VERY FINE. A REMARKABLE EXAMPLE OF THE NORTHERN LIBERTIES NEWS ROOM MARKING ON A LETTER TO HAMBURG, GERMANY, FORWARDED THROUGH HUDSON'S NEWS ROOM IN NEW YORK CITY. A TRULY SPECTACULAR COVER HANDLED BY THE NORTHERN LIBERTIES SUB POST OFFICE AND AGAIN BY THE HUDSON'S NEWS ROOM SUB POST OFFICE. THIS IS THE ONLY RECORDED USE OF THE NORTHERN LIBERTIES MARKING ON MAIL TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY.
Prior to 1854, the Northern Liberties area (north of Vine Street) was outside Philadelphia's city limits. Carriers were used to transport mail between outlying areas and the main post office in Philadelphia. The term Sub Post Office refers to a location where letters could be deposited for delivery to the main post office. The Northern Liberties News Rooms, which advertised its services as early as 1833, established a Sub Post Office in 1835. The proprietor at this time was Andrew McMakin. A news item appearing in the October 10, 1835, edition of the Philadelphia Saturday Courier states: "The enterprising, attentive and indefatigable proprietor of that popular establishment, the Northern Liberties Free Admission News Room, has found the business of his Sub Post Office so much on the increase, as to induce him to prepare a new and appropriate stamp, which we perceive is now imprinted upon all letters deposited at his office." (from research by Elliott Perry and J. William Middendorf).
The folded letter offered here is addressed to Mrs. Paul A. Oliver, the wife of the captain of the Tiber. Based on the contents of this letter, she was traveling with her husband and had just stayed with the sender in Philadelphia. The Tiber had just sailed from New York when this reached the "care of" addressee in New York City -- it is crossed out, but probably reads John McBrair (North American Insurance Co.) at 58 Wall Street. It was left at the Hudson's News Room, on the corner of Wall and Water Streets, which served as letter forwarders and prepared bags of mail for each departing ship based on destination. Hudson's New Room was started in late 1835 by the Hudson brothers, and by the beginning of 1836 advertised themselves as a Sub Post Office with frequent delivery to the main post office. By 1837 James Hale was an employee, and he took over the operation on March 9, 1838.
This letter was most likely put on the Franklin, which was advertised as the next vessel departing for Hamburg in the February 24, 1836, edition of the Shipping and Commercial List. This letter received the "Schiffs Brief-Post" (Ship's Letter Post) marking on arrival in Hamburg.
This is a new discovery and offered to the market for the first time. It has been added to the Frajola census at http://www.rfrajola.com/NLNR.htm (we are grateful to Mr. Frajola for his assistance with this description).