May 2017

This Day in History… May 19, 1795

Birth of Johns Hopkins 

U.S. #2194 was issued as part of the Great Americans Series.

Johns Hopkins was born on May 19, 1795, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

Hopkins was named after his grandfather (also Johns Hopkins) who took his mother’s last name (Margaret Johns) as his first when she married Gerard Hopkins.

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This Day in History… May 18, 1981

Start of the Transportation Series 

U.S. #1907 – The first stamp in the Transportation Series.

On May 18, 1981, the USPS issued the first stamp in the Transportation Series, U.S. #1907, picturing the Surrey, a doorless four-wheeled carriage.

Prior to the stamp’s issue, the USPS issued a brief announcement for the stamp saying it would be printed in black ink, with few other details. However, the actual stamp was printed in brown ink.

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This Day in History… May 17, 1947

Opening of CIPEX 

U.S. #947 was issued on the opening day of CIPEX.

On May 17, 1947, doors opened on the Centenary International Philatelic Exhibition in New York City.

America hosted its first international stamp exhibition in 1913. This was followed by another in 1926, for which the famed White Plains souvenir sheet, U.S. #630, was issued. After this, the shows exhibitions were to be held every 10 years, with the next one coming in 1936. However, for the 1940s, the U.S. decided to delay the exhibition for a year so it could coincide with the 100th anniversary of America’s first stamps. For this reason, it became known as CIPEX – the Centenary International Philatelic Exhibition.

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This Day in History… May 16, 1905

Happy Birthday Henry Fonda 

U.S. #3911 – Fonda was the 11th honoree in the Legends of Hollywood series.

Henry Jaynes Fonda was born on May 16, 1905, in Grand Island, Nebraska.

Fonda’s ancestors had moved from Genoa, Italy, to the Netherlands before becoming some of the first Dutch settlers in upstate New York (known as New Netherland at the time). They also established the town of Fonda, New York, which still bears their name today. These ancestors later moved to Nebraska in the late 1800s.

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This Day in History… May 15, 1942

Formation of WAAC 

U.S. #1013 shows women from the Marines, Army, Navy, and Air Corps.

On May 15, 1942, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was established.

Prior to and at the start of World War II, women were generally only allowed on the battlefield as nurses or as volunteers as communications specialists or dieticians. Though they served with the Army, they didn’t have any official status, so they had to pay for their own food and lodging and didn’t receive any disability benefits or pensions when they returned home.

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This Day in History… May 14, 1918

Discovery of the Inverted Jenny 

U.S. #4806a – A 2013 Inverted Jenny printed with the original dies.

On May 14, 1918, stamp collector William Robey discovered the now sought-after Inverted Jenny, #C3a.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing was in a rush to produce America’s first airmail stamp. Because the stamps were to be bi-colored, each sheet would be fed through the press twice – once to print the red frame and a second pass to print the blue vignette. In the rush, nine of the 20,000 sheets printed had been hand-fed through the printing press upside down. The mistake created an inverted vignette and positioned the plate number on the bottom selvage. At some point, eight sheets were found in the BEP office and destroyed. However, a single sheet made its way to the New York Avenue post office branch in Washington, D.C.

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