This weekend I attended StampShow 2015 sponsored by the American Philatelic Society in Grand Rapids, MI. This is the largest annual stamp show in the nation. Over the years a small cadre of philatelic dealers have been thoughtful enough to save items related to my collecting interest of postal librariana until the next time they see me at a stamp show. Several of these dealers were at the Grand Rapids show. One dealer (thanks Doug) was holding an especially nice item for me. It is an envelope (shown above) mailed by Ainsworth Rand Spofford at the Library of Congress on March 13, 1862 to Washington, D.C. bookseller P.R. Fendall. At the time Spofford was Chief Assistant Librarian of Congress. He became Librarian of Congress in 1864 and served in that capacity until 1897. The envelope has an embossed Library of Congress return address and has a hand written notation indicating that it contained a letter from Spofford and that Fendall had sent the books which Spofford had requested. I have a large collection of postal items related to the Library of Congress and have a philatelic exhibit of these items. This envelope is special because it is the first one I have seen which includes a postage stamp and was mailed prior to 1870. Mail sent by the Library of Congress was limited before the library was authorized to handle the copyright function on behalf of the United States in 1870. For much of its early history the Library of Congress made use of the free franking privilege of members of congress for its outgoing mail. After 1877 the Library of Congress used a special category of stampless mail for government agencies referred to as “penalty mail” because of the statement on envelopes threatening a penalty for private use. I’m revamping my Library of Congress exhibit and this envelope will make a very nice addition.
Curious about Gleeson Library? Want to learn more about what’s here?
Then join us for a tour of the library!
We’ll take you around the library, show you the building, and explain our services to you. There’s no need to sign up, just come inside the library and meet us in the lobby at the fountain across from the Access Services Desk.
Tours are given on:
- Monday August 24th at 3pm
- Tuesday August 25th at 10:30am
- Wednesday August 26th at 1pm
- Thursday August 27th at 12 noon
- Friday August 28th at 1pm
- Saturday August 29th at 2pm
Tours last about 30 minutes. We hope to see you @ Gleeson!
The new semester is upon us! Today marks the last week before classes begin and Indian Summer is in full swing. Welcome back to the bay, Dons!
Gleeson Library’s Hours for Fall 2015
are now posted on our website here: http://www.usfca.edu/Library/Hours/.