Stamps, Nationalism and Political Transitions

The academic publishers Routledge has just published a new book edited by Prof. Stanley D. Brunn of the University of Kentucky on the subject of stamps as a source for documentary research on political trends, changes and transitions. Stanley Brunn, along with Jack Child and David Scott, has been among the leading Anglophone scholars to […]

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Missionary Correspondence in Colonial Korea: McCune – Hunt Letters

The three envelopes described below are small but important pieces of information about three key Presbyterian missionary families in Korea – the McCunes, the Hunts, and the Blairs. All of these families were involved in education, and became embroiled in the politics of colonial Korea under the Japanese. In particular, they and other missionaries were […]

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Missionary stamp collectors on 1964 KPS membership list

In an issue of the KSS Newsletter, there was a photocopy of part of the membership list of the Korea Philatelic Society. It is interesting to note that two non-Koreans are listed as members, both missionaries. One is KSS member Dr. Lyman Hale (1922 – 2019), a physician at Severance Hospital, Seoul and a member […]

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1913 SPG Postcard showing missionary residence

On Kobay, the Korean version of Ebay, mission history-related philatelic items are often available. Here is one of many of these items – a postcard sent within Great Britain from Grimsby to Skidbrooke on 19 February 1913. Both of these places are coastal towns in north east Lincolnshire. Grimsby is a major fishing port, whereas […]

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Christian Literature Society correspondence illustrates different surface mail cachets

A series of covers, recently offered for sale on Ebay, show another interesting piece of Korean missionary history. The Christian Literature Society of Korea (대한 기독교 서회) was and is a major publisher and bookseller in Korea, and dates back to the earliest years of Protestant Christian missions. It is an ecumenical organisation as is […]

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1963 cover from important Methodist medical missionary educator

This envelope is particularly interesting from a postal history point of view. The writer, Dr. Roberta G. Rice, was writing to Dr. Charles Mayo the head of the renowned Mayo Clinic, and his wife in a personal capacity. Dr. Rice was a member of the (American) Methodist Mission who had been appointed after the Korean […]

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The Semiotics of the First Korean Issues

As a philatelist, my principal interest has been in the semiotics of the stamps, the meaning of their design. The first stamps issued by a national government or stamp issuing authority are particularly intriguing. This is a government’s first opportunity to present itself graphically to the world. What do they put on their very first […]

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Australian missionary postal history shows early links with Korea

Abacus Auctions of Glen Waverley, Victoria, Australia in its auctions for 30 November to 1 December, 2019 displayed three Korean postcards for sale, two of which are pictoral cards. The pictoral postcards are of a ‘yŏt’ (Korean confection) seller and a view of a city gate in Sŏul, possibly the Great North Gate. The text […]

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UK Forces in Korea, BFPO 376 in Kure and a ship beginning with R?

A friend of mine in the Sheffield Philatelic Society, Ian Potter, has given me an envelope which he thought might of interest to me. It is attached below. The envelope, with no message inside, is clearly from someone who was associated with ‘UK Forces in Korea’ and is addressed to a ‘V D K Craddock’ […]

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North Korea’s Interpretation in 1959 of the Korean War

On 25 June, 1950, the DPRK invaded the Republic of Korea (South Korea) in a war for the unification of the nation. Due to immediate United Nations military action this invasion was unsuccessful. An armistice agreement was signed between the UN forces and the forces of the DPRK and the People’s Republic of China on […]

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The Semiotics of Postage Stamps: Tiny Bits of Paper as Government Documents

There are many ways of collecting and studying postage stamps – for their intrinsic collectable interest, for thematic interests, as a representative of the history of the postal service in different countries, and many other aspects. One approach which I follow is to examine the semiotics of the design of stamps. That is, what is […]

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