Today in Postal History

Timor to United States
August 19, 1940

This illustrated cover was mailed from Dilli (now Dili), a small port on the north side of the Island of Timor.
Timor is the largest island in the east end of the Indonesian Island archipelago.
Timor was a Portuguese Overseas Territory when this cover was posted.
Timor was annexed by Indonesia May 3, 1975.
East Timor is now independent but still struggling.*

The stamp was from the common design series for Portuguese Colonies issued in 1938.
The stamp is the 20 avos blue 'Dam' with name and value in black (Scott 233).

The dated cancel is octagonal typical of Portuguese practice.
The cover was censored and stamped as Passed.

The cover was addressed to Boston, Massachusetts, United States.
There are no receiving or transit marks on the front to indicate its travels.

The most interesting part of this cover is the story of the sender.
It was sent, and signed, by Irving Johnson (1905-1991) who sailed the world in his sailboat Yankee.
As noted by the illustration, this was his Third World Cruise.
He was accompanied by his wife, Electa (b. 1909).
He circumnavigated the world three times during the '30s in the training schooner Yankee.

After World War II he resumed his voyages with a German brigantine
he renamed Yankee and reoutfitted for his training voyages.
The Johnsons spent their lives sailing the world,
writing books, articles, making films, and lecturing.

*Thanks to Paul Barsdell for getting me on the right route.


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