Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Language of Postage Stamps

After a comment on this post mentioned the language of postage stamps, the DeWell family archivist sent me this image …

2015-1-25. KlaasAgnes notebook
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the DeWell Family Archives.

… with this explanation:
I remembered seeing this in a tiny notebook my grandmother, Agnes Klaas-Hasse, kept about 1908.

She was born in Klaasville, Lake County, Indiana in 1891. About 1905 her family moved to Mississippi, searching for cheaper farmland. Agnes and several of her sisters later returned to Lake County, married and raised families there.
So here we've got a young woman who grew up on an Indiana farm; who, transplanted to Mississippi, did nothing more exotic, as far as I can tell, than get a job as a cook in the home of a moderately well-to-do family (1910 Census); and yet she knew about the language of postage stamps — it could not have been too arcane.

Poking around the internet a bit, I find some articles on the topic, including an international selection of rules and a 2005 article on the the lingering use of this language.

I have been schooled. All the same, on all the postcards I've looked at over the past few years, I haven't seen a stamp anywhere but the upper right-hand corner.

No comments: