July 1946 issue, the need for the Official Foreign Air Mail Guide ended, and its final issue was dated December 1946.
The pages in the issues presented here were made from the best available copies. While they are partially searchable, the image quality of some issues is such that if you are not able to find the information you need or expect with a standard search, you should continue to review the contents visually.
Our thanks is extended to Steven M. Roth, who graciously made his copy of the digital files of this publication available for use by the philatelic community.