Today in Postal History

Philippine Islands to United States
August 20, 1899

The Spanish American War began when the United States declared war
on Spain on April 25, 1898, after considerable tension between the parties.
Events came to a head with the sinking of the Maine in Havana Harbor.
Although the cause is still debated, the incident was all the
U.S. imperial ambitions needed to go to war against Spain.

The U.S. sent troops to Cuba, Porto Rico, Guam, the Philippines.
The U.S. soon prevailed and began a period of occupation until
a treaty could be signed ending the war and ceding Porto Rico and Guam to
the U.S. and making the Philippines a de facto possession of the U.S.

The following is Scott's introduction to Philippines stamps:

     Following the American occupation of the Philippines, May 1, 1898, after Admiral Dewey's fleet entered Manila Bay, an order was issued by the U.S. Postmaster General (No. 201, May 24, 1898) establishing postal facilities with rates similar to the domestic rates.
     Military postal stations were established as branch post offices, each such station being placed wihtin the jurisdiction of the nearest regular post office.  Supplies were issued to these military stations through the regular post office of which they were branches.
     Several post office clerks were sent to the philippines and the SAn Francisco post office was made the nearest regular office for the early Philippines mail and hte postmarks of the period point out this fact.
U.S. stamps overprinted "PHILIPPINES" were placed on sale in Manila June 30, 1899.  Regular U.S. stamps had been in use form early March, and at the Manila post office Spanish stamps were also acceptable.
     The first regular post office was established at Cavite on July 30, 1898, as a branch of the San Francisco post office.  The first cancellation was a dated handstamp with "PHILIPPINE STATION" and "SAN FRANCISCO, CAL."
     On May 1, 1899, the entire Philippine postal service was separated from San Francisco and numerous varieties of postmarks resulted.  Many of the early used stamps show postmarks and cancellations of the Military Station, Camp or R.P.O. types, together with "Killers" of the types employed in the U.S. at the time.

Today's cover was sent as a Soldier's Letter.
It was stamped with the endorsement of Chaplain John G. Schlieman of the 20th Kansas.
An officer was designated for such endorsements.

A Soldier's Letter could be sent at domestic rates (2 per oz).
However, it did not eliminate the charge but only
permitted the letter to benefit from the domestic rate.
Prepayment was not required but the recipients were charged postage due.
The cover was marked POSTAGE DUE, 2 CTS.
There is no postage due stamp or other marking to show that the amount was paid.

The cover was stamped with a duplex CDS for
There is also a barred oval killer.

The Young Men Christian Association followed the troops
and provided things like stationery for writing home.
This soldier took advantage of their offer.
This particular envelope had the corner card of the YMCA in San Francisco.

The letter was addressed to the State Agricultural College, Manhattan, Kansas.
This land grant school is now Kansas State University.
Perhaps the sender was trying to enroll or reenroll there.


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