Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, November 18, 2007, pg. 8

Thinking about what to get someone for Thanksgiving or Christmas? How about one of my books, such as “Growing Up in Albion” or “Albion in the 20th Century?” These are books your relatives can take home with them no matter where they live, and enjoy the great memories they had when they lived in Albion. Also, let your relatives know that my many years of articles printed here in the Morning Star are also reprinted on the www.albionmich.com website.

A couple of weeks ago in this column we featured the Union Steel Products World War II veterans special 1946 commemorative edition of its company magazine, the Messenger. Continuing with that theme as we approach the Christmas season, there was also another significant group of young men who served our country from the Albion area. They weren’t necessarily from another factory, either. They were from a school: Starr Commonwealth for Boys!

Every year during the 1940s and 1950s, Starr Commonwealth issued their own “Christmas stamps,” designed with various Christmas themes. During one year in World War II however, the stamps featured a patriotic theme, and highlighted some Starr alumni who were serving our country.

These rectangular stamps measure approximately 1½ inches, and contain a red background. The top text reads, “Christmas Greetings From” followed by the signature and drawing of the serviceman with their branch or title in service. In the center is the text “One of our 400 Boys in Service.” Gosh, that was quite a number, wasn’t it? At the bottom is stated, “Starr Commonwealth for Boys Albion, Mich.” Starr Commonweath used to regularly print information in those days about their alumni in their magazine, “Starr Commonwealth News.”

From our Historical Notebook this week we present 10 of those stamps. Shown top row, left to right are: Calvin Jones, Marine Corps pilot; Leon Warner, technical sergeant; Fred W. Kemp, radioman; Jack Vedder, Marine Corps; and John Despard, machinist’s mate. Bottom row: Henry J. Ross, 1st Lieutenant; Leonard Higgins, Captain U.S. Army; Arthur McBride, aviation machinist mate; Stewart Morse, seaman 2nd class; and Ridley A. Warren, aviation cadet.

Although these men weren’t originally from Albion and came here from other parts of Michigan, their schooling at Starr Commonwealth and their service to their country was immortalized on these commemorative stamps. We wonder if their descendants know about these stamps today?

Starr Commonwealth Military Stamps


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