February 2016

This Day in History… February 5, 1953

Disney’s Peter Pan Premieres

U.S. #4193Peter Pan was the last Disney movie released through RKO.

On February 5, 1953, Walt Disney released his 14th animated feature – Peter Pan.

J.M. Barrie (1860-1937), born in Kirriemuir, Scotland, was the second youngest of nine children and the author of Peter Pan. Barrie created Peter Pan through a series of stories he told the young sons of his close friend, Sylvia Llewelyn Davies. In fact, the main character was named after one of Davies’ sons, and also the playful Greek god, Pan. The story of Peter Pan was first written as a play in 1904, and then as a novel titled Peter and Wendy in 1911.

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This Day in History… February 4, 1801

John Marshall – Longest-serving Chief Justice

U.S. #263 is a key high-value stamp from the 1894 Bureau Issue.

John Marshall began his 34-year career as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on February 4, 1801.

The eldest of fifteen children, John Marshall was born in a log cabin near Germantown, Virginia. Marshall joined the Continental Army in 1776, and spent the winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge with General George Washington’s forces. He was promoted to captain in 1778. Although he had little formal education, Marshall studied law at the College of William and Mary and was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1780. He quickly established a career defending individuals against their pre-Revolutionary War British debtors.

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This Day in History… February 3, 1943

Sinking of the SS Dorchester

U.S. #956 was a rare exception to the rule. At the time, no one other than Presidents were honored on stamps within 10 years of their death.

On February 3, 1943, after the SS Dorchester was sunk, the Four Chaplains sacrificed their lives to protect the other men on their boat.

The U.S. Army Transport Dorchester (formerly a coastal liner) left New York on January 23, 1943, with 904 passengers and crew aboard. Among them were four men who had met at Army Chaplains School at Harvard University – Methodist Minister George L. Fox, Protestant Minister Clark V. Poling, Catholic Priest John P. Washington, and Reform Rabbi Alexander D. Goode.

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This Day in History… February 2, 1914

Charlie Chaplin’s First Movie

U.S. #3183a – Chaplin was considered the most famous person on the planet in the 1910s and 1920s.

The first movie to star Charlie Chaplin premiered on February 2, 1914.

Born into a British family of actors, Chaplin joined an acting troupe known as The Eight Lancashire Lads when he was eight years old. At seventeen, Chaplin toured Britain with the Fred Karno Company, and in 1910 made his first trip to America with the troupe. Three years later his act was seen by Mack Sennett, a producer in the new field of “flickers,” who offered Chaplin a part. At first, Chaplin was hesitant to leave the stage for films, but his mind was made up when he heard he could make $150 a week (about $15,000 in today’s wages).

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This Day in History… February 1, 2003

Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster

U.S. #3190a – Space Shuttle Program stamp from Celebrate the Century pane.

On February 1, 2003, the space shuttle Columbia exploded, taking the lives of seven astronauts.

During the 1970s, NASA scientists and engineers began developing a manned spacecraft that could be reused. The goal was to create a vehicle that was launched like a rocket, but landed like an airplane. This dream came true on April 12, 1981, when the United States launched Columbia, the first space shuttle.

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