1936 1st. 1936. First edition. Hardcover. With 133 plates reproducing 1,000 illustrations. New York: H.L. Lindquist, 1936. First edition. Definitive history of the Free Franking System in the United States, and its role in the development of the adhesive postage stamp. Based on the English franking privilege, the American system allowed members of the Continental Congress, and later the Presidents, members of their cabinets, Senators, members of Congress, etc., to send letters through the U.S. Post Office with their signature, position, and/or the word "Free" on the envelope in lieu of postage. This practice continued until the mid-1870s when it was replaced by Departmental or Official stamps, though it was revived in 1891 in an altered form that is still in practice today. Includes chapters on the free franked envelopes of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and Members of the Continental Congress, Presidents of the United States of America, officers of the executive branch of the government, and the President's widows, as well as sections on bank checks made out by Presidents, letters written by the wives and widows of the Presidents, campaign and memorial badges, etc. Inscribed by Stern on the front flyleaf. Blue cloth binding, with gilt stamping on the spine. Ink stamp to the front pastedown. A bit of minor staining to the bottom edge; otherwise a very good copy. Item #14945
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