Recently, as I researched mail art created in the 19th and early 20th century, I came across a woodblock print postcard. And I learned that in the early 1900s, paper companies – such as A.H. Abbott in Chicago and Reeves & Sons in London – sold blank postcards especially for watercolor and pen & ink. […]

Three stories about abortion: My parents listened to the news on the radio during breakfast and read the morning paper. I remember hearing reports of women found dead in hotel rooms, and reading about them, victims of botched abortions. Abortion was illegal, hence a lucrative sideline for organized crime, for doctors who had lost their […]

The AR-15 is made to kill people, many people in a short period of time. It is not made for hunting game, target shooting or home defense. There are guns specifically designed for those tasks. I grew up with guns. In the bedroom I shared with my brother, there was a gun rack over his […]

“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 […]

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, as single items and as books devoted to the genre. [1] […]

On April 15, 1952, someone had 36 envelopes sealed, stamped and postmarked. In 1981, we bought their house and found a file cabinet in the basement, with the envelopes. As I was dabbling in mail art then, I thought there might be some use for the cancelled stamps; I liked the way they were alike, […]

“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 […]

Frederick Bailey Deeming was bad in so many ways. A swindler and bigamist, he graduated to murderer when his first wife and their four children became inconvenient. He buried them under the kitchen floor of a cottage in Rainhill, England, and cemented them over. A few months later he killed another wife in Melbourne, Australia, […]

In 1864, the second edition of Standard Guide to Postage Stamp Collecting by Henry John Bellars and John Hunter Davie introduced a new rarity to stamp collectors, one which quickly became known as the Mormon Stamp. The stamp featured a crude, block-printed likeness of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. The […]

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 […]