Saturday, June 07, 2008

Postal History - What Is It and Why Study It?

I recently came across an interesting piece on postal history by Vernon S. Stroupe which orginally appeared in the North Carolina Postal Historian.

Stroupe asks and answers, "What is postal history? By definition, it is a study of the postal system or any part of it. This study can be approached from many directions and from diverse interests. Why should we be interested in studying postal history?"

He goes on to write, postal history is the study of:

*The political emergence of a postal system,
*The postal laws and their social effects,
*The post offices, postal routes, and transportation of the mail,
*Postmasters and postal employees and,
*Genealogy through the addressee and addressor,
*Historical context of material sent through the mail,
*Postmarks, postal rate usage and stamps.

He says, "There is almost no 'right' or 'wrong' way to collect postal history. The only mistake that a collector can make is to remove stamps from their covers, cut the backs off the envelopes, drastically reduce the size of the envelope by trimming, or in some other way destroy the cover."

Shown above, British mail carriers, circa 1882.

To read his entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM