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, December 15, 2019, pg. 7

Looking for a special Christmas gift for someone this year? How about copies of my books, "Growing Up in Albion," or "Albion in Review," or "A History of the Albion Public Schools?" These are available from yours truly (contact me at Albionfp@hotmail.com or call (517)-629-5402 for further information), or at Stirling Books & Brew, or Pure Albion, both in downtown Albion. The latter two also have copies of my two Arcadia Publishing books "Albion in the 20th Century," and "Albion [Postcards]" at their establishments.

Many persons remember "Christmas Seals," those little stamps issued by the National Tuberculosis Association as a fund-raiser each holiday season which were placed on the back of Christmas card envelopes and other mail. Some private organizations got into the act by issuing their own fund-raising stamps. One of them was Starr Commonwealth for Boys in Albion. The V.F.W. home in Eaton Rapids also issued their own stamps for many years.

Starr Commonwealth began issuing its own Christmas seals in 1917, and continued that practice annually until they were discontinued in the 1970s. They were colorful reminders for people to consider donating to this revered area institution founded in 1913 by Floyd Starr (1883-1980), originator of the creed, "There is No Such Thing as a Bad Boy."

One very patriotic-themed set-of-10 Starr Christmas Seals was issued during World War II to honor some of Starr's boys who had entered military service. These stamps measure approximately 1 inches in size, and contain a red background. The top text reads, "Christmas Greetings From" followed by the signature and image drawing of a Starr 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."

From our Historical Notebook this week we present these 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; Steward Morse, seaman 2nd class; and Ridley A. Warren aviation cadet.

Although these men weren't originally from Albion, their schooling at Starr Commonwealth in Albion and their service to their country was immortalized by these commemorative stamps. Let's take the time to remember our servicemen this Christmas season.

Starr Commonwealth Christmas Seals of 1917


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