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The Tenth Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: World War I and Its Immediate Aftermath, Select Papers

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posted on 2022-05-04, 15:13 authored by Susan N. Smith


On Monday, 11 November 1918, World War I came to an end. Wrought from militarism, nationalism, and imperialism, the Great War broke empires, challenged established gender and race relations, and destroyed millions of lives. Mail became the critical link for families separated and desperate for news. Governments responded to these developments and to the disruption of communication networks, and they also struggled to determine who should be able to communicate with whom and about what.

The Tenth Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium, “WWI and Its Immediate Aftermath,” brought together postal historians at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in November 2018 to address these issues and to mark the centennial of the end of the war. Addressing the United States and countries throughout the world, the papers examined two broad, interrelated questions: How did the logistical and human needs created by the war shape postal services, their employees, and their users? And what can we learn by studying the philatelic and archival materials themselves?

The six studies contained herein address the hiring and treatment of female employees by the British General Post Office; the American development of a transcontinental telephone system; the development of Chile’s ability to produce security papers, including stamps; the censorship of the mail of Indian civilians for British purposes; American governmental efforts to suppress the spread of leftist radicalism through the mail; and the extensive and varying access and use of picture postcards by prisoners of war in Europe. 



  • Smithsonian Contributions to History and Technology

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Smithsonian Institution; Smithsonian National Postal Museum; American Philatelic Research Library; American Philatelic Society;

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