Handwriting and Typing Styles

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The First handwriting Style

Recognizable Hammelman serviced covers are generally found in two different handwriting styles and two variations of the same typing style. The most common handwriting style is readily recognized by many FDC collectors. As we have seen, it is a bold and flowing Spenserian style.
To distinguish this style from the second handwriting style, it will be coded H1 as opposed to a H2 for the second style. It is commonly found on covers postmarked from 1913 through 1927 and infrequently after that. The latest FDC that I have found it on is that for the Byrd Antarctic Issue of 1933 (Scott 733). These covers readily catch one’s eye. Look at a James McCusker catalogue (from ten years ago), usually at the first and second pages of FDC photos, and the Hammelman covers jump out at you. McCusker This style is also found on Henry’s FFCs.

Some collectors and dealers continue to confuse Siebold serviced covers with Hammelman covers. This is probably due to the large number of covers sent to the Siebold residence by both servicers to Siebold and his daughter. FDCs The differences are apparent, as shown by the Siebold script below.
hamscript 001
However, Hammelman and Siebold frequently coordinated their FDC efforts in many ways. One interesting example of this is a Pilgrim combination FDC which was sent special delivery. The address is in Hammelman’s H1 script while the words “Special Delivery” on the cover are in Siebold’s handwriting. FDC

More Controversary

There use to be some controversy over who actually did the H1 handwriting on Henry’s covers. Heins said of Hammelman, “Most of his covers are easy to spot because they are often addressed in a very beautiful, distinctive, and inimitable handwriting style. This handwriting is rumored to have been the work of one of Hammelman’s customers, a woman who worked at the Golden Stairs Tea Room in Washington, DC.” None of Heims references support this fact. Possibly it was general knowledge when Heins wrote his Hammelman article. The easiest lead to follow is the Tea Room. It was located in New York City, not Washington. Hammelman FDCs were sent to that address in 1923. Other FDCs are also addressed to Miss Clara Luebkert at that address and at an address in Mount Vernon, New York. This is the same Clara Luebkert who is known to have received Hammelman FDCs at the USPOD in 1920. FDC She left the USPOD in 1921 and returned to her home town of Mount Vernon. She must be ruled out since the handwriting continued for years after that. Another name nominated as a candidate for assisting Henry was William Siebold’s daughter Marie. Sine she was born in 1909, it’s definite that she is not the source of the handwriting which first appeared in 1913.


A third candidate was discovered when this author came across an April 15, 1925 first day of rate(s) cover addressed to Marie Siebold which displayed the new 15-cent registry rate and the new 3-cent fee for a requested return receipt. There is a return address of E. Platt at Henry’s residence on Seventh Street. Both addresses are in the Hammelman H1 script. This undoubtably was the Edith Platt who worked at the USPOD. A check of city directories showed that she never lived on Seventh Street. It appeared to me at the time that she probably prepared the cover and did the return address as a matter of convenience for Henry. Eureka, Heins rumor bears fruit. I presented this discovery and my conclusion at a Hammelman seminar that I presented at Americover ’98. Cover

Back to Earth

I learned, a few weeks after the seminar, that the U.S. Archives maintained personnel records for retired USPOD employees such as Henry at their Records Center in St. Louis. I obtained a copy of his file with documents ranging from his first year of employment in 1907 to his retirement in 1933. Included was Henry’s initial application form. On it, he attested that he actually filled out the form. The handwriting on it and several other documents matches that of the FDCs. File The rumor trial had led full circle back to Henry, the obvious preparer of the covers. I corrected my Hammelman presentation when I gave it again at NAPEX 2000. A check of Edith Platt’s USPOD personnel file indicated that her handwriting had nothing in common with the Hammelman H1 or H2 scripts.

August C. Weber

Another possible source of misidentity is to mistake FDCs serviced by August C. Weber of Brooklyn, NY as being Hammelman covers. Both sets of covers have Spenserian styles, but Weber’s script is more controlled with short tails as opposed to Henry’s long tails on the last letters of words and Weber did not use Spenserian caps on the NY on his covers while Henry did on his New York covers. Weber’s covers are generally found addressed to Brooklyn and the New York City area. Weber

The Second Handwriting Style (H2)


The H2 style is recognized by fewer FDC collectors. It is easy to recognize and appears to be in an attractive Copperplate calligraphy style. I am aware of only ten different Hammelman FDCs found in this style. The earliest is a Scott 537 FDC addressed to Mr. E.E. Sherer, a USPOD employee. He also received Scott 537 FDCs with the H1 style. Sherer The next H2 FDC is addressed to Mr. Fred Ludwig, a boarder at Henry’s Seventh Street address. Ludwig The third is addressed to Mr. D.R. Niblack, another USPOD employee. Multiple copies of each of these covers, which are dated from 1919 to 1922, are known. The next H2 FDCs are not dated until the 1929-31 period and most of them are also addressed to USPOD employees. The style is found on several Hammelman flight covers from the later period as well. It is not known for certain why no H2 FDCs exist for 1923 through 1928.

