March 2016

This Day in History… March 31, 1854 and 1933

U.S. Begins Trade with Japan
FDR creates the CCC

U.S. #1021 pictures Commodore Perry’s ships in Tokyo Bay with Mount Fuji in the background.

Commodore Perry Opens Trade with Japan

On March 31, 1854, Commodore Matthew Perry signed a peace and trade agreement with Japan.

Following continuing attempts by Europeans to convert the Japanese to Catholicism, Japan cut off nearly all outside contact in 1639. For more than 200 years, Japan permitted trade only with Dutch and Chinese ships bearing special charters.

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This Day in History… March 30, 1939 and 1986

Birth of Batman
Death of James Cagney

First Batman Comic Released 

U.S. #4084e – part of the 2006 DC Comic Superheroes sheet.

On March 30, 1939, Detective Comics #27 was released, introducing the world to the caped crusader – Batman.

In April 1938, Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1. He proved popular with readers and launched what’s been called the “Golden Age of Comics,” a 20-year period that saw the rise of superheroes.

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This Day in History… March 29, 1974

Mariner 10 Makes First Fly By of Mercury

U.S. #1557 was issued shortly after the mission ended in 1975.

On March 29, 1974, Mariner 10 became the first space probe to fly by Mercury.

NASA launched the Mariner program in 1962 to build and send probes to investigate Mars, Venus, and Mercury. Prior to the launch of Mariner 10, earlier missions explored Mars and Venus.

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This Day in History… March 28, 1969

Death of President Eisenhower 

U.S. #1383 was issued five months after Eisenhower’s death on what would have been his 79th birthday.

Born October 14, 1890, in Denison, Texas, Dwight David Eisenhower was the third of seven sons. He was named David Dwight originally, but his mother later reversed the order of his first and middle names to avoid confusion with his father. All the sons were nicknamed Ike, but only Dwight kept the name through adulthood.

When Dwight was two years old, the family moved from Texas to Abilene, Kansas, the town Eisenhower considered home. After graduating from high school in 1909, Eisenhower began working at a creamery to pay for college. When he discovered he could attend West Point Military Academy for free, he applied and was accepted.

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This Day in History… March 27, 1794

Creation of Permanent U.S. Navy 

U.S. #935 was issued to honor the Navy’s role in World War II.

On March 27, 1794, Congress passed the Naval Act, creating America’s permanent naval force.

The predecessor of the U.S. Navy, the Continental Navy, was established on October 13, 1775. Due to limited funds and manpower, the initial naval force was mostly merchantmen. Warships were built later during the Revolutionary War, but few major battles were fought at sea. (There were a number of battles, though, particularly John Paul Jones’ capture of a British vessel that made him a naval hero.)

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This Day in History… March 26, 1874

Birth of Robert Frost 

U.S. #1526 was issued for Frost’s 100th birthday.

Robert Frost was born on March 26, 1874, in San Francisco, California.

Frost grew up in San Francisco until 1885, when his father, journalist William Prescott Frost, Jr., died. His family then moved across the country to Lawrence, Massachusetts. The younger Frost published his first poem in his high school’s magazine before graduating in 1892.

That year Frost attended Dartmouth College, but only for two months before returning home. There he taught, helped his mother manage a class of unruly boys, delivered newspapers, and worked in an arc lamp factory.

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