Not only did America’s Post Office Department fund the nation’s commercial aviation industry, but from 1918-1927, the Department operated the nation’s airmail service. Postal officials hired pilots and mechanics, purchased airplanes and equipment, established aviation routes and led the nation into the commercial aviation age.
2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. The National Postal Museum is proud to offer Civil War-related material and stories as seen through the lens of postal history and philately. We hope you enjoy the collection of resources that we have assembled.
The Museum celebrates the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and the story of Christopher Columbus’s journeys to the New World as told through the nation’s first commemorative stamps, the 1893 Columbians.
Officially known as “Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps,” Federal Duck Stamps are the longest running series of U. S. stamps. They are also among the largest and most beautiful of stamps, depicting all species of North American ducks, swans and geese.
In celebration of International Francophonie Day, the museum created this compilation from the museum's collections of objects and stories to celebrate the diversity and richness of the francophonie — the global community of peoples who share a common language: French.
The Post Office Department inaugurated Highway Post Office (HPO) Service on February 10, 1941. This service was to be a mail distribution network comprised of rapid pick-up, sorting, and dispatch to key points en route between two principal terminal cities.
Hispanic and Latino people demonstrate excellence in many areas including politics, public service, music, film, sports, business, science, and the military. The Museum is proud to recognize the significant contributions of these people and related events though various online exhibits.
The "Inverted Jenny" is a misprinted U.S. postage stamp showing an inverted image of a blue airplane. The error occurred on the 24-cent airmail stamp of 1918. Only one sheet of one hundred inverted center stamps was sold, and no other examples have been discovered.
A joint issue is when postal administrations of two or more countries work together to issue stamps or postal stationery on the same date to commemorate the same event or honor the same person, place or idea.
World Portuguese Language Day is celebrated every year on May 5 to celebrate the Portuguese language and Lusophone cultures. In celebration of Portuguese Language Day, the museum created this compilation of Portuguese language items that are available on the museum's website.
For more than a century, the core of America’s postal system was the Railway Mail Service. From its beginnings in the midst of the Civil War to its slow decline after World War II and the service’s last run in 1977, the history of America’s Railway Mail Service is one that was central to America’s postal history.
The National Postal Museum proudly celebrates the rich legacy of American sports including its athletes, events and accomplishments through a variety of online resources. Explore the links below to discover how stamps and postal history objects showcase this important thread of the American cultural quilt.
In the heart of the Italian peninsula, nestled within the city of Rome, lies the world's smallest nation, Vatican City. It issued its first stamps on August 1, 1929. To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the birth of the Vatican City nation and its post office, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum has digitized its complete collection of Vatican stamps.
From the depictions of prominent and remarkable women on American postage stamps to the role of women within the US postal system, the museum’s website has something for everyone. A series of exhibits showcases the many and varied women celebrated on American stamps. Web visitors can learn more about the role of women in the history of America’s postal system, from famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart, to relatively unknown colonial postmaster Mary Katherine Goddard.
With millions of people deployed to the front, the number of letters, postcards, packages, and news exchanged rose substantially during World War I, 1914-1918. Social welfare organizations created opportunities, campaigns, and materials to encourage letter writing to sustain morale at home and at the front. Governments developed methods to control communication through censorship regulations and adapted logistical networks to move great quantities of mail.