January 2018

This Day in History… January 31, 1958

Launch of Explorer I 

U.S. #3187d from the Celebrate the Century: 1950s sheet.

Late in the evening of January 31, 1958, the US launched its first satellite, Explorer I.

After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union struggled to stay one step ahead of each other in space exploration. Both countries made substantial advancements during this time, but Russia was first to launch an artificial satellite, much to America’s chagrin.

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This Day in History… January 30, 1968

Tet Offensive

U.S. #1802 was issued on Veteran’s Day in 1979.

On January 30, 1968, the North Vietnamese Army launched a surprise attack on South Vietnam during the Tet (New Year) holiday truce.

The North Vietnamese began planning their General Offensive and Uprising in April 1967. They believed that the government in Saigon was so unpopular in the South that an attack on major cities there would lead the citizens to revolt, guaranteeing a swift victory and an end to calls for peace talks. Throughout the second half of 1967, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers moved 81,000 tons of supplies and 200,000 troops across the border.

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This Day in History… January 29, 1940

Famous Americans Series Begins 

U.S. #859 was issued on this day in 1940.

On January 29, 1940, the US Post Office Department issued the first stamps in the Famous Americans Series.

In 1938, the Post Office Department announced plans for a series of stamps recognizing 10 famous Americans and invited the public to submit recommendations. The response was so great that it was decided to increase the number from 10 to 35. This required an unexpected level of organization by the Post Office Department for this series.

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This Day in History… January 28, 1999

First Cut-to-Shape U.S. Stamps 

U.S. #3274 would have been used on wedding reply cards.

On January 28, 1999, the USPS issued its first stamps to be cut in the shape of the image.

For most of its history, the USPS and its predecessor, the US Post Office Department, stuck to issuing conventionally shaped stamps – squares and rectangles. They made a major leap in 1997 when they issued their first triangle stamp, for the Pacific ’97 stamp show.

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This Day in History… January 27, 1850

Birth of Samuel Gompers 

U.S. #988 was issued on this day in 1950.

American labor union leader Samuel Gompers was born on January 27, 1850, in London, England.

Gompers went the Jewish Free School from the time he was six until just before his tenth birthday. His parents removed him from school so he could apprentice with a cigar maker to help provide money for the family. Gompers was able to continue his education through night school.

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This Day in History… January 26, 1973

First U.S. Love Stamp

U.S. #1475 was issued on this day in 1973.

On January 26, 1973, the USPS issued its first Love stamp.

In 1962, the Post Office issued its first Christmas stamp after numerous calls for a stamp honoring the holiday. After the Christmas stamps proved popular, they turned their attention to a new holiday in the 1970s.

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