AskDefine | Define aerogram

Dictionary Definition

aerogram n : a letter sent by air mail [syn: airmail letter, air letter, aerogramme]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. a thin piece of foldable and gummed paper for writing a letter for transit via airmail
  2. a wireless message


Extensive Definition

An Aerogram or Air Letter, also called an aérogramme, is a thin lightweight piece of foldable and gummed paper for writing a letter for transit via airmail, in which the letter and envelope are one and the same. Most postal authorities forbid enclosures in these light letters, which are usually sent abroad at a preferential rate.
The majority of aerograms have a pre-paid indicia, except New Zealand, Rhodesia and Ireland and many more countries, which sold, or sell, unstamped aerograms. The unstamped aerograms are referred to as 'formular aerograms'. They can be issued by either postal authorities or by private companies. Senders are required to write their name and address on the reverse.


The aerogram was largely popularised by its use during the Second World War (1939-45), after Lieutenant Colonel R. E. Evans, Royal Engineers, Assistant Director Army Postal Service Middle East Force (MEF), proposed that a lightweight self-sealing letter card that weighed only 1/10 oz be adopted by the British Army for air mail purposes. He recommended its use to Sir Anthony Eden, the Secretary of State for War during his visit to the Middle East, in late 1940. By January the following year, General Archibald Percival Wavell, the Commander-in-Chief, MEF was told by Eden that "Your Assistant Director Army Postal Services may forthwith introduce an Air Mail Letter Card Service for the Middle East. Use British stamps from all countries, including Egypt."
On 1 March 1941, the air mail service between the Middle East and the UK was started, using a combination of Imperial Airways seaplanes and military transport. The private nature of the air letter ensured its popularity among its users and that popularity, with its lightness, brought about its continued use as today's civilian air letter (aerograms) and the British military "bluey".
The production of United States aerograms has ceased, and when the stock of aerograms has been depleted, including the current USPS 60¢ Voyageurs National Park aerogram that is still on sale, it will not be reprinted.


See also

External links

aerogram in German: Aerogramm
aerogram in Galician: Aerograma
aerogram in Korean: 항공서간
aerogram in Norwegian: Aerogram
aerogram in Polish: Aerogram
aerogram in Romanian: Aerogramă
aerogram in Russian: Аэрограмма
aerogram in Thai: จดหมายอากาศ
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