Having been a Postal Child myself (Three generations of my family have worked for the USPS), stamps and anything else involved in that kind of correspondence have always fascinated me. Historical stamps and other postage ephemera can give you a brief snippet of personal history in a time long gone by. It’s a romantic idea in many ways.
For those who grew up in a digital world, you might not understand the thrill of a penpal letter or a postcard from a friend on vacation. The tangible rasp of the edge of a stamp under your fingertip, the bends or smudges of postal machines, the frustration of a rubber band mark on a precious envelope. My grandparents had a long standing exchange of letters during his service in WWII, her letters ended with a bright red lipstick kiss and scented by perfume.
Emails offer none of those exasperations and pleasures, but in the Victorian Era… the post was just beginning to be regulated by the governments of their respective countries… and the lure of written communication was pure. They had no expectations of speed as we do in the modern era, that is to say that their understanding of ‘fast’ is nothing like ours, and maybe, there is a little romance in that too. To understand that the distance crossed only made the messages more dear to the receiver… and in turn the wait for a response.
A friend of mine, that I’ve known probably since Kindergarten (my memory starts to get fuzzy that far back *cough*), is an avid collector of stamps and other postal instruments. So I called on him to give us a taste of some of his Favorite Things (in his Victorian Era Collection)
The following from Gannon Sugimura:
This is a postal card mailed from Lihu`e to Kapa`a on Kaua`i. The cancel date reads “Jan 17 1893”.* Having a card mailed on a red-letter day in history is bonus enough. But this is one of several that was mailed that day to multiple locations on that island on the same day, with a cryptic message on the back as shown. (It was also signed not with a name but with a cypher or perhaps a monogram.) It is tempting to think that this card had some sort of connection to the events of the overthrow of the Monarchy, but that is just speculation.
*If this date doesn’t ring a historical bell, no worries, that’s what you have us for… January 17, 1893 is the day that the Hawaiian Monarchy was overthrown for the final time.
There will be more of his collection during the month… Mahalo, Gannon!