This Day in History

This Day in History… May 10, 1908

The First Mother’s Day

US #737 pictures James A. Whistler’s Portrait of My Mother.

On May 10, 1908, the first official Mother’s Day celebration was held in Grafton, West Virginia.

In the 1800s, many women’s groups worked to create holidays to promote peace, including special meetings of mothers whose sons had fought or died on opposing sides of the Civil War.  In 1868, Ann Jarvis formed a committee to create a Mother’s Friendship Day “to reunite families that had been divided during the Civil War.”

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This Day in History… May 9, 1918

The Military Postal Express Service

US #493 increased in use during the war due to a change in postage rates. There are several different “Types” of 3¢ stamps due to variations in the plates.

On May 9, 1918, the US War Department created the Military Postal Express Service (MPES) to handle military mail in Europe during World War I.  It was the first postal system in the world to be created by an Army.

The US postal service delivered most soldiers letters during the Civil War.  In fact, they instituted the Soldier’s Letter Program, which allowed soldiers to send their letters without stamps, with payment being collected by the recipient.  And because of the large number of soldiers’ letters being sent home, the post office inaugurated free home delivery for cities, which led to the daily home delivery we know today. 

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This Day in History… May 8, 1884

Happy Birthday Harry Truman

US #1862 from the Great Americans series.

President Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri on May 8, 1884.

After graduating from high school, Truman worked as a clerk for a railroad construction company and two banks.  In 1906, he returned to his family farm to help his father and joined the Missouri National Guard.  When the US entered World War I, Truman organized a regiment that was called into service.  He became a captain, and his unit was sent to France where it saw heavy fighting.

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This Day in History… May 7, 1847

The American Medical Association

US #949 pictures a reproduction of Sir Luke Fildes’ painting, The Doctor.

On May 7, 1847, the American Medical Association (AMA) was founded, thanks in large part to Nathan Smith Davis.

Born in a log cabin in Chenango County, New York, Davis (1817-1904) had just six months of higher education before beginning his medical apprenticeship in 1834.  After graduating three years later, he worked in general practices in Vienna, and Binghamton, New York. 

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This Day in History… May 6, 1870

Happy Birthday to Amadeo Giannini

US #1400 from the Prominent Americans Series.

Banker Amadeo Pietro Giannini was born on May 6, 1870, in San Jose, California. 

Giannini’s parents were Italian immigrants who had first come to the US in 1849 in response to the California Gold Rush.  In 1872, the family moved to a 40-acre farm where they grew fruits and vegetables to sell. 

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This Day in History… May 5, 1864

Birth of Nellie Bly

U.S. #3665 was part of a 2002 issue honoring pioneering female journalists.

US #3665 was part of a 2002 issue honoring pioneering female journalists.

Nellie Bly was born Elizabeth Jane Cochran on May 5, 1864, in Cochran’s Mills, Pennsylvania.

When she was a teenager, Bly read an offensive article in the Pittsburgh Dispatch titled, “What Girls are Good For.”  She was so upset that she wrote an angry response to the editor under the name, “Lonely Orphan Girl.”  The editor was so impressed he ran an advertisement asking her to reveal herself and ultimately offered her a full-time job.  It was at this time that she adopted the pen name Nellie Bly, after the character in a Stephen Foster song.

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