Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Born on September 6, 1860, in Cedarville, Illinois, Jane Addams co-founded one of the first settlements in the United States, the Hull House in Chicago, Illinois, in 1889.  Addams also served as the first female president of the National Conference of Social Work, established the National Federation of Settlements and served as president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She died in 1935 in Chicago.
Interesting fact---Addams was named a co-winner of the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


  The name of every American who died or is still listed as missing is inscribed on the walls of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
  Interesting facts----Memorial building was started March 26, 1982 and the architect was Maya Lin.


  Early one April morning in 1775, 50 ragged "Minutemen" faced 1,000 red-coated British soldiers across the bridge at Lexington-a shot was fired, the first in the start of the Revolutionary War or the War for Independence.
  Interesting fact---the "Minuteman Statue" at Concord is a tribute to the first 88 colonists who died in the War for Independence.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


  • Eli Whitney was an American inventor best known for inventing the cotton gin. This was one of the key inventions of the Industrial Revolution and shaped the economy of the Antebellum South. 
  • Born: December 8, 1765, Westborough, MA
    Died: January 8, 1825, New Haven, CT
    Nationality: American
    Interesting facts--- Eli Whitney  became an expert at making nails from a device of his own invention. He later crafted canes and ladies hatpins.

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013


      During the War of 1812, Key accompanied by the British Exchange Agent Colonel John Stuart Skinner, dined aboard the British ship HMS Tonnant, as the guest of three British officers. Skinner and Key were there to negotiate the release of prisoners, but they were not allowed to leave the ship because the British felt that they had become familiar with their strengths and positions, as they were about to attack the American forces at Fort McHenry on the nights of September 3-4, 1814.
      At dawn, Key was able to see the American flag still waving and reported this to the prisoners below deck. After his release, and on the way back to Baltimore, he was inspired to write a poem describing his experience, calling it "The Defense of Fort McHenry, which he published in The Patriot on September 20, 1814.
      Key set his poem to the music of  "When the Warriors Return", since then, it has been called "The Star Spangled Banner". 
      Under this name, the song was adopted as the American national anthem first by order of President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 and then by Congressional resolution in 1931, signed by President Herbert Hoover.
      Interesting and little known facts about Key---in 1832 Key served as the attorney for Sam Houston during his trial in the U.S. House of Representatives for assaulting another Congressman and in 1835 he prosecuted Richard Lawrence for his unsuccessful attempt to assassinate President Andrew Jackson.

    Tuesday, November 5, 2013


    Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) was an American novelist best known as author of the novel Little Women and its sequels Little Men and Jo's Boys. Raised by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott in New England, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. Nevertheless, her family suffered severe financial difficulties and Alcott worked to help support the family from an early age. She began to receive critical success for her writing in the 1860s. Early in her career, she sometimes used the pen name A. M. Barnard.
    Published in 1868, Little Women is set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts and is loosely based on Alcott's childhood experiences with her three sisters. The novel was very well received and is still a popular children's novel today. Alcott was an abolitionist and a feminist. She died in Boston.

    Monday, November 4, 2013


    James Fenimore Cooper (September 15, 1789 – September 14, 1851) was a prolific and popular American writer of the early 19th century. His historical romances of frontier and Indian life in the early American days created a unique form of American literature. He lived most of his life in Cooperstown, New York, which was established by his father William. Cooper was a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church and in his later years contributed generously to it. He attended Yale University for three years, where he was a member of the Linonian Society, but was expelled for misbehavior. Before embarking on his career as a writer he served in the U.S. Navy as a Midshipman which greatly influenced many of his novels and other writings. He is best remembered as a novelist who wrote numerous sea-stories and the historical novels known as the Leatherstocking Tales. Among naval historians Cooper's works on the early U.S. Navy have been well received, but they were sometimes criticized by his contemporaries. Among his most famous works is the Romantic novel The Last of the Mohicans, often regarded as his masterpiece.

    Sunday, November 3, 2013


    When Samuel was 12, his father died of pneumonia, and at 13, Samuel left school to become a printer's apprentice. After two short years, he joined his brother Orion's newspaper as a printer and editorial assistant. It was here that young Samuel found he enjoyed writing.

    At 17, he left Hannibal behind for a printer's job in St. Louis. While in St. Louis, Clemens became a river pilot's apprentice. He became a licensed river pilot in 1858. Clemens' pseudonym, Mark Twain, comes from his days as a river pilot. It is a river term which means two fathoms or 12-feet when the depth of water for a boat is being sounded. "Mark twain" means that is safe to navigate.

