Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Million Postage Stamps


The postcard above is a photoshop manipulation but the hundred-year-old story that it commemorates is the real deal. "A Million Postage Stamps," the story of Mrs. Lottie D. Miles of Hudson, Massachusetts, was written around 1900 by W. Irving Bullard for The New England Home Magazine. Click on the pages to enlarge and read.


After her first ten thousand stamps were destroyed by fire, Mrs. Miles labored for 25 years to amass one million stamps. Tied into bundles of 100 stamps each, the collection filled a trunk and a bureau drawer. It was estimated that if the stamps were spread over a surface with edges touching, they would cover nearly 5 acres, or a space one-fifth as large as the Boston Public Garden.


As a child, she did not take much interest in the craze of postage stamp collecting. But her belief that the person who should amass a million canceled stamps would be eligible for a free bed in a government hospital or some "old ladies" home fueled her labor for over twenty-five years.


At the time of her interview, Mrs. Miles intended to continue collecting until she had another million canceled stamps on which she hoped to support herself during her old age.


Another one of Mrs. Miles' fads was to save twine on a large ball (see photo above) which she employed for tying the stamps into bundles. She was quoted as saying: "Some day when I have nothing else to do, I shall start in and take the paper off the back of each stamp, and do them up perfectly clean, so that they will be more compact." I wonder if she achieved her goal.


When I came across this article, I knew I would have to share it with you for Postcard Friendship Friday!

12 comments:

Postcardy said...

That's an amazing story.

Bob of Holland said...

A very fascinating story. Collecting was a kind of social security for her. It's not for me (I'll go bankrupt first). Happy PFF.

steviewren said...

What a fascinating article! I wonder what happened to her collection and if she every cashed in on it. Interesting post for Friendship Friday!

MrCachet said...

LOL. A million stamps stuck to a million pieces of paper! Which comes unglued first?

Snap said...

Wonderful story! Thanks so much for finding it and sharing! Happy PFF

Irene said...

What an interesting story, did she get into a old age home on those stamps? I hope so. As a child I didn't get into stamp collecting either, it was my eldest son, a wee bit of a geek, who got me going. He was so fascinated in the art and who got their painting or design on a stamp. And then of course there was the movie Tommy Ticker... and that was it, we ended up going to all these stamp collector meetings, we because he was nine and these meetings were in local Legion Halls and I could not let him go alone, so it was me and the old men and him.

AnitaNH said...

Thank you, Irene. That's a great stamp story.

"Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller" had a cute promotional poster in the shape of a postage stamp -

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096282/mediaindex

viridian said...

Gee, and I thought my 2 candy boxes filled with stamps (still on paper)was quite a few stamps.

Beth Niquette said...

What an interesting woman! I would have loved to have met her. Happy PFF!

Sheila said...

Amazing! Including her belief that they would provide her with a free bed in hospital or home. :)

Stacey said...

What a fascinating story- A bit peculiar nonetheless... Happy PFF!

Mary said...

Talk about OCD! And to think of removing the paper on the backs! Wow.