This Day in History… January 10, 1964

First Stamp with Mr. Zip in the Selvage 

U.S. #1242 – Mr. Zip’s first postal appearance was in the selvage for this stamp.

On January 10, 1964, Mr. Zip first appeared in the selvage of a stamp sheet honoring Texas icon Sam Houston.

Prior the creation of Zip codes, the US had postal districts or zones for use in larger cities. As towns and cities grew, the Post Office needed a more organized system to help separate the mail. In 1944, postal inspector Robert Moon submitted a proposal calling for a three-digit Zip code to help sort the mail. For this, Moon is often considered the father of the Zip Code, though it wouldn’t be implemented for nearly 20 years.

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This Day in History… January 9, 1861

First Shots of the Civil War?

U.S. #1178 was issued for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Sumter, which occurred just three months after the Star of the West incident.

On January 9, 1861, Southern rebels fired on an American ship attempting to resupply Fort Sumter. Some consider these to be the opening shots of the Civil War.

After South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860, the locals demanded that the Federals leave the garrison at Fort Sumter. Though President James Buchanan refused to evacuate the fort, he also decided not to take any action that might incite a riot among the Southerners.

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This Day in History… January 8, 1993

America’s Most Popular Stamp

U.S. #2721 was issued on this day in 1993.

After a yearlong campaign, the USPS held a special midnight first-day ceremony on January 8, 1993, for the long-awaited Elvis Presley stamp. The popular issue was also the first in the extensive Legends of American Music series.

Ever since Presley’s death in 1977, fans around the country had clamored for a stamp honoring the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Ten years later, he was eligible to appear on a US stamp, and requests increased dramatically.

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This Day in History… January 7, 1891

Birth of Zora Neale Hurston

U.S. #3748 – Hurston was the 19th honoree in the Literary Arts Series.

Novelist and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston was born on January 7, 1891, in Notasulga, Alabama.

When she was just three years old, Hurston’s family moved to Eatonville, Florida, one of the first incorporated all-African American towns in the US. Hurston always reflected on Eatonville affectionately and set many of her stories there as African Americans could live as they wanted.

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This Day in History… January 6, 1878

Birth of Carl Sandburg 

U.S. #1731 was issued on Sandburg’s 100th birthday in his hometown.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Carl Sandburg was born on January 6, 1878, in Galesburg, Illinois.

When he was 13, Sandburg dropped out of school and began driving a milk wagon. Over the next few years, he attended West Point for two weeks and worked several jobs, including bricklayer, farm laborer, hotel servant, and coal-heaver.

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This Day in History… January 5, 1943

Death of George Washington Carver 

U.S. #953 was issued on the 5th anniversary of Carver’s death.

Botanist and inventor George Washington Carver died on January 5, 1943, in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Carver was born into slavery in the early 1860s in Diamond Grove, Missouri.  His exact birth date is unknown.  One night while the Civil War still raged, night raiders kidnapped the week-old Carver, his mother, and sister.  His family’s owner, Moses Carver, was only able to find and save George and would raise him and his brother as his own children.

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