    Because the river trade was brought to a stand still by the Civil War in 1861, Clemens began working as a newspaper reporter for several newspapers all over the United States.

    Twain began to gain fame when his story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County" appeared in the New York Saturday Press on November 18, 1865. Twain's first book, "The Innocents Abroad," was published in 1869, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" in 1876, and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" in 1885. He wrote 28 books and numerous short stories, letters and sketches.

    Mark Twain passed away on April 21, 1910, but has a following still today. His childhood home is open to the public as a museum in Hannibal, and Calavaras County in California holds the Calavaras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee every third weekend in May. Walking tours are given in New York City of places Twain visited near his birthday every year.                                                                 Interesting fact------In 1870, Clemens married Olivia Langdon, and they had four children, one of whom died in infancy and two who died in their twenties. Their surviving child, Clara, lived to be 88, and had one daughter. Clara's daughter died without having any children, so there are no direct descendants of Samuel Clemens living.

    Saturday, November 2, 2013


    Iwo Jima was the only battle by the U.S. Marine Corps in which the overall American casualties (killed and wounded) exceeded those of the Japanese, although Japanese combat deaths were thrice those of the Americans throughout the battle. Of the 22,000 Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima at the beginning of the battle, only 216 were taken prisoner, some of whom were captured because they had been knocked unconscious or otherwise disabled. The majority of the remainder were killed in action, although it has been estimated that as many as 3000 continued to resist within the various cave systems for many days afterwards, eventually succumbing to their injuries or surrendering weeks later.
    Despite the bloody fighting and severe casualties on both sides, the Japanese defeat was assured from the start. American overwhelming superiority in arms and numbers as well as complete control of air power — coupled with the impossibility of Japanese retreat or reinforcement — permitted no plausible circumstance in which the Americans could have lost the battle.
    The battle was immortalized by Joe Rosenthal's photograph of the raising of the U.S. flag on top of the 166 m (545 ft) Mount Suribachi by five U.S. Marines and one U.S. Navy battlefield Hospital Corpsman. The photograph records the second flag-raising on the mountain, both of which took place on the fifth day of the 35-day battle. Rosenthal's photograph promptly became an indelible icon — of that battle, of that war in the Pacific, and of the Marine Corps itself — and has been widely reproduced.

    Friday, November 1, 2013


      Ninety five years ago, the  United States Post Office Department inadvertently printed a stamp with an upside down image of a Curtiss Jenny biplane. Just one sheet of these stamps were sold before a customer identified the error. This printing mistake has made the Inverted Jenny one of the rarest and most valuable stamps in collecting history. Image the excitement of finding such a sheet of stamps.
      Today the Post Office has given stamp collectors all over the world something to be excited by. The Post Office has made an exact replica of that Jenny, with the exception of changing the denomination from 24 cent to $2.00, so you can easily distinguish between the 1918 Jenny and the 2013 Jenny.
      The excitement is back. Be one of the first collectors to own one of these sheets of six $2.00 stamps.

     One of these sheets is now up for auction for 7 days beginning 11-1-13, and stating the bid at just 99 cents. To go to auction click here

    Thursday, October 31, 2013


      The Four Chaplains, also sometimes referred to as the "Immortal Chaplains," were four United States Army chaplains who gave their lives to save other civilian and military personnel during the sinking of the troop ship USAT Dorchester on February 3, 1943, during World War II. They helped other soldiers board lifeboats and gave up their own life jackets when the supply ran out. The chaplains joined arms, said prayers, and sang hymns as they went down with the ship.

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

    1943-1944 OVERRUN COUNTRIES SCOTT #909-921

      The World War II Axis powers consisted of Germany, Italy, and Japan. During the war, these countries conquered large territories. The Axis powers had long prepared for war, developing devastating military technologies. Although many armies bravely opposed the Axis, the enemy strength and strategies were too much. The Overun Countries Series honors the 13 countries occupied by the Axis.
      Interesting fact---on the left side of each stamp is a phoenix, the great bird of fire from Greek mythology, representing eternal re-birth. On the right side of the stamps is a female, breaking the bonds of oppression.

    Monday, October 28, 2013


      To help the state out, the Post Office printed this 80 cent stamp. Hawaii was greatly dependent on imports, and this new stamp allowed tourist to mail orchids back to the mainland, creating a big export business. This was a big boost to an economy that was greatly dependent on imports.
      Little known fact----Andorra and Greenland are the only countries in the world that have supplied free postage to their citizens. Free delivery is still available on all domestic mail in Andorra.

