More About Stamps
Birds in Winter. Image courtesy of USPS

More About Stamps

  Stamps have been in the news recently. The surfacing of a rare inverted Jenny stamp, a dispute over the use of an image of the Statue of Liberty, and new releases of novel, innovative and popular stamp motifs have all received media attention in recent months. New stamps, now on sale at post offices or online through USPS.com, include four new holiday stamps as well as re-releases of past popular images; a World War I commemorative stamp; Hot Wheels; Birds in Winter; Dragons; the much anticipated John Lennon stamp; and others. John Lennon The John…

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Profile: Bud Bresnahan, Postal Inspector
Rincon Center July 2017 photo by Murray Schneider

Profile: Bud Bresnahan, Postal Inspector

Francis Gerald (“Bud”) Bresnahan grew up in Pacifica, California, son of a postal inspector.  His father, also Bud (Francis X.) Bresnahan, started work for the U.S. Postal Service shortly after he returned from his wartime service in the Marine Corps in 1946. Working for the post office was an excellent post-war job.  As a high school graduate, Bud (Francis X.) worked in the shipyards until he enlisted in 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  He was stationed near Quanico Marine base, Virginia, and later, Tientsin, China.  In 1943 he married his sweetheart, Charlotte, in Washington,…

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A Trip to the National Postal Museum
Historic postal rail car, National Postal Museum

A Trip to the National Postal Museum

A recent trip to Washington D.C. provided me with the opportunity to revisit the National Postal Museum.   One of the Smithsonian’s treasured institutions, the National Postal Museum, conveniently located next to Union Station, is free and open daily to the public. It is a treasure for children and families, philatelists, and anyone who is interested in U.S. history and the role of the post office in the development of the country. It is through the National Postal Museum that I learned the story of Owney, the scruffy dog from Albany, New York who became infatuated with…

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The Epistolary Novel

Epistolary adj epis·to·lary \i-ˈpi-stə-ˌler-ē, ˌe-pi-ˈstȯ-lə-rē\  1 :  of, relating to, or suitable to a letter 2 :  contained in or carried on by letters 3 :  written in the form of a series of letters an epistolary novel – Merriam-Webster Dictionary What exactly is an epistolary novel? As Jenny Baum of the New York Public Library notes in a blog post, the word epistolary “is one of those words that are just fun to say or think about.” But not everyone knows what the term means. Readers, however, are familiar with the epistolary novel, even if…

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Letters from France: Deployment

Joseph Bosque, a Sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War I, was deployed on May 20, 1918 from Camp Merritt, New Jersey to Marseilles, France. Although he was not permitted at the time to reveal his destination, he left prearranged clues in his letters to his sweetheart back home in San Francisco, Annie Corbett. On May 16, 1918 he signed one of his final pre-deployment letters by saying, “Au revoir, ma chère, Joe.” In his final stateside letter, he wrote a brief message, which he signed, “Yours affectionately, Joseph.” The use of his full name…

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Letters from France 1917 – 1919

This story of love and separation during the First World War came to me quite by accident. My colleague Jennifer Greenlee and her family have been looking for an archive that could become an appropriate yet accessible permanent home for 140 letters written between 1917 and 1919. The letters, written by her grandfather Joseph Bosque to his sweetheart (and later his wife, Jennifer’s grandmother), Annie Corbett, described his experiences during Army basic training in Jacksonville, Florida and later, from his post in France. As noted by Jennifer’s late cousin Tom Bosque, who published a compilation of…

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Wartime Letters

High on a shelf in the closet of my parents’ bedroom there was a box full of letters, written from 1942–1944. It was wartime, and my father, a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, was stationed in Tiburon, but spent his days on a World War I era minesweeper, the U.S.S. Eider. He was 21 years old in 1942, and my mother was 19. As a teenager, I very much wanted to read the letters, but because I was told not to, I didn’t. There are two kinds of children, it seems: those who won’t take no…

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War Letters: Kayla Williams

Letters written and received far from home during wartime have special meaning for people who serve in the armed forces. From the letters on display at the Smithsonian’s Post Office Museum in Washington, D.C., dating from the American Revolution to 2010, to the iconic Sullivan Ballou letter written during the Civil War, featured in the Ken Burns film, The Civil War, produced by PBS, the impact of such letters and their personal and historical significance cannot be overestimated. Kayla Williams is of a new generation of women soldiers, who now make up 15 percent of today’s…

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Stories of the Week

Letter writing may be on the wane, but each week, stories turn up from around the globe on letter writing, the postal service, handwriting and other related topics, both as features and as news stories. Here is a sampling of such stories published Aug. 24 - Sept. 6. Postal Service's big delivery edge: no parking tickets. SFGate.com, Sept. 6, 2014. FedEx and UPS are unhappy at the U.S. Postal Service plan to slash prices during the holidays. The postal service already has an advantage, say the competitors: they don’t have to pay parking tickets. Illegal parking…

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Wanted: War Letters

  Dear Readers, This is to ask for your help and contributions to an upcoming post. Do you have in your possession any treasured letters written during a war by a friend or family member in the armed services that you would like to share, either in excerpts or in total? It could have been written during the Iraq or Afghanistan wars, or during a war in the past: Korean War, Vietnam, World War I or II, Civil War, Revolutionary War or other. Please share only correspondence that you are willing to share with other readers…

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