Category Mail

The Mail Runner

“In all communities which maintain any pretence at civilisation and up-to-date methods, an efficient postal service is an absolute sine qua non.” — Confederate States of America: Government Postage Stamps (1913) by Frederick John Melville Early in 1861, when his home state left the Union, John H. Reagan left the U.S. House of Representatives. Soon […]

Was Hitler a Mail Artist?

Certainly, there are thousands of Adolf Hitler postcards out there, including perhaps the creepiest Christmas postcard ever, but these were commercially produced and clearly do not qualify as mail art. However, during his time in Vienna (1908-1913) the young artist made a meager living by painting watercolors and selling them to tourists. Some histories say […]

What Is Mail Art?

Mail art by George Henry Edwards, 1900 Whenever I read that mail art began “in the 1960s,” I roll my eyes. Mail art has been around as long as creative people have been mailing, and wonderful examples from the 19th and 20th century abound. [1] Mail art, 1873 Mail art by Hugh Rose, 1910 Mail […]

Mail Art & Faux Postage

“It was recognized even in the eighteen-sixties that collectors had to contend with not only forgeries of government-issued postage stamps but also stamps whose validity existed only in the imagination of their producers.”– Cinderella Stamps (1970) by L.N. and M. Williams I love mail, mail art, the post office, postage stamps, rubber stamps. All of […]

Anthony Trollope

I am reading Masters of the Post: The Authorized History of the Royal Mail, a thumping big tome by Duncan Campbell-Smith, and I came across a passage that reminded me of a particular Waterloo of mine. The author noted that Anthony Trollope, who worked for the General Post Office before gaining fame as a novelist, […]

The Blind Reader

I think it’s safe to say that Della Donner and Patti Collins met but once, in December of 1913. Although both lived in Washington D.C., they moved in different circles. Della Newsom Donner “liked to go about a great deal.” Her former husband, William H. Donner, was “a home-loving man” who made $4,000,000 when U.S. […]

An Amiable Uncle

When I began to read, one of the first books my mother gave me was Penrod by Booth Tarkington. I loved the book, in part because Penrod’s boyhood was preferable to my own, but also because Tarkington was fun, funny, and his prose flowed like a brook in the woods. I still return to him […]

The Gdańsk Post Office, 1939

On September 1, 1939, the morning the German army invaded Poland, the postal workers at the Polish post office in Gdańsk delivered more than mail. There was a lot of history behind the 1939 invasion of Poland, and specifically the invasion of Gdańsk. The borders of Poland had been redrawn many times since its birth […]

Abbie Stories

Abbie was born December 2, 1983, and joined our family on January 27, 1984. These are a few of the stories from her childhood that I did not want to lose. * * * We met Abbie on a Wednesday at Catholic Charities, in an upstairs room, in an old building. It was equipped as […]

Dear Roland,

March 21, 1986 Dear Roland, Her screams and the sound of shattering glass were so close together I couldn’t tell them apart. Crouched behind the counter now she was still screaming, right in my ear, her hands tearing at my jacket as if she wanted to force her way inside, and the glass was shattering […]