August 2017

This Day in History… August 31, 1852

Postal Act of 1852

Item #MA1562 – Wells Fargo stamped envelope from the 1870s-80s.

On August 31, 1852, the U.S. passed the Postal Act 1852, which required private express companies to use envelopes created by the Post Office.

Prior to the mid-1800s, few letters were sent in envelopes because postage was usually based on the number of sheets of paper and the distance traveled. So an envelope would have counted as another sheet and increased the price.

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This Day in History… August 30, 1934

First U.S. Airmail Special Delivery Stamp

U.S. #CE1 – The first U.S. airmail special delivery stamp.

On August 30, 1934, the U.S. Post Office issued its first Airmail Special Delivery stamp.

The 16¢ blue Airmail Special Delivery stamp was issued to prepay, with one stamp, the air postage and the special delivery fee. Mail with this stamp would travel by plane to its designated post office, where, upon arrival, a messenger would deliver it immediately to the recipient.

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This Day in History… August 29, 1916

Founding of the Marine Corps Reserves 

U.S. #1315 was issued on the 50th anniversary of the Marine Corps Reserves.

On August 29, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Naval Appropriations Act of 1916, establishing the Marine Corps Reserve.

Since the time of the Civil War, American military leaders recognized the need for a naval reserve that should include Marine detachments. This force would be critical – quickly activating if American suddenly went to war. Several states attempted to make their own naval militias to this end, but without a national force, they were unsuccessful and unorganized. Continue reading

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This Day in History… August 28, 1864

Start of Railway Mail Service 

U.S. #2265 pictures a railroad mail car.

On August 28, 1864, the U.S. Post Office Department created the Railway Mail Service.

In 1838 Congress approved an act designating all United States railroad routes as postal routes.  A significant improvement over the traditional method of delivering mail by horse-drawn coaches, the railway service signaled the end of one era and the beginning of another.

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This Day in History… August 27, 1859

First Major Commercial Oil Well in U.S. 

U.S. #1134 was issued on the 100th anniversary of this event.

On August 27, 1859, Edwin Drake struck oil near Titusville, Pennsylvania, establishing America’s first commercially viable oil well.

While the Drake Well is often called the first commercial oil well, there are a few other wells that also hold this claim in Azerbaijan, Ontario, West Virginia, and Poland. The Drake Well is considered significant though, because previous oil wells were used for drilling for salt brine and the oil was more of an accidental byproduct. Continue reading

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This Day in History… August 26, 1748

Creation Of First Formal Lutheran Church Body In North America 

U.S. #2065 – Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation in 1517, laying the groundwork for the Lutheran Church.

On August 26, 1748, members of several Pennsylvania Lutheran communities met and agreed upon a common liturgy – the first in North America.

Swedes and Germans practicing Lutheranism had begun settling in Pennsylvania as early as 1638. They were drawn to the American colonies for the promise of religious freedom. Individual groups formed their own congregations. By the mid 1700s however, the need for well-trained preachers, elders, and deacons became apparent and a conference was planned.

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