1936 Third International Philatelic Exposition
Issue Date: May 9, 1936
First City: New York, New York
Quantity Issued: 2,809,039
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Flat Plate
On May 9, 1936, the Post Office Department issued U.S. # 778 to salute the Third International Philatelic Exhibition, held in New York City on May 9-17, 1936. The souvenir sheet included four different postage stamps, all of which had been issued individually during the past year. Each stamp carried a 3¢ denomination. The stamps commemorate the Connecticut Tercentenary, the California Pacific Exposition, the Michigan Centennial, and the Texas Centennial.
300th Anniversary of Connecticut Settlement
The Connecticut Tercentenary celebrated the 300th anniversary of the settlement of Connecticut. Dissatisfied colonists from Massachusetts left their original settlements and came to Connecticut in search of religious and political freedom. In 1636, the early settlements of Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor united to form the Connecticut colony. King Charles II of England granted the colony its first charter in 1662. In 1687, after several attempts to gain control of the colony, Sir Edmund Andros, the governor of several other New England colonies, demanded Connecticut’s charter, but the people refused. Supposedly, they had hidden it in the oak tree pictured on the 3¢ stamp.
California World’s Fair
The California-Pacific International Exposition was a world’s fair held in San Diego in 1935. The stamp commemorating this event depicts a view of the exposition. Many of the ornate buildings constructed specifically for the exposition still stand today in Balboa Park. The park, which lies in the heart of the city, houses various museums and cultural centers.
Michigan – A Century of Statehood
Michigan became our 26th state when it was admitted to the Union in 1837. This centennial issue honored the state’s 100th anniversary. In the early 1900s, Michigan became the nation’s leading producer of automobiles. It was in Detroit that Henry Ford built his first workable automobile in 1896. Three years later, Ransom E. Olds established the first automobile factory – Oldsmobile – in Detroit.
Texas Celebrates 100 Years of Independence
The Texas Centennial honored the 100th anniversary of Texas independence. Once part of Mexico, Texas was first colonized by Americans in 1821. Using land his father had received from the Mexican government, Stephen Austin brought 300 families to Texas and organized the San Felipe de Austin colony along the Brazos River. Other Americans obtained land grants from Mexico for colonies, and by 1830, the number of settlers had grown to 20,000.
Desiring a separate government, the American colonists revolted against Mexico in 1835. Under General Sam Houston, the Texans captured General Antonio López de Santa Ana and crushed his forces at the Battle of San Jacinto. The victory ended the war and guaranteed Texan independence. Established in 1836, the new Republic of Texas elected Sam Houston as its first president. It remained a republic for ten years, until it joined the Union in 1845 as our 28th state.
Opening Of The California Pacific Exposition
On May 29, 1936, the California Pacific Exposition opened in San Diego. Celebrating the 400th anniversary of Coronado’s discovery of the Pacific Southwest, it was also intended to help boost the economy during the Depression.
The idea for the California Pacific Exposition came from Frank Drugan, who had moved to San Diego in 1933. He was impressed at the condition of the buildings in Balboa Park, which had been built for the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915. Although they were designed to be temporary, they were refurbished and upgraded over the years and would make a great site for another world’s fair.
Additionally, Chicago’s Century of Progress Fair was ending soon and Drugan believed many of the exhibits could be brought to California for another fair. Drugan shared his idea and pushed the idea of using existing buildings as well as new ones, as a way to help boost San Diego’s economy during the Great Depression. With the support of local businesses, he got the project approved and incorporated in August 1934.
By January 1935, the new buildings were under construction. The project was in such a rush to be complete by May, some of the foundations were laid before the final plans were even drawn up. In March and April, some 2,700 people worked around the clock to complete everything in time for the exposition. Among the new buildings was the Old Globe Theatre, based on London’s famed Globe Theatre. During the expo, the Globe hosted adaptations of William Shakespeare plays. The circular Ford Building was also new and considered an architectural wonder. Today, it’s home to the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
The Exposition, advertised as “America’s Exposition,” included “palaces” of Better Housing, Fine Arts, Food and Beverages, Education, Electricity, and many more. There were also several strange and unusual attractions, including as a recreation of an 1849 mining town called “Gold Gulch,” a nudist colony and a display from Ripley’s “Believe-It-Or-Not.”
The exposition ran from May 29 to November 11, 1935. It was such a success that planners decided to add a second year, which ran from February 12 to September 9, 1936. During its total 377 days of operation, the fair hosted 7,220,000 visitors, bringing in about $37,700,000 worth of revenue to San Diego.
Some of the buildings were improved in the coming years, while others fell into disrepair. When some were destroyed to build more modern buildings in the 1960s, public outcry led to the remaining buildings being declared a National Historic Landmark. Many of the ornate buildings constructed specifically for the exposition still stand today in Balboa Park. The park, which lies in the heart of the city, houses various museums and cultural centers.
You can read lots more history here and view the official program here.