Messner, Elmer R., Typed letter signed, with an original political cartoon drawn on the envelope, titled, “THE ‘SECOND FRONT.” Drawn in black ink, signed “Messner” and dated “’42” under the signature by the artist. The drawing has a secondary title, “RELENTLESS ATTACKS ON NAZI MILITARY OBJECTIVES” within the frame showing a crouching, angry Adolf Hitler in the foreground, fearful of nearby bomb explosions, with the bomber flying over his head. The letter was written to Richard Weiss, Jr. on Rochester Times-Union stationery: “I certainly owe you an apology. Somehow this envelope of yours was lost among some of my drawings here and has just turned up. / The sketch is more timely now anyway. / Hope it is O.K. / With all good wishes. Sincerely, Elmer R. Messner.” The envelope is postmarked May 21, 1942, stamped with the National Defense Stamps Issue of 1940, which temporarily replaced the regular issue, not affecting the marvelous “mail art” illustration on the envelope, opposite the address.
The Rochester Institute of Technology has the Elmer Messner collection, and it contains 1,500 political cartoons, mainly in pen and ink; as well as, newsprint clippings of Messner’s work and cartoons from other artists collected by or gifted to Messner. Frank Gannett, the founder of the Gannett newspaper group, described Messner’s talent as “the rare ability to reduce to a simple line, or a combination of lines, the story or an event and the feeling of the people.” This illustrated postal cover, also shows Messner’s extraordinary cursive handwriting, worthy of an extensive commentary all its own.