October 2018

This Day in History… October 31

Happy Halloween! 

US #5137-40 – Set of four Jack-O’-Lantern stamps.

Today we’ll look back on some of the history behind Halloween!

Samhain (Old Irish for “summer’s end”) is often considered to be one of the oldest precursors to Halloween.  It’s a traditional Gaelic festival first documented around the 10th century. It is believed modern Jack-o’-lanterns were inspired by a Samhain custom.  People would hollow out turnips and carve faces into them to use as lanterns at night.

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This Day in History… October 30, 1735

Happy Birthday, John Adams! 

US #806 from the popular presidential series.

John Adams was born in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts, on October 30, 1735.

In his youth, Adams was a bright yet indifferent student who preferred the outdoors to a classroom. At the age of 15, Adams entered Harvard College and graduated in 1755. He taught school for a few years and practiced law. In 1764, Adams married Abigail Smith. The couple had four children who survived infancy.

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This Day in History… October 29, 1921

Happy Birthday Bill Mauldin

US #4445 pictures Mauldin and Willie and Joe.

William Henry “Bill” Mauldin was born on October 29, 1921, in Mountain Park, New Mexico.

The son of a World War I veteran, Mauldin spent his childhood in Mountain Park and later Phoenix, Arizona.  He then went on to attend the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Mauldin returned to Phoenix in 1940 and enlisted in the Arizona National Guard.

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This Day in History… October 28, 1942

The Alaska Highway 

US #2635 was issued for the highway’s 50th anniversary.

On October 28, 1942, construction was completed on the 1,700-mile Alaska Highway.

In the 1920s, people began proposing a highway from the lower 48 states, through Canada, to Alaska.  The Canadian government refused to offer funds for its construction because it would have benefited only the small population of the country’s Yukon Territory.  Support increased in both Canada and the US toward the end of the decade, but the Great Depression hit and there was no money for such a program.

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This Day in History… October 27, 1913

First US International Philatelic Exhibition 

An Overprinted Cinderella printed to promote the show.

On October 27, 1913, the US hosted its first International Philatelic Exhibition (IPEX).

Stamp shows had been held in other countries as early as 1870.  And in 1889, the US held its first stamp exhibition at the Eden Musee in New York City. Others would follow, but none in the US were international events until 1913.

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This Day in History… October 26, 1940

First Flight of the P-51 Mustang

US #3142a from the Classic American Aircraft sheet.

On October 26, 1940, the P-51 Mustang completed its first flight.

In April 1940, the British government sought to purchase planes from American manufacturers.  At the time, the Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk was the best American fighter aircraft in production, however, the Curtiss-Wright plant was working at capacity.

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