|H. Paul Culver, 1918.||H. Paul Culver, 1956.|
H. Paul Culver of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin was born in Eau Claire in 1893. He grew up in Ashland, Wis., and graduated from St. John's Military Academy in Delafield. He received a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He was a member of the American Legion. Mr. Culver learned to fly at the Curtiss School of Aviation in Newport News, Virginia and received F.A.I. Airplane Pilot's Certificate #565 on August 25, 1916. During the First World War, he was a test pilot and instructor in combat flying at several U. S. Army airfields, including Wright Field at Dayton, Ohio; Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas: Ellington Field, Houston, Texas; and Bolling Field at Washington, D. C.
Paul Culver was one of four pilots who flew the nation's first regular two-way AIRMAIL run between New York City and the nation's capitol , on May 15, 1918. His was the second leg of that historic three and one half hour mail run, in a single engine, open cockpit, wire braced aircraft. Other Army aviators continued the flights for three months until the post office took over operations.
A book about the first airmail, published by Lippincott & Co., titled "Tracks Across the Sky", by Page Shamburger, tells the story of this historic flight. Several Early Birds are mentioned in this book.
H. Paul Culver died June 24, 1964, aged 71, at Woods Veterans Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin of pneumonia.
Survivors include his wife, Edith Dodd Culver, and two sons, Paul D. Culver, in Sherwood, Calif. and John D., in Kansas City, Mo., a daughter Mrs. Raymond Cragin in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., a sister Mrs. J. W. Prentice in Ashland, Wis., and a brother, Thomas B. Culver in Minneapolis,
A book published by Sunstone Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico titled "TALESPINS, A Story of Early Aviation Days", by his wife Edith Dodd Culver, is a first-hand account of early aviation days including the beginning of air mail service in the United States.
Talespins includes stories about other air pioneers, their training and their exploits. Included in these authentic accounts are the stories of the women who were aviation enthusiasts and, in some cases, pilots themselves. Mrs. Culver points out that these women played a vital part in our early aviation history.
"Culver's late husband, Paul, one of the country's earliest pilots, was a member of the team that carried the first bags of air mail. Here his wife recalls those days when to be a pilot was to court death and when marriage to a pilot presumed early widowhood."
Our copy is autographed:
With much love
Edith Dodd Culver