May 2017

This Day in History… May 13, 1918

America Issues First Airmail Stamp 

U.S. #C3 – Despite its designation as #C3, this was the first U.S. airmail stamp issued.

On May 13, 1918, the United States issued its first airmail stamp – U.S. #C3.

The possibility of airmail delivery had been debated and dismissed for nearly a decade, so it came as a surprise to many when Postmaster General Burleson suddenly announced that service would begin between New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. The year was 1918 and the world was at war. Critics argued that every available resource – including planes and pilots – was needed to win the war.

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This Day in History… May 12, 1999

Start of Scenic American Landscapes Series

U.S. #C133 paid the ½-ounce letter rate to Canada and Mexico.

On May 12, 1999, the USPS introduced a new series of Airmail stamps – the Scenic American Landscapes.

These stamps are part of the Airmail series. Airmail as its own separate service came to an end in 1977. After that time, airmail stamps were issued to pay international rates. After 1995, the USPS called these “international-rate stamps,” though they still said “Airmail” on them.

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This Day in History… May 11, 1910

Establishment of Glacier National Park 

U.S. #748 from the 1934 National Parks issue.

On May 11, 1910, an act of Congress officially created Glacier National Park in Montana.

The earliest-known inhabitants of present-day Glacier National Park arrived about 10,000 years ago and were members of the Salish, Flathead, Shoshone, and Cheyenne tribes. By the early 1700s, the Blackfeet were the predominant tribe in the area, particularly in the prairies east of the mountains. Kalispell and Kootenai lived and hunted in the western valleys.

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This Day in History… May 10, 1876

Centennial International Exhibition 

U.S. #3 – One of several stamps reprinted for the exhibition.

On May 10, 1876, the first official World’s Fair in the United States was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The fair also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Prior to this, the U.S. had staged the Great Central Fair of 1864, one of several sanitary fairs held during the Civil War. This and similar fairs showed how public, private, and commercial efforts could join together for a larger fair. The 1864 fair included handmade and industrial exhibits and a visit from the president and his family and offered ordinary citizens the chance to support the welfare of Union soldiers and join in the war effort.

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This Day in History… May 9, 1939

Philatelic Truck Begins its Journey

Item #M396 – Mint Philatelic Truck souvenir sheet with gum.

On May 9, 1939, the Philatelic Truck departed the White House on a cross-country journey to introduce thousands of Americans to the exciting world of stamps.

The Philatelic Truck was the brainchild of stamp-collecting President Franklin Roosevelt. He ordered the traveling exhibit to show Americans how stamps were made. The first public mention of the truck was in an August 1938 article in The New York Sun that stated the truck’s purpose was to “stimulate interest in stamp collecting among the youth of the country.”

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This Day in History… May 8, 1846

Taylors Wins the Battle of Palo Alto 

U.S. #179 paid the UPU rate to foreign countries.

On May 8, 1846, future President Zachary Taylor led U.S. forces to their first major victory of the Mexican-American War at the Battle of Palo Alto.

After the Republic of Texas won its independence from Mexico in 1836, it sought to join the United States. The union was delayed, as the Van Buren administration did not want to risk war with Mexico.

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