    Sunday, October 27, 2013


      On July 20,1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to stand on the moon. As Armstrong stepped out of  the Apollo II lunar module, the Eagle, he spoke the famous words,"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind". Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin then stepped out of the space craft and became the second man on the moon.
      Interesting fact---the First Man on the Moon stamp was the first ever jumbo-sized American commemorative.

    Saturday, October 26, 2013


      This story begins with the issue of the 1933 Newburgh Peace commemorative, Scott #727 U.S. Postmaster General James A. Farley removed a bunch of first run sheets of #727 from the printing presses before they were gummed or perforated, and autographed them. He gave these stamps to President Franklin Roosevelt, Interior Secretary Harold Ickes, the President's secretary Louis Howe, various Post Office Department officials, and each of his children. Farley continued this practice with other new stamp issues.
      These ungummed and imperforate stamps were not available to the public. Farley was creating precious philatelic rarities and distributing them to his bosses, friends, and relatives. Needless to say, the philatelic community was outraged.
      Interesting fact---the Post Office came up with a solution. They re-issued the sheets that Farley created in large enough quantities to satisfy the public demands.
      Below is a few of the stamps involved in "Farley's Follies".

    Friday, October 25, 2013


    Casimir Pulaski Day is a holiday reserved in Illinois on the first Monday of every March in memory of Casimir Pulaski (March 6, 1745 – October 11, 1779), a Revolutionary War cavalry officer born in Poland as Kazimierz Pułaski. He is known for his contributions to the U.S. military in the American Revolution by training its soldiers and cavalry.
    The day is celebrated mainly in areas that have large Polish populations, such as Chicago. The focus of official commemorations of Casimir Pulaski Day in Chicago is at the Polish Museum of America where various city and state officials congregate to pay tribute to Chicago's Polish Community.
    This is a separate holiday from the federal observance, General Pulaski Memorial Day, which commemorates Pulaski's death from wounds suffered at the Siege of Savannah on October 9, 1779.
    Illinois enacted a law on September 13, 1977, to celebrate the birthday of Casimir Pulaski and held the first official Pulaski Day celebrations in 1978. The bill was introduced by State Senator Norbert A. Kosinski, a Democrat from Chicago, and signed by Thomas Hynes, President of the Senate on June 26, 1977. Chicago Public Schools, Cook County government offices, the Chicago Public Library, Springfield Public Schools, and state-wide public and private schools are closed on this holiday.
    Wisconsin public schools are also to observe Casimir Pulaski Day.
    Section 118.02 of the Wisconsin Statutes provides that, "...when school is held or, if the day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, on a school day immediately preceding or following the respective day, the day shall be appropriately observed...." The use of "shall" denotes this as a mandatory requirement. Each public school in Wisconsin must observe Casimir Pulaski Day on March 4. How the day is observed — "appropriately" — allows for some discretion among the schools.
    Buffalo, New York also acknowledges a "Pulaski Day," which is held in the middle of July, and is celebrated with an annual parade.
    On November 6, 2009, President Barack Obama signed a joint resolution of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives making Pulaski an honorary American citizen, 230 years after his death.
    Grand Rapids, Michigan hosts a "Pulaski Days" celebration annually on the first full weekend of October in recognition of General Pulaski and the Polish culture in general.

    Thursday, October 24, 2013


      Post Office hold-ups were common in Kansas and Nebraska in the 1920's. Robbers stole stamps and took them to other states to sell. In 1929, overprinted stamps were experimented with in hopes of making it more difficult for stolen stamps to be sold.
      Kansas and Nebraska overprints are among the most favorite stamps for collectors to save, both printed in 11 stamp sets.
      Interesting fact---the overprints were often refused as valid postage by unaware postal workers, and once the existing supply was used, the trial program was stopped.

    Wednesday, October 23, 2013


      This special issue of postage stamps was produced by overprinting the 2 cent and 5 cent stamps of the 1922-23 series with "Hawaii" across the top of the stamps and "1778-1928" across the bottom of the stamps.
      Interesting fact--they were released in Hawaiian Post Offices in connection with a gala celebration honoring the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the Hawaiian Islands.

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013


     On the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth in 1909, a 2 cent commemorative went on sale. Based on a statue in Chicago by Augustus St. Gaudens, the stamp was issued both perforate and imperforate, as well as on experimental blue tint paper.
      Interesting fact---1909 was also the first year of the Lincoln cent.

