Scout Rocket Mail Literature
John B. Adams

Rocket Mail - An Introduction

Long before governments became officially involved, individual inventors began experimenting with rockets.  To help finance their early experiments, the idea of carrying messages by rocket was used.  Experimenters in various countries began to privately print stamps for use on rocket mail, selling these stamps and flown covers as souvenirs to the public.  Often, following the rocket flight, the flown covers were posted by regular mail, thus authenticating the date.  The early memorabilia of rocketry soon became prized collectors' items.  With the growth of space science, rocket mail has become an increasingly important field of philately.

Scout Rocket Mail

The term Scout Rocket Mail has been used to describe flown rocket mail associated with Scouting.  Scout rocket mail known to this author comes from the 1937 flights of Stephen H. Smith in India, the 1960 flights of Dr. A.J. de Bruijn of the Nederlandse Ruimtevaart Studio in Belgium, and the 1961 flights of Der Deutschen Pfadfinderschaft St. Georg in Germany.

Rocket Mail Catalogs

ELLINGTON - ZWISLER ROCKET MAIL CATALOG - in two volumes. Written by Jesse T. Ellington and Perry F. Zwisler, the E-Z Catalog was originally published in 1967.  Volume I describes, prices, and illustrates items, as well as indicating number of pieces carried and varieties known to exist.  It includes all known rocket mail flights from every country through the end of 1967 in its 245 pages.  Volume II updates Volume I, adding 168 pages of rocket mails from the beginning of 1968 through the end of 1972.  Both volumes assign catalog numbers to listed flights, describe special rocket stamps, indicate values of any proofs or essays, list souvenirs, cards, and unflown items, and show postal stationery prepared by the post office involved.

The E-Z Catalog is considered to be the best work published for this time period of rocket mail.  It was originally published by the American Air Mail Society.  Both volumes are available through resale philatelic literature agents and auctions.  Bill Kaufmann has created an unpublished update to the E-Z Catalog which goes to 1995.

From the E-Z Catalog, here are some sample pages for several Scout related rockets.

  • Rocket #134
  • Propaganda Rocket
  • Rocket #135
  • Rocket #136
  • Propaganda Rocket
  • Rocket #138
  • Rocket #139
  • Propaganda Rocket
  • Propaganda Rocket #7
  • Propaganda Rocket #8
  • Baden-Powell II
  • Dan Beard
  • Zeus
  • Folke Bernadotte

ROCKET MAIL FLIGHTS OF THE WORLD TO 1986. A 191 page compilation of over 60 individual articles by the late Dr. Max Kronstein.  This profusely illustrated book has a chronological format.  All of Dr. Kronstein's widely-scattered Airpost Journal articles on the postal rocket and related events are included.  The period before World War II is broken down into groups of articles on rocket developments in Europe, the USA, and other countries.  Various experiments during WWII are in a single chapter, while the postwar period concentrates on further progress in the USA, Europe and Germany.  A detailed table of contents facilitates the locating of articles on particular countries, individuals, experiments, or years.  This hardback book is still available from the American Air Mail Society.

The Rocket Mail Page, Part 2  by Paul A. Roales
Book Descriptions by the American Air Mail Society
SOSSI Journal Volume 24, Number 3, March 1975
Updates and Modifications by Keith Larson