This Day in History… May 14, 1607

Settlement of Jamestown

US #328-30 – The 1907 Jamestown Exposition stamps marked the 300th anniversary of this settlement with artwork of the landing, John Smith, and Pocahontas.

On May 14, 1607, America’s first permanent English settlement was established at Jamestown, Virginia.

England’s Queen Elizabeth I granted Sir Walter Raleigh permission to establish a colony in America in 1584.  Raleigh sent several expeditions to the New World, but they all failed due to inadequate supplies.  At that time, Raleigh and the queen gave the name Virginia to the east coast of America, after Elizabeth who was known as the “virgin queen.”

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This Day in History… May 13, 1884

Death of Cyrus McCormick 

US #891 from the Famous Inventors issue.

Inventor and businessman Cyrus McCormick died on May 13, 1884, in Chicago, Illinois.

Cyrus Hall McCormick was born on February 15, 1809, in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.  He was the oldest of eight children born to inventor Robert McCormick, Jr.  Around the same time Cyrus was born, his father began working on a design for a mechanical reaper.  He spent 28 years working on the design but never managed to make it right.  So Cyrus went on to take up the project himself.

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This Day in History… May 12, 1921

National Hospital Day

US #2210 was issued for the 250th anniversary of Bellevue Hospital.

On May 12, 1921, the US celebrated National Hospital Day for the first time.

Matthew O. Foley, the managing editor of Hospital Management, conceived National Hospital Day.  He saw it as a national healthcare event that could promote trust in America’s hospitals in the wake of the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918 that claimed more than 600,000 American lives.  Because many people had died in hospitals, people started to fear them, but Foley wanted to help regain their trust.

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This Day in History… May 11, 1881

Birth of Dr. Theodore von Kármán

US #2699 was issued at the 1992 World Space Congress in Washington, DC.

Scientist and mathematician Dr. Theodore von Kármán was born on May 11, 1881, in Budapest, Austria-Hungary. 

Kármán studied engineering at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.  He then went to Germany and earned his doctorate at the University of Gottingen.  After graduating in 1908, he taught there for four years.  It was while in Germany that he first saw an airplane and became interested in the physics of flying machines.

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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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