DCSIMG

Press

Exhibit Dates

June 9, 2016 – March 25, 2018 at Smithsonian's National Postal Museum

 

Contacts

Media Contact
Marty Emery
(202) 633-5518
emerym@si.edu

Curator Contact
Daniel Piazza
(202) 633-4737
piazzad@si.edu

 

Press Releases

 

Downloadable High Resolution Images and Captions for Press Use

American sailor's letter in a bottle, 1806

American sailor’s letter in a bottle, January 10, 1806
Cape Hatteras National Seashore

During Great Britain’s long war against Napoleonic France (1803-1815), the Royal Navy searched American ships at sea looking for British sailors who had deserted. About 10,000 American-born sailors were carried off in these impressment raids, which were an important major cause of the War of 1812. This letter was written by an American taken from the merchant ship Lion, which sailed from New York on November 26, 1805 to trade in the Caribbean. He corked it into a bottle and dropped it into the Atlantic Ocean near the coast of Colombia in South America. Carried by the powerful Atlantic Gulf Stream current, it came ashore at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina nearly six months later.
Loan from Gordon E. Eubanks, Jr.

American sailor’s letter in a bottle, January 10, 1806
Cape Hatteras National Seashore

During Great Britain’s long war against Napoleonic France (1803-1815), the Royal Navy searched American ships at sea looking for British sailors who had deserted. About 10,000 American-born sailors were carried off in these impressment raids, which were an important major cause of the War of 1812. This letter was written by an American taken from the merchant ship Lion, which sailed from New York on November 26, 1805 to trade in the Caribbean. He corked it into a bottle and dropped it into the Atlantic Ocean near the coast of Colombia in South America. Carried by the powerful Atlantic Gulf Stream current, it came ashore at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina nearly six months later.
Loan from Gordon E. Eubanks, Jr.

Fort Monroe Union naval cover, 1862

Fort Monroe Union naval cover, 1862
Fort Monroe National Monument, Virginia

Fort Monroe in southern Virginia guarded the entrance to the James River and Chesapeake Bay. It was so large and well-defended that the Confederate States never attempted to conquer it, even though leaving it in Union hands cut the capital at Richmond off from the sea. This envelope was addressed to a U.S. Navy surgeon stationed there.

Fort Monroe Union naval cover, 1862
Fort Monroe National Monument, Virginia

Fort Monroe in southern Virginia guarded the entrance to the James River and Chesapeake Bay. It was so large and well-defended that the Confederate States never attempted to conquer it, even though leaving it in Union hands cut the capital at Richmond off from the sea. This envelope was addressed to a U.S. Navy surgeon stationed there.

Scorched Kilauea postcard

Scorched Kilauea postcard, March 12, 1913
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai’i
Tourism to the active volcano at Kilauea on the island of Hawaii took off when it became a national park in 1916, just a few weeks before the National Park Service was created. A popular early tourist activity was walking out onto the hard crust of an active lava flow and using a stick to thrust their postcards into a fissure and scorch it before mailing. Even in the age of Twitter and Facebook, postcards remain a popular way to let people know you were really there—and prove it with a postmark!

Scorched Kilauea postcard, March 12, 1913
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai’i
Tourism to the active volcano at Kilauea on the island of Hawaii took off when it became a national park in 1916, just a few weeks before the National Park Service was created. A popular early tourist activity was walking out onto the hard crust of an active lava flow and using a stick to thrust their postcards into a fissure and scorch it before mailing. Even in the age of Twitter and Facebook, postcards remain a popular way to let people know you were really there—and prove it with a postmark!

Autographed National Parks Year Issue imperforate press sheet, 1934

Autographed National Parks Year Issue imperforate press sheet, 1934
Depicts Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
When the National Parks Year Issue of ten pictorial postage stamps appeared in 1934, the public soon learned that Postmaster General James Farley had purchased imperforate, ungummed full press sheets as gifts. The outcry from stamp collectors led Farley to order the stamps reprinted and sold to anyone who desired them in similar condition. This minor scandal and the reprinted stamps are known as “Farley’s Follies.” This 5¢ Yellowstone press sheet is one of the original gifts that created the uproar, as attested by the 1934 dates in Farley’s handwriting. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes also autographed the sheet.

Autographed National Parks Year Issue imperforate press sheet, 1934
Depicts Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
When the National Parks Year Issue of ten pictorial postage stamps appeared in 1934, the public soon learned that Postmaster General James Farley had purchased imperforate, ungummed full press sheets as gifts. The outcry from stamp collectors led Farley to order the stamps reprinted and sold to anyone who desired them in similar condition. This minor scandal and the reprinted stamps are known as “Farley’s Follies.” This 5¢ Yellowstone press sheet is one of the original gifts that created the uproar, as attested by the 1934 dates in Farley’s handwriting. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes also autographed the sheet.

Skookum with attached address and postage tag

Mailed Skookum, circa 1938-1945
Among the Chinook people of the American Northwest, a skookum is a small doll in native dress. Before World War I, tourists in many Western parks purchased and mailed the dolls, believing in their authenticity. In reality, a company in Los Angeles manufactured them, not the Chinook people. Mailable, three-dimensional souvenirs had attached tags for the address and postage.
Loan from Marjory J. Sente

 
 

Mailed Skookum, circa 1938-1945
Among the Chinook people of the American Northwest, a skookum is a small doll in native dress. Before World War I, tourists in many Western parks purchased and mailed the dolls, believing in their authenticity. In reality, a company in Los Angeles manufactured them, not the Chinook people. Mailable, three-dimensional souvenirs had attached tags for the address and postage.
Loan from Marjory J. Sente

Japanese American internment camp mail

Japanese American internment camp mail, November 24, 1942
Manzanar National Historic Site, California

Mail to and from Manzanar in California and Minidoka in Idaho, where people of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated by the military indefinitely and without trial during World War II, is featured in the exhibit. The remoteness of these facilities meant that postal services were the only connection to the outside world. They became National Historic Sites in 1992 and 2001, respectively.

