National Science Fiction Day – The First Men in the Moon

National Science Fiction Day is unofficially celebrated by many science fiction fans in the United States each year on January 2, which corresponds with the official birthdate of famed science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. I grew up on science fiction — both novels and classic movies — and my favorite author in the genre remains Asimov. In fact, when I was in my teens I … Continue reading National Science Fiction Day – The First Men in the Moon

A Month of Christmas: The Carol

A Christmas carol (also called a noël, from the French word meaning “Christmas”) is a carol (song or hymn) whose lyrics are on the theme of Christmas, and which is traditionally sung on Christmas itself or during the surrounding holiday season. Christmas carols may be regarded as a subset of the broader category of Christmas music. The first known Christmas hymns may be traced to … Continue reading A Month of Christmas: The Carol

A Month of Christmas: Christmas Crackers

On of the things that I find most interesting about Christmastime is the myriad of different traditions — both religious and secular — that have occurred throughout the history of observing the holiday. Huge differences in iconography, food, decorations, gifts, etc. exist to this day amongst different nations and even regions within those countries. It is through stamps that we can learn of ways in … Continue reading A Month of Christmas: Christmas Crackers

Elizabeth I and Her Era

On November 17, 1558, the Elizabethan era began when Queen Mary I of England died and was succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I. The Victorian era and the early 20th century idealized the Elizabethan era. The Encyclopædia Britannica maintains that “[T]he long reign of Elizabeth I, 1558–1603, was England’s Golden Age… ‘Merry England’, in love with life, expressed itself in music and literature, in architecture … Continue reading Elizabeth I and Her Era

Maiden Voyage of RMS Mauretania

On November 16, 1907, Cunard Line’s RMS Mauretania, sister ship of RMS Lusitania, sets sail on her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England, to New York City. Mauretania was an ocean liner designed by Leonard Peskett and built by Wigham Richardson and Swan Hunter for the British Cunard Line, launched on the afternoon of September 20, 1906. She was the world’s largest ship until the completion … Continue reading Maiden Voyage of RMS Mauretania

Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson was born at 8 Howard Place, Edinburgh, Scotland on November 13, 1850. He was a British novelist, poet, essayist, musician and travel writer. His most famous works are Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and A Child’s Garden of Verses. Stevenson was a literary celebrity during his lifetime, and now ranks as the 26th most translated author … Continue reading Robert Louis Stevenson

National Stamp Collecting Month: The Pillar Box

Earlier this month, A Stamp A Day examined the history and use of post boxes and letter boxes for sending and receiving mail. Today, we look at the type of free-standing post box known as the pillar box. They are found in the United Kingdom and in most former nations of the British Empire, members of the Commonwealth of Nations and British overseas territories, such as Australia, Cyprus, … Continue reading National Stamp Collecting Month: The Pillar Box

National Stamp Collecting Month: The Postage Act of 1839 and Uniform Penny Postage

Before we can get to stamps, we should have a brief look at the final steps that brought about the world’s first postage stamp, the famed Penny Black. I have but one in my collection — a three-margined copy with a cut angle on the lower left corner but with my initials (“MJ“) as the control numbers. That stamp was featured on A Stamp A Day in December … Continue reading National Stamp Collecting Month: The Postage Act of 1839 and Uniform Penny Postage