Author Archives: MysticStamp

This Day in History… May 20, 1862

The Homestead Act

US #1198 pictures a “soddy” – the first home most homesteaders built.

On May 20, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law.

Since the American Revolution, the distribution of government lands was a matter of great debate.  In America’s early years, setting boundaries on new land was unorganized, causing frequent overlapping claims and disputes.  When land ordinance laws were introduced in 1785, the plots were large and pricey.  People repeatedly called for cheaper plots or preemption – an arrangement where they would settle first and pay later.

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This Day in History… May 19, 1883

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West 

US #2177 from the Great Americans series.

On May 19, 1883, the first Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show opened in Omaha, Nebraska.

A fascination with the untamed West had already existed for years.  Horse shows and exotic animal displays were popular since the 18th century and medicine shows hired frontiersmen and Native Americans to help sell their tonics and “natural” medicines.

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This Day in History… May 18, 1925

The Norse-American Issue

US #620 pictures the sloop Restaurationen.

On May 18, 1925, the US Post Office issued two stamps known as the Norse-American Issue.

One thousand years ago, 500 years before the arrival of Columbus in the New World, explorers landed on the shores of North America.  These men were called Vikings and the leader of at least one expedition was an adventurous Norwegian by the name of Leif Ericson.  He called the area “Vineland.”

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This Day in History… May 17, 1865

The International Telecommunication Union

US #1274 was issued for the 100th anniversary of the ITU.

On May 17, 1865, the International Telegraph Union (ITU), which later became the International Telecommunication Union, was founded. 

As the telegraph industry grew in the mid-1800s, the need for standardization and international cooperation became apparent.  Between 1849 and 1865, several agreements were made between Western European nations to create a set of international communication standards. 

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This Day in History… May 16, 1801

Happy Birthday William H. Seward

US #370 was issued for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Expo.

William Henry Seward was born on May 16, 1801 in Florida, New York.

Seward was a bright child that enjoyed school (it was reported that instead of running away from school to go home, he’d run away from home to go to school).   He went on to attend Union College, taking time off to teach in Georgia before returning and graduating with high honors in 1820.

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This Day in History… May 15, 1942

Formation of WAAC 

US #1013 shows women from the Marines, Army, Navy, and Air Corps.

On May 15, 1942, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was established.

Prior to and at the start of World War II, women were generally only allowed on the battlefield as nurses or as volunteers as communications specialists or dieticians.  Though they served with the Army, they didn’t have any official status, so they had to pay for their own food and lodging and didn’t receive any disability benefits or pensions when they returned home.

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