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Samuel Blankfield of the Postal Telegraph and Cable Co.
Thu Mar 29, 2018 20:42

An exclusive interview with postal telegrapher, Samuel Blankfield, appeared in Florida Today on March 1, 1974.

Blankfield, better known as "Sam Blank" to anybody and everybody, shared his story in the newspaper forty-two years after he rushed to Hopewell to set up telegraph communications for the press on the afternoon after the kidnapping. (Blankfield was also at Hauptmann's trial.)

I don't believe this article appeared in any other publication but Florida Today.

I wonder why his story has been largely lost to (LKC) history?

Here are some passages from the article:

"Since most news copy was transmitted to newspapers by Morse code in those days, Sam's company and its arch rival, Western Union, always vied aggressively for press patronage. Western Union would eventually swallow Postal Telegraph in 1941, but the day of the Lindbergh kidnapping, Sam won out."

"By the time [Blankfield] and his assistant telegraphers arrived in Hopewell in Sam's old Buick, the news had reached the townfolk, and the streets 'were practically deserted, and no one knew much of anything.'"

"I ordered my company to set up telegraphic lines right there at the restaurant, on the tables," Sam said.

"Whoever was going to come to Hopewell was stuck at the restaurant. There was nowhere else to go, and Gebhart was tickled to death."

"That afternoon 48 trunklines had been moved in. Western Union, which had no office or lines nearby, was stuck with headquarters at the railroad station several miles away, Sam recalled, smiling at the thought even today. By the evening of March 1, more than 200 reporters representing every principal city in the U.S., were jamming Gebhart's."

"I had to promote something, confessed Sam. So he singled out a young, ridiculously tall 6'5" reporter from a Philadelphia scandal tabloid, and dressed him in a messenger boy's uniform, the only sight allowed past the circle of police surrounding the Lindberghs' estate, for telegrams were pouring in from all over the world. The reporter then crouched on the road to the estate, meticulously copying every license number that came and left, recalled Blank."

"Lindbergh Tragedy Revisited"
Florida Today
March 1, 1974
Pages 1D, 2D

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