Oxford to host next Civil War Pictorial Postmark on Wednesday

By Vicky House


OXFORD – With seven successful pictorial postmarks already held, Oxford is hoping to make it number eight. On Wednesday, the Oxford Post Office is next on the long list of post offices to participate in this event.

This project is part of the Chenango County Civil War Commemoration Project to remember the service and sacrifice of thousands of men from the area who fought in the Civil War. Each post office has set aside a date where they will hand-cancel envelopes or post cards with a special design. All envelopes and/or post cards must have first class postage in order to be stamped.

A pictorial postmark features words and graphics related to an event and is applied with a hand canceling device. Pictorial Postmarks are one way the U.S. Post Office can help commemorate any special event.

The event began when the Oxford Town and Village historian researched the role of the U.S. Post Office during the Civil War. It was found that the Post Office held special fairs called “Sanitary Fairs” in 1863 and 1864. These events were organized on behalf of the United States Sanitary Commission and other similar organizations that raised funds to provide much needed assistance to soldiers during the Civil War. Several of the Sanitary Fairs had Post Office booths that sold specially printed (non-postal) stamps for use on all letters. These non-postal stamps are similar to the Easter Seals and other stamps that were often placed on envelopes to show support for a particular project or organization.

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