Wednesday, December 07, 2011

A Date To Remember

This month's American Philatelist magazine remembers the attack on Pearl Harbor with several interesting features and articles.

One of those articles is by Lawrence Sherman who writes about a variety of patriotic covers that were prepared on December 7, 1941.

Sherman pens, "Seventy years ago America was stunned, grieving, and angry. The Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941 killed more than 2,400 men, crippled the United States Pacific Fleet, and opened the way for Japanese conquests ranging to the borders of India, the Aleutian Islands, and the threshold of Australia. The spur of the attack never lost its sharp edge throughout the nearly four years of war that followed the date that has indeed lived on in infamy. This was reflected in the large number of illustrated envelopes that commemorated the event and memorialized those who had died. In the last weeks of 1941 U.S. event covers served as snapshots of the suddenly changed war picture."

He goes on to say, "A few covers were legitimately canceled on the day of the attack. However, it was a Sunday, post offices were closed to patrons, and there was little opportunity to have envelopes properly postmarked.

"A few enterprising individuals responded immediately to the challenge. One was William J. Batura of Brooklyn, New York, who had been tracking wartime events during the time of U.S. neutrality. Batura prepared a cover containing a printed special delivery cachet, franked the mail with a blue 16-cent air mail special delivery stamp of 1934 (Scott CE1), and sent the envelope“Via Air Mail / Special Delivery” to himself. He succeeded in having it machinecanceled in Washington, DC, the evening of December 7. Receiving marks on the back indicate the envelope arrived at the Ridgewood Station, Brooklyn, at 10 the next morning. Presumably, Batura added his hand-lettered announcement of the Pearl Harbor attack once the speedy missive was delivered."

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