Notes from the Past

Blood's Anonymous Poet

Students of philatelic matters delight in delving into the past and working out problems, but who has ever given any thought toward identifying the Poet Laureate of Blood's Despatch Post, that enterprising private mail firm that operated so successfully in Philadelphia, and its environs, during the '40's and '50's?  Many collectors have seen those little additional labels, attached while the letters transited Blood's postal system, little labels on colored paper, printed in small type, usually running to four or five lines, sometimes in prose, sometimes in poetry, and carrying a plug for Blood's fine service.  Many of you, of course, have seen letters with a backstamp, or a postmark, "Have your letters directed to street and number," but when Blood's wanted to say the same thing their unsung poetical genius put it in rhyme, thus:

    "If you would by Despatch have
       Your letter speed attain
    You should have them directed
       Both definite and plain."

This little jingle appeared on a cover with a Blood's stamp, in 1846.  Blood's post was always miles ahead of Uncle Sam's postal organization, even with these innovations and instructions to the public.  Uncle later used a handstamp, in his own, matter-of-fact way.  But Blood's had a poet whose name was never perpetuated or memorialized since he failed to sign his rhymes.  Perhaps he doubled in brass when February 14th annually rolled around and assisted bewildered swains in the composition of sweet Valentine expressions.  Doubtless that was one of the reasons the volume of mail at Blood's swelled to large proportions on that day.  Yes, Blood's was enterprising with a poet on the staff.

- George B. Sloane
Sloane's Column
June 21, 1941
Posted October 29, 1999

Index of 507 Notes from the Past

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