December 2018

This Day in History… December 19, 1732

Poor Richard’s Almanack 

US #1 – Franklin is considered the Father of the American Postal Service.

On December 19, 1732, Benjamin Franklin published the first edition of his Poor Richard’s Almanack under the pseudonym Richard Saunders.

Franklin began apprenticing with a printer when he was 12 years old.  For the rest of his life, he considered printing to be his primary occupation.

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This Day in History… December 18, 1777

First National Thanksgiving

US #3546 was the first US Thanksgiving stamp.

On December 18, 1777, the United States celebrated its first national Thanksgiving.  The celebration was in reaction to the recent victory at the Battle of Saratoga.

Since the earliest settlement of the American colonies, there were days set aside for thanksgiving, prayer, and fasting in response to important events.  These days of thanksgiving would be held on different days throughout the year and would vary between the colonies.

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This Day in History… December 17, 1903

Wright Brothers’ Famed First Flight

US #649 – The brothers flipped a coin to decide who would fly the plane first.

On December 17, 1903, brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright made the first successful heavier-than-air flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Sons of a minister in the United Brethren Church, Wilbur Wright (1867-1912) and Orville Wright (1871-1948) grew up to become aviation pioneers. The brothers had always been interested in science and technology, but when their father gave them a flying toy in 1878, they set their sights on developing a heavier-than-air flying machine capable of carrying a man.

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This Day in History… December 16, 1912

First Stamp to Picture an Airplane

US #Q8 was issued on this date in 1912.

On December 16, 1912, the United States issued the world’s first stamp to picture an airplane – a 20¢ Parcel Post issue.

The US Postal Department had introduced Parcel Post service that year for items that weighed 16 ounces or more.  Rural Americans used the new mail class to access goods and merchandise they could not have gotten before, giving rise to mail order giants like Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Montgomery Ward and Co.

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This Day in History… December 15, 1864

Battle of Nashville

Antigua #2538a pictures a scene from the Battle of Nashville.

On December 15, 1864, Union forces launched the successful Battle of Nashville.

Confederate General John Bell Hood was defeated at Franklin, and his Army of Tennessee suffered great losses.  In spite of being greatly outnumbered, he pressed on to the well-fortified stronghold of Nashville.  On December 2, 1864, the Rebels approached the city from the south. Hood knew his forces were not strong enough to attack the Union, so the Southern army put up four miles of defenses and waited for the enemy to attack.

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This Day in History… December 14, 1896

Birth Of Aviator Jimmy Doolittle

US #2697a honors the raid on Tokyo that Doolittle led.

James “Jimmy” Doolittle was born on December 14, 1896, in Alameda, California.

Doolittle was an early aviation pioneer who devoted 42 years of his life to service in the US Air Force. While he had equals in terms of daring and bravery, Doolittle was one of the first aeronautical engineers. He was a flight leader and gunnery instructor during World War I.

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