National Postal Museum Hosting the 11th Annual Sundman Lecture: “A History of Britain in Thirty-six Postage Stamps”

October 17, 2013
News Release
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The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum will host the 11th annual Maynard Sundman lecture Friday, Oct. 25, from noon to 2 p.m. in the museum’s Discovery Center. Admission is free, with no reservation required. Chris West, the author of A History of Britain in Thirty-six Postage Stamps, explores his country’s recent history through its most fascinating, beautiful and eccentric postage stamps. From Queen Victoria’s Penny Black to the struggles of post-World War II reconstruction, West shows that stamps mirror the events, attitudes and styles of their time. The lecture will be followed by a reception and book signing.

West has written widely in a variety of genres. His titles include a bestselling business guide and a quartet of crime novels. He inherited a love of history from his father and an Edwardian “Lincoln” stamp album from his great-uncle as a child. His love for stamps was revived when he found that same dust-covered album in his attic as an adult. He lives in Cambridgeshire, London.

“The National Postal Museum’s new William H. Gross Stamp Gallery is all about stamps and mail, seen as a window into the larger context of history,” said Daniel Piazza, philatelic curator at the museum. “Chris’s similar approach to British history made his book a great fit for the first Sundman Lecture in the museum’s new and expanded space.” 

The National Postal Museum is devoted to presenting the colorful and engaging history of the nation’s mail service and showcasing one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of stamps and philatelic material in the world. It is located at 2 Massachusetts Avenue N.E., Washington, D.C., across from Union Station. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). For more information about the Smithsonian, call (202) 633-1000 or visit the museum website.

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Marty Emery