This Day in History… May 17, 1865

The International Telecommunication Union

US #1274 was issued for the 100th anniversary of the ITU.

On May 17, 1865, the International Telegraph Union (ITU), which later became the International Telecommunication Union, was founded. 

As the telegraph industry grew in the mid-1800s, the need for standardization and international cooperation became apparent.  Between 1849 and 1865, several agreements were made between Western European nations to create a set of international communication standards. 

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This Day in History… May 16, 1801

Happy Birthday William H. Seward

US #370 was issued for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Expo.

William Henry Seward was born on May 16, 1801 in Florida, New York.

Seward was a bright child that enjoyed school (it was reported that instead of running away from school to go home, he’d run away from home to go to school).   He went on to attend Union College, taking time off to teach in Georgia before returning and graduating with high honors in 1820.

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This Day in History… May 15, 1942

Formation of WAAC 

US #1013 shows women from the Marines, Army, Navy, and Air Corps.

On May 15, 1942, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was established.

Prior to and at the start of World War II, women were generally only allowed on the battlefield as nurses or as volunteers as communications specialists or dieticians.  Though they served with the Army, they didn’t have any official status, so they had to pay for their own food and lodging and didn’t receive any disability benefits or pensions when they returned home.

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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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