January 2018

This Day in History… January 13, 1864

Death of Stephen Foster 

U.S. #879 was issued in Bardstown, Kentucky, where Foster was inspired to write “My Old Kentucky Home.”

On January 13, 1864, Stephen Foster, the “father of American music,” died in New York City.

Stephen Collins Foster was born on July 4, 1826, in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania. The youngest of nine children, Foster attended private schools and taught himself to play the clarinet, violin, guitar, flute, and piano.

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This Day in History… January 12, 1983

Return of Official Mail Stamps 

U.S. #O127 was issued on this day in 1983.

On January 12, 1983, Official Mail stamps were issued for the first time in 72 years.

The roots of Official stamps stretch back nearly 200 years. In 1791, Congress met and passed an act establishing post offices and routes in the United States. One of the clauses of the act allowed for franking privileges.

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This Day in History… January 11, 1978

America’s Smallest Postage Stamp 

U.S. #1734 was issued on this day in 1978.

On January 11, 1978, the USPS issued its smallest postage stamp, featuring the famed Indian Head Penny.

In the late 1970s, the USPS began looking into new ways to lower their production costs and increase their output.  Eventually, they decided one possible way to achieve both of these goals was to make stamps smaller.

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This Day in History… January 10, 1964

First Stamp with Mr. Zip in the Selvage 

U.S. #1242 – Mr. Zip’s first postal appearance was in the selvage for this stamp.

On January 10, 1964, Mr. Zip first appeared in the selvage of a stamp sheet honoring Texas icon Sam Houston.

Prior the creation of Zip codes, the US had postal districts or zones for use in larger cities. As towns and cities grew, the Post Office needed a more organized system to help separate the mail. In 1944, postal inspector Robert Moon submitted a proposal calling for a three-digit Zip code to help sort the mail. For this, Moon is often considered the father of the Zip Code, though it wouldn’t be implemented for nearly 20 years.

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This Day in History… January 9, 1861

First Shots of the Civil War?

U.S. #1178 was issued for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Sumter, which occurred just three months after the Star of the West incident.

On January 9, 1861, Southern rebels fired on an American ship attempting to resupply Fort Sumter. Some consider these to be the opening shots of the Civil War.

After South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860, the locals demanded that the Federals leave the garrison at Fort Sumter. Though President James Buchanan refused to evacuate the fort, he also decided not to take any action that might incite a riot among the Southerners.

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This Day in History… January 8, 1993

America’s Most Popular Stamp

U.S. #2721 was issued on this day in 1993.

After a yearlong campaign, the USPS held a special midnight first-day ceremony on January 8, 1993, for the long-awaited Elvis Presley stamp. The popular issue was also the first in the extensive Legends of American Music series.

Ever since Presley’s death in 1977, fans around the country had clamored for a stamp honoring the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Ten years later, he was eligible to appear on a US stamp, and requests increased dramatically.

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