 

Japanese American internment camp mail, November 24, 1942
Manzanar National Historic Site, California

Mail to and from Manzanar in California and Minidoka in Idaho, where people of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated by the military indefinitely and without trial during World War II, is featured in the exhibit. The remoteness of these facilities meant that postal services were the only connection to the outside world. They became National Historic Sites in 1992 and 2001, respectively.

Manhattan Project censored mail

Manhattan Project censored mail, November 24, 1944
Manhattan Project National Historical Park, New Mexico

General Leslie Groves, physicist Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, and more than 6,000 other personnel who developed the atomic bomb at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico once sent and received their mail from several undercover addresses, including PO Box 1663 in nearby Santa Fe. LANL became part of Manhattan Project National Historical Park in 2015.

Manhattan Project censored mail, November 24, 1944
Manhattan Project National Historical Park, New Mexico

General Leslie Groves, physicist Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, and more than 6,000 other personnel who developed the atomic bomb at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico once sent and received their mail from several undercover addresses, including PO Box 1663 in nearby Santa Fe. LANL became part of Manhattan Project National Historical Park in 2015.

Leather mailpouch with metal buckles

Phantom Ranch mochila
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Mail travels by mule to and from Grand Canyon National Park’s Phantom Ranch, located at the bottom of the canyon. This service is offered by the ranch’s proprietor and is not an official postal route. Postcards and letters dispatched from the ranch receive a unique marking and are deposited in a mochila in the lobby. This World War II surplus cavalry saddlebag collected Phantom Ranch’s outgoing mail from the late 1940s until 2005.
Loan from Xanterra Parks and Resorts, Inc.

Phantom Ranch mochila
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Mail travels by mule to and from Grand Canyon National Park’s Phantom Ranch, located at the bottom of the canyon. This service is offered by the ranch’s proprietor and is not an official postal route. Postcards and letters dispatched from the ranch receive a unique marking and are deposited in a mochila in the lobby. This World War II surplus cavalry saddlebag collected Phantom Ranch’s outgoing mail from the late 1940s until 2005.
Loan from Xanterra Parks and Resorts, Inc.

Agate, Nebraska post office sign

Agate, Nebraska post office sign
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Nebraska

James H. Cook purchased his father-in-law’s northwest Nebraska ranch in 1886 after discovering agate, fossils, and Plains Indian artifacts there. He invited paleontologists and scientists to excavate and study the fossils and minerals. Members of the Cook family operated a post office at the ranch, which they called Agate, from 1899 until it closed in 1968. The ranch became Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in 1997.
Loan from National Park Service, Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

Agate, Nebraska post office sign
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Nebraska

James H. Cook purchased his father-in-law’s northwest Nebraska ranch in 1886 after discovering agate, fossils, and Plains Indian artifacts there. He invited paleontologists and scientists to excavate and study the fossils and minerals. Members of the Cook family operated a post office at the ranch, which they called Agate, from 1899 until it closed in 1968. The ranch became Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in 1997.
Loan from National Park Service, Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

Petrified wood specimen

Petrified wood specimen, Triassic period
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Arizona’s Petrified Forest formed more than 200 million years ago, when the area had a drastically different, vegetated landscape. Now a desert strewn with the fossilized, brilliantly colored remains of prehistoric trees, it became a national monument in 1906 and a national park in 1962. This status protects it from looters who would carry away the brilliant stones.
Loan from National Park Service, Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified wood specimen, Triassic period
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Arizona’s Petrified Forest formed more than 200 million years ago, when the area had a drastically different, vegetated landscape. Now a desert strewn with the fossilized, brilliantly colored remains of prehistoric trees, it became a national monument in 1906 and a national park in 1962. This status protects it from looters who would carry away the brilliant stones.
Loan from National Park Service, Petrified Forest National Park

Gallery photograph

TRAILBLAZING: 100 Years of Our National Parks exhibit
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño

TRAILBLAZING: 100 Years of Our National Parks exhibit
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño

Gallery photograph

TRAILBLAZING: 100 Years of Our National Parks exhibit
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño

TRAILBLAZING: 100 Years of Our National Parks exhibit
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño

Gallery photograph

TRAILBLAZING: 100 Years of Our National Parks exhibit
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño

TRAILBLAZING: 100 Years of Our National Parks exhibit
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño

Gallery photograph

TRAILBLAZING: 100 Years of Our National Parks exhibit
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño

TRAILBLAZING: 100 Years of Our National Parks exhibit
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño

Gallery photograph

TRAILBLAZING: 100 Years of Our National Parks exhibit
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño

TRAILBLAZING: 100 Years of Our National Parks exhibit
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño

Gallery photograph

TRAILBLAZING: 100 Years of Our National Parks exhibit
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño

TRAILBLAZING: 100 Years of Our National Parks exhibit
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño

Gallery photograph

TRAILBLAZING: 100 Years of Our National Parks exhibit
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño

TRAILBLAZING: 100 Years of Our National Parks exhibit
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño

Gallery photograph

TRAILBLAZING: 100 Years of Our National Parks exhibit
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño

TRAILBLAZING: 100 Years of Our National Parks exhibit
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceño