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America First in the News, with special thanks to Timothy McGinnis
Recently Donald Trump announced part of his foreign policy plan; calling it, America First. The phrase, America First, was used patriotically in WW1, and it is reasonable to assume he was using the phrase in this manner.
Over 20 years later, in 1940, the America First Committee was formed by Yale Law student, Robert Douglas Stuart. Seals issued by this society are listed in the Mosbaugh All Fund Catalog, Patriotic and Veterans #10, published by the Christmas Seal & Charity Stamp Society. Click on the pdf file below to view an excellent collection of "America First". Nearly all of this material was issued by the America First Committee, with notable exceptions being the 1939 "Ve Vant Var" label and the WW1 era patriotic labels on top of page 8.
The America First Committee was one of the foremost non interventionist groups against American entry into WW2. Noted members of the America First Committee included future Peace Corp Director, and George McGovern's Presidential running mate, Sargent Shriver; future President Gerald Ford; and future Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart.
American aviator Charles Lindbergh became a public spokesperson for the America First Committee, and though he expressed sympathy for the plight of the Jews in Germany, he argued that, "... entry into the war would serve them (Jewish people) better (than average Americans)." Lindbergh identified the forces pulling America into war as, "...the British, the Roosevelt administration, and the Jews." But throughout American history most of us have been inspired by our political, and religious freedoms to act as ambassadors of liberty.
Though listed as an issue of the America First Committee, CS&CSS member Timothy McGinnis (author of the revised Easter Seal section of the Mosbaugh All Fund Catalog) questioned if the rare "Ve Vant Var" label met the standards of the organization, or if it was issued by an entirely different organization. This label makes fun of a Jewish immigrant accent, and behind the "V" for victory symbol is the Jewish Star of David, implying that Jewish people were promoting American involvement in the war. Of course many were, but this racist label implies that Jewish people weren't worth fighting for.
McGinnis uncovered information which confirmed the origin of this seal. California court case People vs. Noble, 3rd Dist April 24th, 1945, detailed how members of the German American Bund, a pro Hitler organization, created and distributed the 1939 "Ve Vant Var" labels.
Lindbergh was a poor choice for spokesperson of the America First Committee. Though a national hero at the time, his motive for being opposed to war was tainted by his eugenics beliefs. Eugenics promoted practices that aimed at improving the genetic quality of the human population, and was a philosophy with implications for a racially based social order. The height of this movement is associated with Nazi Germany, and the Holocaust.america first collection.pdf (21.15 MB)
Early Christmas Seal Publicity Items
In the early years, thru the teens, publicity items issued by the Christmas Seal division of the American Red Cross are rare. The first pamphlet illustrated is from 1908 and contains interesting original information on the 1907 drive. The pamphlet was printed by Chas. L. Story of Wilmington Delaware, and states that they were the printer of the first US Christmas Seal in 1907. Story at least printed some of the type one seals. When the first printing ran out a printer in Philadelphia, Theodore Leonhardt & Son, took over seal production. Later, beginning in the early 20's Christmas Seal publicity items expanded into bonds, ink blotters, package inserts, posters, and letterheads. Many different letterheads were issued by region every year. Though 1935 is not a common year for letterheads, the pdf file contains a definitive collection of about 30 different.early publicity letterheads.pdf (23.31 MB)
World Stamp Show NYC 2016
The CS&CSS will be there for the duration of this, once every 10 year in America, international stamp show; booth 1660. We will be handing out lots of free seals, and signing up some new members. Joseph Ward is creating a society exhibit, a frame of rarities, now included on the "Hobby Overview" page of this website. We hope many members will attend and some will submit their Christmas Seal collections for display. A souvenir CS&CSS engraving has been created for the event. Our meeting, The Early History of Christmas Seals, is scheduled on 5-29-2016, at 11am to 12pm; Meeting Room 1E08. For more information on the event, visit http://www.ny2016.org/
Christmas Seal & TB Health Buttons
In the mid 80's Charles Andrews wrote a good book on the subject, which went out of print. However, Christmas Seal Buttons, Pins and Medals of The United States, by Lou Caprario, is the best book ever written on the subject; 100+ pages, full color comb bound for $30.00, or on a computer CD for $8.95 Published by the Christmas Seal & Charity Stamp Society, and available from CS&CSS Catalog Chairman, John Denune, 234 E. Broadway, Granville, OH. 43023. For a complete list of CS&CSS Literature, click on the "Literature" page in the top menu. Caprario's work has outstanding illustrations, and scholarly detail, listing all know varieties. Click on the pdf flie below to view a lovely collection of 160 different early Christmas Seal & TB buttons.Christmas Seal Buttons.pdf (5.93 MB)
Quiz - What is a Christmas Seal?
