Archive for July, 2010

Happy 225th birthday, US postal system 26 July 1775

July 26, 2010

Taken / Reposted from the http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

Welcome to the THIS DAY IN HISTORY daily email from History.com

 July 26 1775 : U.S. postal system established

On this day in 1775, the U.S. postal system is established by the Second Continental Congress, with Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general. Franklin (1706-1790) put in place the foundation for many aspects of today’s mail system. During early colonial times in the 1600s, few American colonists needed to send mail to each other; it was more likely that their correspondence was with letter writers in Britain. Mail deliveries from across the Atlantic were sporadic and could take many months to arrive. There were no post offices in the colonies, so mail was typically left at inns and taverns.

 In 1753, Benjamin Franklin, who had been postmaster of Philadelphia, became one of two joint postmasters general for the colonies. He made numerous improvements to the mail system, including setting up new, more efficient colonial routes and cutting delivery time in half between Philadelphia and New York by having the weekly mail wagon travel both day and night via relay teams. Franklin also debuted the first rate chart, which standardized delivery costs based on distance and weight. In 1774, the British fired Franklin from his postmaster job because of his revolutionary activities.

However, the following year, he was appointed postmaster general of the United Colonies by the Continental Congress. Franklin held the job until late in 1776, when he was sent to France as a diplomat. He left a vastly improved mail system, with routes from Florida to Maine and regular service between the colonies and Britain. President George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood, a former Massachusetts congressman, as the first postmaster general of the American nation under the new U.S. constitution in 1789. At the time, there were approximately 75 post offices in the country.

Today, the United States has over 40,000 post offices and the postal service delivers 212 billion pieces of mail each year to over 144 million homes and businesses in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the American Virgin Islands and American Samoa. The postal service is the nation’s largest civilian employer, with over 700,000 career workers, who handle more than 44 percent of the world’s cards and letters. The postal service is a not-for-profit, self-supporting agency that covers its expenses through postage (stamp use in the United States started in 1847) and related products. The postal service gets the mail delivered, rain or shine, using everything from planes to mules. However, it’s not cheap: The U.S. Postal Service says that when fuel costs go up by just one penny, its own costs rise by $8 million.

 American Revolution  1775 : Congress establishes U.S. Post Office

View original post at http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/congress-establishes-us-post-office

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Wallace – the alternative Darwin – gets a postage stamp or two at last!!

July 25, 2010

George Beccaloni left a very excited message on the Alfred Russel Wallace website  about the 2009 issue by Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe (in Africa) of Wallace stamps – at last!

You might have read earlier Sandie’s jubilant blog entry about the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society postage stamps from the Royal Mail featuring Wallace  http://http://royalsociety.org/Royal-Society-350th-anniversary-stamps/ 

Interesting to compare the two different designs!

The centenary of Wallace’s death in 1913 is due soon in 2013 and the Wallace Fund website blog has more details about how this is being marked around the world. There is also a short biography of this amazing man and many links.

These very Darwin style portrait and dinosaur stamps compare well with some of the Darwin 200 and other anniversary issues shown in our Charles Darwin: A Life In Stamps book, published in 2009. Copies are still available to schools (free) and collectors (small charge, see earlier blog).  The stamps should,  as George notes,   appeal to dinosaur stamp collectors as much as Darwin realted stamp collectors.  

 http://wallacefund.info/first-ever-postage-stamps-featuring-alfred-russel-wallace-are-published

His book The Malay Archipeligo has never been out of print since its publication, much like Darwin’s Voyage of The Beagle, another classic of  Victorian travel writing.

Wallace’s travels took him across Indonesia including to Papua New Guinea where our Black Tree Monitors are from and Sulawesi, an Indonesian island,  home to Sulawesi Macaque monkeys that are now critically endangered – you can see our group at Newquay Zoo through our webcam http://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/conservation/sulawesi-crested-black-macaques.htm, part of our support for Selamatkan Yaki (Protect The Macaque! in Bahasan Indonesian).

We’ll keep you posted on celebartions for Wallace 2013, Darwin 2011 and Edward Lear 2012 on the blog – watch this space.

Artistic Scrapbooking Stamp Pages

July 14, 2010

I made a scrapbook all about Madagascar and used photos, stamps, and other materials to make up the pages.

Look how I have used the tails of the ring tailed lemur in the following example:

Try your own designs.

About Madagascar and how it came to have unique animals not found anywhere else –

The reason is because of evolution by natural selection. When Madagascar became separated from Africa, the island conditions were very different from the mainland. The animals and plants evolved according to their new circumstances and became new species over millions of years. And because Madagascar is an island the new species are not found anywhere else.

Sandie Robb, RZSS

Artistic Pages

July 14, 2010

Well if you have been collecting stamps, what do you do with them and how do you display them?

There are plenty of traditional stamp albums and stamp pages. Look on any good stamp collecting site to learn about what is available and how to use stamp hinges or stamp mounts to protect your mint stamps – stamps that have not been postmarked. Try www.planetstamp.co.uk

But I like to display my stamps in a more artistic way. I also like scrapbooking – there are lots of sites about crafts and scrapbooking too. I sometimes mix my stamps with other related material such as photos, magazine/newspaper cut-outs, actual bits and pieces etc.

Here are examples of some evolution related pages:

Minerals and Fossils has actual pieces of pyrite, amethyst, agate, corals and sharks teeth on the page!

In ‘Posting with Dinosaurs’ I used an old stamp magazine and cut out part of the article then added the real stamps.

Sandie Robb, RZSS