Wychwood, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: 1935. Envelope or Cover.
This postal cover was sent by airmail from Wychwood, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin to the S.S. Manhattan at New York’s Staten Island quarantine station. It is franked with two stamps, a 1-cent green Franklin stamp (Scott Type A155) and a 5-cent Beacon airmail stamp (Scott #C11) both tied to the envelope by a Lake Geneva postmark dated 17 March 1935. A “Sent To Ship / At Quarantine” handstamp dated 21 March 1935 is on the reverse. There are several “Airmail” hand stamps on the front along with an erroneous typed annotation “First Flight from SS Manhattan.” No airmail flights were ever conducted from the ship; this “First Flight” annotation was probably added later by a philatelist either in ignorance or a misguided attempt to increase the cover’s value.
Quarantine practices continued in the 1930s as a general safety precaution, although there were no epidemic diseases posing an immediate threat to the United States. That said, lingering concerns remained about recent epidemics of influenza, typhus, and encephalitis as well as an increasing number of Polio cases. So, even one of the most luxurious ocean liners in the world, the SS Manhattan, was subject to quarantine.. Very good. Item #010215
Mrs. Hutchinson was the widow of the famous Chicago philanthropist, Charles L. Hutchinson who founded The Art Institute of Chicago. The couple were charmed by an available 73-acre piece of woodland they encountered while vacationing in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. They purchased the property to establish a summertime country estate, and in 1901, built a mansion, named Wychwood for the abundance of surrounding witch hazel. The property became the focal point of Mrs. Hutchinson’s life and she expended great energy in transforming it into a thriving nature preserve and woodland sanctuary. Upon her death in 1936, its ownership was transferred to the University of Chicago which used it for botanical studies until 1956 when it sold the property in parcels to three wealthy businessmen.
(For more information, see Hutchinson’s Our Country Home: How We Transformed a Wisconsin Woodland and Morrissy’s “Wychwood: Nature’s Haven” in the 25 November 2015 of At the Lake magazine, available online.).