This Day in History… August 25, 1944

Red Ball Express

US #2838h from the 1944: Road to Victory sheet.

On August 25, 1944, the Red Ball Express truck convoy system opened to help rush supplies to soldiers at the front.

The term “Red Ball” referred to express cargo service, and was put into use around 1892 by the Santa Fe railroad.  They used the phrase in reference to express shipping of priority items and perishable goods.  Red circles identified the trains and tracks and the term grew to be used extensively by the 1920s.

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This Day in History… August 24, 1935

Potato Stamps 

US #RI1 was issued to show the tax of ¾¢ had been paid for a pound of potatoes.

On August 24, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Potato Control Law, which led to the creation of short-lived Potato stamps.

The Potato Control Act was an amendment of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA).  The AAA had been passed in 1933 by President Roosevelt to help boost agricultural prices by decreasing surpluses.  The AAA also created the Agricultural Adjustment Administration to oversee the grants given to farmers.

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This Day in History… August 23, 1868

Birth of Edgar Lee Masters 

US #1405 was the first stamp in the American Poet Series.

Poet Edgar Lee Masters was born on August 23, 1868, in Garnett, Kansas.

The Masters family later moved to Illinois where Masters attended high school.  It was also there that his work was first published in the Chicago Daily News.  Much of culture that surrounded him there, particularly the town’s Oak Hill Cemetery and Spoon River, would later inspire some of his most famous works.

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This Day in History… August 22, 1834

Birth of Samuel P. Langley

US #C118 pictures Langley with his Aerodrome No. 5 – the first American heavier-than-air machine to make a free flight of any significant length.

Samuel Pierpont Langley was born on August 22, 1834, in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Langley attended the Boston Latin School and English High School of Boston before serving as an assistant at the Harvard College Observatory.  After that, he worked as a professor of mathematics at the US Naval Academy.  While there, he also worked on restoring the school’s small observatory.

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This Day in History… August 21, 1858

Lincoln-Douglas Debates

US #1115 was issued in Freeport, Illinois on the 100th anniversary of the debate there.

On August 21, 1858, Abraham Lincoln participated in the first of seven debates against Stephen Douglas.  Part of a race for an Illinois seat in the US Senate, they became known as the Lincoln-Douglas Debates or the Great Debates of 1858.

Lincoln’s opposition of Douglas had actually begun a few years earlier.  In 1854, he vocally opposed the Douglas’ Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise that had restricted slavery.

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This Day in History… August 20, 1992

Computer Vended Postage Stamps 

US #CVP31 was issued on this day in 1992.

On August 20, 1992, Computer Vended Postage stamps were first made available for sale in five test cities.

Prior to these, there were tests of computer vended postage on an even smaller scale.  Between November 13, and December 14, 1989, self-service machines were available at the 20th Universal Postal Congress at the Washington, DC. But they weren’t available to the general public.

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