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Lanman & Kemp Correspondence from Puerto Rico


Puerto Rico is probably the second most common origin for Lanman & Kemp correspondence, following Cuba.  As with Cuba, there were a number of postal routes between Puerto Rico and the United States; however, unlike Cuba there were no steamship routes operating directly between the United States and Puerto Rico.


Via St. Thomas and Cuba


Arecibo, Puerto Rico, November 10, 1861, Amell Julia & Ca. forwarder marking, San Juan November 11, 1861, transit and "PAID AT SAN JUAN PORTO RICO" crown circle, rated 1/- sterling packet postage per Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. Derwent to St. Thomas.  St. Thomas, Danish West Indies, November 13, 1861 transit, then likely via Havana to New York steamship route. New York "STEAMSHIP 10" marking, rated 10¢ due incoming steamship rate for distance less than 2,500 miles.


Via St. Thomas and Halifax


Arecibo, Puerto Rico, May 10, 1861, carried outside the mails to San Juan by Amell Julia & CA forwarder. "PAID AT SAN JUAN PORTO RICO" crowned circle, May 11, 1861, paid 1 shilling British sea postage per Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. Clyde to St. Thomas, May 14, 1861, transit then Cunard Merlin via Bermuda to Halifax, then via Cunard America to Boston. Boston, May 30, 1861 transit marking. Rated 5¢ due as unpaid letter arriving via Cunard line. Sismondo Cert.


Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, September 27, 1862, endorsed per Maruonia then per Cunard Line Merlin from St. Thomas or possibly Bermuda to Halifax. Rated 1 shilling British sea postage. Then by non-contract ship to Portland Maine, October 23, 1862. Rated due 8, double 3¢ domestic rate plus 2¢ ship letter fee.

San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 26, 1865, paid 1 shilling British sea postage per RMSP packet to St. Thomas, March 28, 1865, then Cunard Alpha via Bermuda to Halifax, then via St. John to Boston by steamboat. Boston, April 21, 1865 transit marking. Rated 10¢ due treaty rate from Halifax to New York. Illustrated in Danish West Indies Mails 1754-1917, Volume I: Postal History p. 52.


Via St. Thomas Direct To New York

Puerto Rico, May 13, 1872, Porto Rico May 13, 72 PAID british PO marking, franked with 4 pence vermilion plate 12, canceled by “C61", St. Thomas May 14, 1872 transit, per US & Brazil Mail Steamship Co. North America depart St. Thomas May 14, arrive New York May 20, N.Y. Steamship 10 due marking, Sismondo Cert.


Via Cuba


San Juan, March 30, 1864, Porto Rico CDS, endorsed "por vapor correo via Habana"carried by Spanish packet, Cuban ½ reale yellow-green 1856 pays Cuban inland rate, New York Steamship 10 due marking, rated 10¢ due incoming steamship rate.


Puerto Rico, April 7, 1871, Forwarded Drain & Co Habana May 3, 1871, small "N.Y. STEAMSHIP 10," rated 10¢ due incoming steamship rate regardless of distance.


Via Jamaica

San Juan, "PAID AT SAN JUAN PORTO RICO" crowned circle, July 31, 1861, paid 1 shilling British sea postage per Royal Mail Steam Packet Trent to Kingston, Jamaica, endorsed "via Colon" corrected to "via Jamaica."  From Kingston, the letter could have reached New York by private ship to Cuba, then steamship to New York, or by the Chagres to New York steamships which had a coaling stop in Kingston, rated Steamship 10 due.  Unusual routing may be due to mail route disruptions at the start of the U.S. Civil War.


Ship Letter

San Germain, Puerto Rico, July 27, 1859, via non-contract ship to New Haven Connecticut. Rated Ship 5, rate comprised of 3¢ inland rate + 2¢ ship fee.


St. Johns, Puerto Rico, January 9, 1862, endorsed "per Isabella Maria via Philadelphia" carried by non-contract ship to Philadelphia, where it enters the mails on February 1, 1862.  Rated Ship 5, comprised of 3¢ inland + 2¢ ship fee.

Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, May 9, 1863, endorsed "per Ed. Lameyer via Newburyport" carried by non-contract Schooner Edward Lameyer to Newburyport, Massachusetts, where it enters the mails on May 22, 1863 (year date inverted).  Rated Ship 5, comprised of 3¢ inland + 2¢ ship fee.

Bootleg Cover

Aguadilla, Porto Rico, September 21, 1859, carried out of the mails to New York.  U.S. Mail City Delivery 1¢ due October 10, 1859 carrier marking,



Post-UPU Covers 

Arecibo, Puerto Rico, May 23, 1876, "NEW-YORK DUE 5 CTS," 5¢ steamship rate effective 1875.

Mil. Sta. No. 4 W.D.C. San Juan Porto Rico, October 26 1898, per Vapor Mississippi, P.O.N.Y. Nov. 8, 1898 receiver on back, 5¢ first Bureau issue pays 5 cent UPU rate.