by Russ Carter
When every young man reaches various ages, his thoughts turn to certain topics: riding a bike, cub scouts, girls, cars, and the Selective Service. The draft has been with us since biblical times but, at least in the US, it was only in 1917 that the mail was used in the registration and processing for the draft.
This book covers the various items of postal stationery, particularly penalty post cards, used by the selective service processes. Starting in WWI, there are 48 penalty items covered and illustrated including mail bag tags, package labels, and cards. In WW2 there are 39 penalty items covered and illustrated. In the post-WW2 era there are 77 items covered and illustrated.
Many of the topics covered by the cards are rather surprising. While registration, notice of classification, and requests to report for physical examination are what one would expect, there are such topics as deserter reports, meal ticket requests, authorization to entrain, reemployment references, college qualification tests, and occupational inquiry. Plus there are cards that were used between the local boards and state headquarters plus the Provost Marshal General Office. The final chapter is devoted to a preliminary listing of Selective Service penalty envelopes.
Almost every item has both sides illustrated and all single cards are at full scale. The penalty cards range from 5 by 3 inches to a huge 17 by 16 inch message and reply monster. A handy 4 page check list gives collectors a guide to all the forms and cards.
The book is 180 numbered pages with over 160 illustrations plus a check list. It is 8.5 by 11 inches with spiral binding.
Orders can be filled by following the instructions near the bottom of the the Military Postal History Society publications page.