H2 Style FDCs

Date Scott No. Addressee City
03/03/19 537 Mr. E.E. Sherer Washington, DC
12/21/20 549 Mr. Fred Ludwig Washington, DC
10/04/22 563 Mr. D.R. Niblack Alexandria, VA
10/19/29 681 Mr. R.B. Rutledge Washington, DC
10/19/29 681 Mr. O.L. Ballard Washington, DC
10/19/29 681 Miss N. Saunders Washington, DC
02/10/30 C12 Mr. O.A. Borcherding Balliston, VA
01/01/31 705, 715 Mrs. C. Kleinschmidt Clarendon, VA
01/01/31 708, 713 Mr. Riley Hastings Cherrydale, VA
01/01/31 711, 712 Mr. D.R. Niblack Alexandria, VA
05/21/31 702 Mr. R.B. Rutledge Washington, DC
10/19/31 703 Mr. S.H. Stutzman Washington, DC

Hammelman Covers?

There are four clues that link the above covers to Henry. The first is the similarity of names and addresses on the H2 covers to those on H1 covers. The second clue is that there are a few FFCs that have the address in the H2 script and a return address on the back side of the cover in the H1 script. These appear to be covers that Henry sent to relatives of USPOD employees with the employee’s return address. The third clue involves a set of five combination FDCs for the Washington Issue, each addressed to a known Hammelman addressee. The covers, in total, contain all of the new adhesive stamps and new stamped envelopes of the Issue that were released in Washington, DC on January 1, 1932. Each cover has a different combination of the stamps and envelopes. Three of the covers are in the H2 script and two are in the H1 script. It appears to be an orchestrated effort. A small number of these sets, in the same combinations, are known in normal size and legal size covers. FDCs

Script Addressee City Time Stamps Env.
H2 Mr. Riley Hastings Cherrydale, VA 6 PM 3c, 8c 1c
H1 Mr. E.M. Horman Landover, MD 6 PM 1/2c, 4c, 9c 1 1/2c
H2 Mr. D.R. Niblack Alexandria, VA 6 PM 6c, 7c 2c
H2 Mrs. C. Kleinschmidt Clarendon, VA 9 PM 1c, 10c 4c
H1 Mr. O.L. Borcherding Balliston, VA 6 PM 1 1/2c, 2c, 5c 5c

The fourth clue involves the previously mentioned Scott 563 Niblack covers, of which three are known. A close examination of the address on each cover reveals that a H1 Hammelman mailing to himself at his Seventh Street residence initially existed on the cover, the address was erased, and a H2 Niblack address was then added to the cover. FDC Records from Niblack’s USPOD personnel file indicate that the H2 script does not belong to him.

Finally: Claire Kleinschmidt

According to the 1930 census, when Henry lived at 42 B Street S.W. in Washington, he shared apartment 105 with 33-year-old Mrs. Claire Kleinschmidt and Walter, her two-year old son. The census mentions that Claire moved to the United States from Germany in 1923 and was presently employed as a maid. This relationship lasted for about three years. Claire’s name and the B Street address appear on several of Henry’s FFCs from this period. These and some other FFCs all have the H2 script. Could it be that the H2 script belongs to Claire? Her name also appears on one of the H2 FDCs categorized earlier. However, some of those FDCs are dated possibly before Claire was living in the United States (However, the census data could be in error). The Niblack FDCs are not a problem since their H2 scripts were added at some time after those covers were serviced. The same is not known for the Scherer and Ludwig covers. I continue to look for more clues to help me completely firm up the source of the H2 script, but I do have a feeling that what is true for the Niblack covers could also be true for the Scherer and Ludwig covers. My best belief (99%) is that Clare is indeed responsible for this second Hammelman script. Another clue possibly leading to Claire is that I note that many German originated Hindenburg/Zeppelin flight covers have the Copperplate style of script. I am not assuming she serviced those covers, but believe that script is typical for many German born people.


A Newly Discovered Handwriting Style (H3)

We recently (2014 update) came across Nellie Saunders, another addresser for Hammelman FDCs. She was a secretary who worked at the USPOD with Henry. Her name appears on a few of Henry’s FDCs and FFCs as well as one of the FDCs that we believed she addressed for Henry (much like Claire Kleinschmidt). Her capital M is quite distinctive. It appears that Nellie helped out with the 2-cent reds during 1928 and 1929. FDCs

The Hammelman Typewritten Covers (T)

My discovery that Henry had serviced typewritten covers was triggered by a typed FDC addressed to a known Hammelman client that was sent special delivery. The words “Special Delivery” were written in Henry’s H1 script. A search of auction catalogues revealed that several other typewritten FDCs sent to other Hammelman clients were all typed in a similar style and font. FDC The same appeared true for some covers received by the Siebolds. FDC

Note the deepness of the font coloring and the extended line staggering. William Siebold’s typewritten covers have a different font and are less staggered. Examination also showed that there could be single or double line spacing. This typewriting style is found on Hammelman FDCs as early as 1922 and as late as 1934 (National Parks Issue). In general, there seems to be no logic as to whether a Hammelman FDC issue is handwritten or typed, though he occasionally did both for an issue. I’m not sure why.

Later FDCs

The typewritten covers serviced by Henry after 1930 tend to show his growing disinterest in FDCs. The addressing is not as crisp as earlier addressing and his envelopes are frequently of a lower quality. This could have been caused by the quantities he was servicing (Mittermeier mentioned 200 per issue) or maybe he was becoming disheartened by his neglect of the use of cachets. Other than air mail FDCs, it appears that he no longer serviced other FDCs after moving to New York City in 1935.FDC

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