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A "Special Delivery" Cover from 1902

The stamped envelope in Figure 1 has an embossed stamp that I believe is design U80 in the US Scott Catalog. The envelope color is not white nor blue, so I'm guessing it is US Scott Catalog number U368 (amber color envelope) or U369 (oriental bluff color envelope). Like all stamped envelope, the paper is watermarked (Figure 3). This particular watermark is #13 in the US Scott Catalog - the letters "POD" over "US."


Two-cents was the letter rate in 1902 - the year this envelope was postmarked - so the embossed stamp covered the postage.


This cover also includes a 10-cent "special delivery" stamp that is either E4 or E5 (depending on whether it has a watermark) in the US Scott Catalog. By affixing this stamp, the sender was assured that this letter would reach its destination quickly -- perhaps on the same day it was mailed, which was October 14, 1902.


The letter traveled a short distance -- about 7 miles from Wayne Street in Jersey City, New Jersey to St. John's College in New York City, or what is known today as Fordham University.


The letter was sent by Dr. Benjamin Edge, who lived at 95 Wayne Street in Jersey City. According to his obituary in the July 26, 1905, edition of The New York Times, Dr. Edge was born in Jersey City in 1851 and received his early education at Clapham College in London. He returned to the US after his father died and completed his medical studies at Bellevue Hospital in 1878. He was a prominent member of the community and was appointed by New Jersey governors to several state commissions. His death at age 54 was a shock to many, according to The Jersey City News of July 26, 1905. His body was initially buried in the Jersey City Cemetery but was moved the following year to a family vault at Holy Name Cemetery.


The recipient was his son, Nelson Joseph Edge, who in 1902 was a 19-year-old student at St. Joseph's College. I don't know what he studied in college, but by 1915 he worked for the Lexington Auto Tire Company in Jersey City. (He should not be confused with his uncle Nelson J.H. Edge who was a prominent banker in Jersey City.) Nelson Edge died in 1947 at age 64 in Jersey City. He must have done well in the auto tire business because his obituary in The Courier News of April 1, 1947, stated that he was "owner of much Jersey City property." He and his father were both descendants of Isaac Edge, one of the earliest settlers of Jersey City (then Paulus Hook) in 1806.


Figure 1 - Front

Figure 2 - Back

Figure 3 - Watermark

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