a) a comerical holiday label used on Christmas mail and packages
b) a tuberculosis or lung charity label issued at Christmas time by any of 76 different countries, totaling hundreds of different national and local tb societies, as stated in this pamphlet issued in 1976 by the American Lung Association
c) a fundraising seal which includes the double barred cross, or Cross of Lorraine proposed in 1902 at the international conference on TB in Berlin, as the international symbol of the fight against TB
d) a tb seal issued by the ALA, or any other Organizational or Constituent Member of the International Union against TB & Lung Disease
e) an entry in the Christmas Seal contest held at the World Conference on Lung Health, the annual convention of the International Union against TB & Lung Diesase
f) a seal issued by the ALA or it’s predecessors, since it’s acquisition of a registered trademark for the term in 1987.
If you choose “f”, you are correct, Christmas Seal® is a registered trademark of the American Lung Association.
Red Cross Button Checklist
Written in 1934 by Charles Lorenz. US Christmas Seals were issued by the American Red Cross between 1908 and 1919. Varieties of the 1919 Red Cross buttons were used in the 1918 Christmas Seal CampaignRed Cross Buttons, by C. Lorenz 1934.pdf (11.71 MB)
World Class Christmas Seal Blotter Collection
Many collectors under 60 may not know what an ink blotter is. They date back to an earlier time when people still filled their fountain from a bottle of ink. advancements of quick-drying inks and ballpoint pens in the 1950's made blotters obsolete. I have never seen more than about a half dozen different Christmas Seal blotters. They are listed in the front of the 1983 edition of Green’s part 2, US Local Christmas Seals, along with other “back of the book” national items, like Christmas Seal bonds, bookmarks, booth envelopes, menu labels, milk bottle caps & collars, napkins, package inserts, place mats and transit passes (to name a few). Some of these interesting categories listed in Green’s, like Christmas Seal Buttons have been made into entire catalogs on their own. Other categories, like bookmarks were re done in Seal News (back in the late 80’s I think). I had the opportunity to scan a wonderful collection of 125 different Christmas Seal blotters. The collection includes both National and local blotters and begins in 1913. Click on the pdf download below to view the entire collection
Early CS&CSS History & Archives
Special thanks to Joseph Ward & Rod Stuart for help on this News item
Like many collector groups, the CS&CSS has an Archive. Today, this Archive consists of a complete Seal News reprint, as well as a collection of early articles pertaining to Christmas Seal collecting, and history.
Formed in 1931, The CS&CSS's first official organ was Linn's Stamp News, and the "Christmas Seal and Charity Stamps" monthly department served as our official bulletin, and was edited by A. W. C. Brumfield. 1931-1934 issues are included in the Seal News section, available at this website with member login. Fifty cents covered annual dues which included a subscription to Linn's, double the normal Linn's subscription fee.
Later, April 4th, 1934 thru February 5th, 1947, The Western Stamp Collector carried the official bulletin of CS&CSS, first called "Charity Review" thru February 1940 before changing it's name to "Official Bulletin of CS&CSS". The official society column published in the WSC was edited by Harold V.B. Voorhis thru 1938 when he was called to serve in WW2. Ben Morris edited the column thru 1945 and passed away while holding the position of editor. Dick Green took over as editor of the WSC column thru February 1947 before splitting off the Western Stamp Collector, and editing "Seal News", first issued on March 1947. I'm searching for a long run of the CS&CSS Western Stamp Collector bulletins, so they can be added to the Seal News section.
For a time, The CS&CSS and The Poster Stamp Collectors of America used a combined journal, The Poster Seal Bulletin. The known issues are included in the Seal News section, which are May 1941 thru October 1941, and a part of a 1943, leading me to believe they were issued for several years. The heading or title page lists both organizations and their respective officers. They even had separate Editors.
The CS&CSS was so decimated by the war that the planned Society Exhibition, May 6, 1942, in Philadelphia in conjunction with the Pennsylvania TB Society's 50th Anniversary, was in jeopardy. Attendance was expected to be low but some, notably Charles Lorenz anticipated it, and made the event a success. The exhibit that Lorenz put together with members material demonstrated that it was an exceptional event. A report on this May event was published in The Western Stamp Collector, CS&CSS bulletin, June 1942, and is included in the Seal News section. Joseph Ward also wrote a scholarly article on this event published in Spring 2005 Seal News.
During the early years the CS&CSS was a very active group with chapters in New York, Chicago, and later adding Missouri, Wisconsin, and Sacramento.
