March 2017

This Day in History… March 13, 1781

Discovery of Uranus 

U.S. #5075 shows a 2003 Hubble image showing bands that scientists use to measure the altitude of Uranus’ clouds.

On March 13, 1781, William Hershel discovered Uranus, the first of the planets to be discovered in modern times.

Prior to Hershel’s discovery, all of the known planets were identified thousands of year prior. In fact, other stargazers had seen the planet as early as 128 BCE, but believed it was a star.

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This Day in History… March 12, 1858

Birth of Adolph Ochs 

U.S. #1700 was based on a photograph by S.J. Woolf.

Newspaper publisher Adolph Simon Ochs was born on March 12, 1858, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Ochs was born into a Jewish family that had immigrated to America from Germany in 1846. His father taught in schools in the South during the Civil War, though he supported the Union.

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This Day in History… March 11, 1820

Death of Benjamin West 

U.S. #1553 from the American Arts series.

Artist Benjamin West died on March 11, 1820, in London, United Kingdom.

West was born on October 10, 1738, in Springfield, Province of Pennsylvania. The son of an innkeeper, West claimed that as a child he’d learned how to make paint by mixing clay and bear grease from Native Americans. West was generally self-taught when it came to painting and had little formal education.

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This Day in History… March 10, 1913

Death of Harriet Tubman

U.S. #1744 – Tubman was the first honoree in the Black Heritage Series.

Abolitionist and humanitarian Harriet Tubman died on March 10, 1913, in Auburn, New York.

The granddaughter of Africans brought to America in the chain holds of a slave ship, Harriet Tubman was born Araminta “Minty” Ross into slavery on a plantation near Cambridge, Maryland. As no definitive records were kept, she was believed to have been born between 1815 and 1825.

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This Day in History… March 9, 1841

Court Issues Ruling in the Amistad Case 

U.S. #1894 – The Supreme Court Building wasn’t completed until 1935.

On March 9, 1841, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its final ruling the case of United States v. Schooner Amistad.

In 1839, a group of Africans were kidnapped from Sierra Leone, taken aboard a boat, and forced into slavery. On the trip from Havana, Cuba, to Puerto Principe, Cuba, they rebelled and assumed control of the boat, the Amistad. They demanded the ship’s navigator take them back to Africa, but instead he tricked them and took them to the United States.

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This Day in History… March 8, 1841

Birth of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 

U.S. #1288 was issued on Holmes’ 127th birthday.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was born on March 8, 1841, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Holmes was a descendant of the powerful Quincy political family and the son of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., a prominent writer and physician. While Oliver Jr. and his mother Amelia supported the abolitionist movement, Oliver Sr. was interested only in preserving the nation. His attitude changed after South Carolina seceded, when the senior Holmes became a firm Unionist.

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