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D.C. Postal History Project

Old Post Office Pavilion TowerThe Washington Philatelic Society undertook to compile a postal history of the District of Columbia. The objective was to publish a research and reference work with contributions by WPS members and others who are recognized experts in their particular aspects of D.C. postal history. The intent was also to draw upon the enormous collection donated to the Washington Philatelic Society by the late George T. Turner. Though the WPS merged with the Collectors Club of Washington to form the WSCC, the project continues under the new club.

We welcome contributions by anyone with a scholarly interest in any aspect of D.C. postal history. Contact C. A. Stillions by mail at 1435 Fourth Street, S.W., No. B212, Washington, D.C., 20024-2227; by E-mail or by phone/fax at 202-484-6524.
 


Thumbnail, Cover of District of Columbia Postal History Bibliography
D.C. Postal History Bibliography

This bibliography was compiled by Seymour Stiss and C. A. Stillions and appeared in the second quarter 1999 issue of the Philatelic Literature Review published by the American Philatelic Research Library.

PDF 1MB

Thumbnail, Cover of District of Columbia Post Offices
District of Columbia Post Offices

A listing of D.C. post offices extracted from the Post Office Department's United States Official Postal Guide and the USPS Directory of Post Offices, supplemented where available by information from Boyd's Directory of the District of Columbia. Covers the years 1831 to 1977.

PDF 181KB | XLS 474KB

Thumbnail, Cover of D.C. Machine Slogan Cancellations
D.C. Machine Slogan Catalogue

The WSCC Rapid Cancelling Machine Slogan Cancellations Catalogue lists more than 200 different types of strikes culled from the Society's George T. Turner Collection of D.C. Postal History, the Post Mark Museum’s collections, and the Editor’s personal collection. Earliest and latest known dates of use are provided, and each entry is illustrated.

PDF 3.55MB | XLS 120MB

Thumbnail, Cover of Arthur Hecht's Postal History of D.C.
Arthur Hecht's Postal History of D.C.

Arthur Hecht was a National Archivist for more than twenty-five years. He was also a member of the WPS, and his Postal History of the District of Columbia was serialized in the Bulletin from January 1968 to February 1974. It gives the location of every post office in the District from 1790 to 1903 and provides details such as dates of establishment and discontinuance, name changes, and appointments and compensation of postmasters.

PDF 128KB

Thumbnail, Cover of Temporary Stations of the Washington, D.C. Post Office
Temporary Stations of the D.C. Post Office

To be included in this listing, postmarks must contain the words "Washington, D.C." and "Station" or an abbreviation thereof and not be listed in the United States Official Guide or the subsequent Directory of Post Offices, USPS. These postmarks are currently referred to as 'Pictorial Postmarks' by the U.S. Postal Service. The date of 25 October 2001 was selected as an end date as this was the date the Washington, D.C. main post office, its processing and distributing center, closed due to anthrax contamination.

PDF 8MB | XLS 15.5MB

Thumbnail, Cover of First Day of Issue Postmarks Used at Washington, D.C.
First Day of Issue Postmarks Used at D.C.

This is a listing of the FIRST DAY OF ISSUE postal cancellations used at Washington, D. C. from when they were first used in 1938 until the Main Post Office, the Processing and Distributing Center, was closed by anthrax contamination in the Fall of 2001. The end date was selected to be consistent with the coverage of the District of Columbia Postal History project of the Washington Stamp Collectors Club.

PDF 16.3MB | XLS 28.9MB

Thumbnail, Cover of Commemorative Handstamps of the Washington, D.C. Post Office
Commemorative Handstamps of the D.C. Post Office

To be included in this listing, postmarks must not contain the word "Station" or an abbreviation thereof. Washington, DC postal markings that do contain the words "Station", "Sub-station", or "Branch" can be found under the listings for Stations: Military, Permanent, or Temporary. The date of 21 October 2001 was selected as an end date because on this date the Washington, D.C. main post office, its processing and distributing center, closed due to anthrax contamination.

PDF 523KMB | XLS 3.61MB


Read Darragh Johnson, "D.C.'s Identity Lost in the Mail: City Using Md. Postmark After '01 Anthrax Scare," Washington Post, 5 December 2001, p. B1. An interesting look at the disappearance of the Washington, D.C. postmark and how issues of place and identity can be reflected in the mails.

 

Read Bill McAllister, "Washington, D.C. Postmark Returns to Most District Mail," Linn's Stamp News, 14 January 2008. Following a furor over the December 5, 2007 Washington Post story above, most letters mailed in the nation's capital will once again carry a Washington, D.C., postmark--although it is still being processed outside the District.


The photo at top left
shows the clock tower of the Old Post Office Pavilion at 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., which rises 315 feet above the ground. The Pavilion served as Washington, D.C.'s main post office from 1899 until 1914, when it was replaced by the City Post Office next to Union Station. The tower contains the ten Congress Bells, full-size bronze replicas of the bells at Westminster Abbey gifted by British subjects during the American Bicentennial year.