The following are highlights of the CS&CSS Archive, as well as early Christmas Seal articles submitted by members. The first article is by Leigh Mitchell Hodges, The Philadelphia North American newspaperman who was instrumental in making the 1907 seal a success. The first Christmas Seal, conceived by Danish Postal worker, Einar Holboll, became a reality in 1904. Emily Bissell picked up his idea from an article she read to save a small TB sanatorium in the state of Delaware. The article, The Christmas Stamp, by Jacob Riis was published in this News section September 2014.
Several articles mention the newly formed CS&CSS, while others contain fascinating back stories to events, such as President FDR receiving a Christmas Seal collection from The National Tuberculosis Association; an album put together by members of the CS&CSS. FDR mentioned a prized Christmas Seal item in his collection, a Danish West Indies TB Seal tied on cover. A publicity photo of this event can be seen in the September 2014 News.
Many are written by or about early CS&CSS members collections or exhibits. In the June 1933 article, written by Emily Bissell; she responds to a discovery of some 1907 seals at the NTA office; "We regret that discovery of a quantity of these 1907 seals in cleaning up our office has brought us so much unfavorable publicity, causing people to think we are dickering in the seal trade." Bissell's office had offered 5,000 1907 seal for sale. Collectors correctly predicted the price drop from $5/ $7.50 (type 1 & 2) to .50/ .25 a year later. In 1938 the NTA allowed the CS&CSS to give advance notice of the limited edition Christmas Seal souvenir pane, or Deluxe Pane. With 25,000 printed, they were priced at .25.12-17-07 The Optimist.pdf (1.94 MB)cs&css Dec 1929.pdf (1.05 MB)CS&CSS 10-10-31 Linns.pdf (1.17 MB)CS&CSS Dec 1931.pdf (758.37 KB)cs&css 1931 seal exhibits.pdf (1.83 MB)cs&css 1932 noted artists.pdf (1.53 MB)1932 Christmas Seal Artists.pdf (894.48 KB)cs&css Mar 1933.pdf (862.02 KB)cs&css june 1933 NTA discovery.pdf (1.05 MB)cs&css Dec 1933 FDR.pdf (1.13 MB)cs&css Nov 1934 Linns.pdf (10.59 MB)cs&css 1934.pdf (3.95 MB)cs&css Dec 1934.pdf (1.42 MB)article 1934 jacobs.pdf (6.96 MB)cs&css Dec 1935.pdf (1.7 MB)cs&css 1935 nat coin & hobby.pdf (1.51 MB)cs&css Aug 1937 WSC.pdf (2.52 MB)cs&css un 1938 WSC.pdf (2.06 MB)csss Oct 1938 WSC.pdf (2.18 MB)article 12-40.pdf (4.63 MB)c&cs Mar 1945 WSC.pdf (389.91 KB)article 12-53.pdf (4.11 MB)12-1960 Dateline Delaware.pdf (9.49 MB)NTA 8-65.pdf (753.11 KB)halls of india.pdf (398.69 KB)article berlin ontario 5-89.pdf (3.43 MB)article 2-95.pdf (4.69 MB)modern christmas seals 1995.pdf (4.68 MB)
Dick Green's Catalog Published as a Series
Green's Catalog of Tuberculosis Seals of the World was completed in 1930, and between 1935 and 1937 was published as a series in The Western Stamp Collector, a stamp collecting weekly. The same electrotype images, supplied by the National Tuberculosis Association, were used in 1935 to illustrate the "Christmas Seal" section of The Scott Specialized Catalogue. It was a simpler time. The NTA encouraged hobbyists, and knew that cataloging Christmas Seals was good publicity, and recognized that every collection was a testament to their important work.
Early Autographed Christmas Seal Sheets
1930 was not the first year that the National Tuberculosis Association called upon dignitaries to create sought after collectibles, but it may have been the largest list of celebrities ever used in a single year. *Twelve of the ninteen different illustrated here, are from the collection of John Denune, Sr.
* Andrew Mellon, Secretary of State
* Ronald Colman, Movie Actor
* Gene Tunney, World Heavyweight Boxer
* William "Bill" Tilden, Tennis Champion
Franklin D. Roosevelt, then Governor of New York
Amos an' Andy, Radio Celebrities
Bobby Jones, Golf Champion
Admiral Richard Byrd, Antarctic Explorer
Babe Ruth, Baseball Legend
* Guilio Gatte-Casazza, Impresario
Helen Wills Moody, Tennis Champion
* Mary Pickford, Movie Actress
* Jane Cowl, Stage and Movie Actress
* Harold McCormick, Businessman
Al Smith, 4 time Governor of New York
* Will Rogers, Political Humorist
Maurice Chevalier, Singer, Stage and Movie Actor