    Monday, October 21, 2013


      In 1909, Seattle, Washington held an Alaskan-Yukon Exposition to celebrate the development of this far northern territory. A commemorative was issued in perforate and imperforate form to publicize both the Territory and the Exposition.William Seward negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867.  Interesting fact--The original design for this stamp was a seal on an ice floe. Afraid potential visitors would think Alaska was always icy cold, the Exposition Committee opted for a portrait of William Seward.

    Sunday, October 20, 2013


      1930 The Naked Raja by the Spanish painter Francisco Goya. Two sets of stamps depicting Goya's work were privately produced in 1930, and later approved by the Spanish Postal Authority.
      Interesting fact---also in 1930 the U.S. Government barred and returned any mail bearing the stamp. This was the first stamp that showed a nude.


    1926 LIBERTY BELL SCOTT #627

    Liberty Bell 2008.jpg

    The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of American independence, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Formerly placed in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House (now renamed Independence Hall), the bell was commissioned from the London firm of Lester and Pack (today the Whitechapel Bell Foundry) in 1752, and was cast with the lettering (part of Leviticus 25:10) "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." It originally cracked when first rung after arrival in Philadelphia, and was twice recast by local workmen John Pass and John Stow, whose last names appear on the bell .
        Interesting fact----- In its early years, the Liberty Bell was used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert citizens to public meetings and proclamations.

    Saturday, October 19, 2013


      These beautiful bi-color stamps honor the first Norwegian settlers in the United States. On October 9th, 1825, the first Norwegian immigrants arrived in New York on the Sloop Restaurationen. The stamps show the ship the immigrants came over on and Leif Ericsons ship.
      Interesting fact--Leif Ericson and his men visited North America around 492 years before Columbus.

    Friday, October 18, 2013


    A commemorative honoring the 150th anniversary of the Battle of White Plains was issued in 1926 in a 100 stamp sheet. Later that year, a special 25 stamp sheet with a commemorative inscription in the sheet margin was issued with the same design for the International Philatelic Exhibition. This sheet became the first U.S. souvenir sheet that the Post Office produced.
      Interesting fact--only 107,398 souvenir sheets were printed over 85 years ago, so today they are very rare.

    Thursday, October 17, 2013

    1918-20 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN $2.00 & $5.00 SCOTT #523-524, 547

      In 1918 the U.S. Post Office printed 2 Benjamin Franklin stamps, a $2.00 orange red and black, and a $5.00 deep green and black. In 1920 they reprinted the $2.00 stamp in carmine and black.
      Interesting fact--the 1918 $2.00 orange red and black was mistakenly printed those colors but the reprinted stamp in 1920 was printed with the intended colors of carmine and black. Collectors did not know that the #523 was an error until the #547 was later printed.

    Wednesday, October 16, 2013


      A 1909 celebration remembered two different Hudson River events: in 1609 Henry Hudson discovered the river in his sailing ship, the Half Moon; and in 1807, Robert Fulton proved that his steamship, the Clermont, did indeed work. The Clermont became the first successful navigation with a steam powered ship. The first stamp has perforations the second stamp is not perforated.
     Interesting fact--these stamps picture both the Hudson and the Fulton ships, although the two existed 200 years apart.(Artistic License).

    Tuesday, October 15, 2013


      Jamestown is considered the first permanent English settlement in the New World. The three stamp set commemorates Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, and the landing of the Pilgrims.
      Interesting fact--
    Although the life of Chief Powhatan's young daughter, Pocahontas, would be largely tied to the English after legend credits her with saving John Smith's life after his capture by Opechancanough, her contacts with Smith himself were minimal. However, records indicate that she became something of an emissary to the colonists at Jamestown Island. During their first winter, following an almost complete destruction of their fort by a fire in January 1608, Pocahontas brought food and clothing to the colonists. She later negotiated with Smith for the release of Virginia Indians who had been captured by the colonists during a raid to gain English weaponry.

    Monday, October 14, 2013


      The Louisiana Purchase, obtained from France in 1803 for $15 million, almost doubled the size of the United States, and encouraged westward expansion. It was commemorated in 1904 with this series.
      Interesting fact--these stamps were not well received by the public. Collectors at the time did not purchase large quantities of the stamps, and the series was on sale for only 7 months. As a result, well centered unused stamps are extremely difficult to obtain.