This Day in History

This Day in History… December 24, 1818

First Performance of “Silent Night”

US #5248 includes a line from “Silent Night.” Click the image to order.

“Silent Night” was first performed on Christmas Eve in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria, in 1818.

The story goes that the organ at St. Nicholas’ parish was broken and could not be repaired before Christmas.  A young priest named Joseph Mohr remembered a poem he had written in 1816.  The poem described the tranquil scene of Jesus’ birth. 

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This Day in History… December 23, 1913

Federal Reserve Established 

US #3183b pictures an eagle statue on the Federal Reserve building. Click the image to order. 

On December 23, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act, establishing America’s current central banking system.

The idea of a central banking system dates back to post-Revolutionary War America.  The new country had large wartime debts and needed a solid banking system.  Two of America’s founding fathers and long-time friends, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, were split on the issue.

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This Day in History… December 22, 1910

Postal Savings Officials 

US #O121 was issued on this day in 1910. Click the image to order.

On December 22, 1910, the US Post Office Department issued its first Postal Savings Official Mail stamp.

On June 25, 1910, the US Congress approved an act to establish the Postal Savings System.  The Postal Savings System was created to serve small investors living in rural communities.

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This Day in History… December 21, 1920

Pilgrim Tercentenary Issue 

US #548 pictures the Mayflower.  Click the image to order.

On December 21, 1920, the US Post Office Department issued a set of three stamps honoring the 300th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, Massachusetts.

The Pilgrims never intended to be wanderers.  They were devout Christians who felt that only by breaking all ties with the Church of England could they retain their integrity before God.  They went to Holland first, but their plight didn’t improve.  So they set sail for America on September 16, 1620.

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This Day in History… December 20, 1812

Death of Sacagawea 

US #2869s from the Legends of the West sheet.

December 20, 1812, is generally believed to be the day that Sacagawea died in Kenel, South Dakota.

There’s limited information about Sacagawea’s early life, including her birth date, though many historians believe she was born in May 1788 near present-day Salmon, Idaho.  She was a member of the Agaidika (Salmon Eater) of the Lemhi Shoshone tribe.

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This Day in History… December 19, 1915

Birth of Edith Piaf 

US #4692 pictures an undated photo of Piaf on a Paris stage.

Singer, songwriter, and actress Édith Giovanna Gassion, better known as Édith Piaf was born on December 19, 1915, in Belleville, Paris, France.

The future star was named after Edith Cavell, a World War I nurse that had helped French soldiers escape Germany.  She took the name Piaf (slang for sparrow) in her 20s.

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