Vladimir “Ze’ev” Jabotinsky, 1880 – 1940

October 31, 1930: Tonight approximately eight thousand “Jews gathered in Tel Aviv to celebrate the fiftieth birthday of Vladimir Jabotinsky”   and to protest against the White Paper on the British Policy in Palestine.  (Mitch Levin)

Jabotinsky was a Russian Jewish Revisionist Zionist leader, author, poet, orator, soldier and founder of the Jewish Self-Defense Organization in Odessa. With Joseph Trumpeldor, he co-founded the Jewish Legion of the British army in World War I. Later he established several militant Jewish organizations in Palestine, including Beitar, HaTzohar and the Irgun.

Prior to the Kishinev pogrom of 1903, Jabotinsky joined the Zionist movement, where he soon became known as a powerful speaker and an influential leader.  With more pogroms looming on the horizon, he established the Jewish Self-Defense Organization, a Jewish militant group, to safeguard Jewish communities throughout Russia. He became the source of great controversy in the Russian Jewish community as a result of these actions.

Around this time, he began learning modern Hebrew, and took a Hebrew name: Vladimir became Ze’ev (“wolf”). During the pogroms, he organized self-defense units in Jewish communities across Russia and fought for the civil rights of the Jewish population as a whole. His slogan was, “Better to have a gun and not need it than to need it and not have it!” Another slogan was, “Jewish youth, learn to shoot!”

In 1903, he was elected as a Russian delegate to the Sixth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. After Theodore Herzl’s death in 1904, he became the leader of the right-wing Zionists. That year he moved to Saint Petersburg and became one of the co-editors for the Russophone magazine Yevreiskaya Zhyzn (Jewish Life), which after 1907 became the official publishing body of the Zionist movement in Russia. In the pages of the newspaper, Jabotinsky wrote fierce polemics against supporters of assimilation and the Bund.  (from Wikipedia)

Israel Post has issued two stamps honoring Jabotinsky.  Pictured here is a sheet of the most recent one, issued in 1990, Scott No. 1041:




Agustin Lara, 1897 – 1970

October 30, 1897 – Birthdate of Agustín Lara, Mexican singer-songwriter and actor.

Lara is recognized as one of the most popular songwriters of his era. His work was widely appreciated not only in Mexico but also in Central and South America, the Caribbean and Spain. After his death, he has also been recognized in the United States, Italy and Japan.

Notable performers of his work include Pedro Vargas who was a friend, Pedro Infante, Javier Solis, Julio Iglesias, Manuel Mijares, Vicente Fernandez, Luis Miguel, Perez Prado, and Natalia Lafourcade among others.

Outside the Spanish speaking world, his most famous songs are certainly “Granada” and “Solamente Una Vez (You Belong To My Heart)“, which have both been recorded by numerous international singers, among whom Caruso, Mario Lanza, Luciano Pavarotti, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, and many others.

In 1971, Correos de Mexico, the postal authority of Mexico, issued a stamp honoring Lara:


Algerian Jewry and French citizenship

October 24, 1870: In Algiers under the leadership of Adolphe Cremieux, France granted French citizenship to all Algerian Jews. Prior to this date, citizenship was conferred on individual Jews based on their application. Algeria had been taken over by the French and this move was part of the French program of colonization. Approximately 50,000 Jews gained French citizenship in this way.  (Wikipedia)

French stamps were used for conveyance of mail from Algiers beginning in 1849.  In 1924, the French post office issued stamps with the name of the colony, “Algerie” overprinted on them.

Here is an example of a 10-centime Ceres head stamp postmarked in Algiers in 1870, used probably around the same time that Cremieux effected the momentous French citizenship administrative action:


And, here is one of the first overprinted stamps of 1924:


I Love Lucy – 65th anniversary

October 15, 1951 – The first episode of I Love Lucy, an American television sitcom starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley, airs on the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).

I Love Lucy was the most watched show in the United States in four of its six seasons, and was the first to end its run at the top of the Nielsen ratings (an accomplishment later matched only by The Andy Griffith Show in 1968 and Seinfeld in 1998). The show is still syndicated in dozens of languages across the world and remains popular with an American audience of 40 million each year.

Originally set in an apartment building in New York City, I Love Lucy centers on Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) and her singer/bandleader husband Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz), along with their best friends and landlords Fred Mertz (William Frawley) and Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance). During the second season, Lucy and Ricky have a son named Ricky Ricardo, Jr. (“Little Ricky”), whose birth was timed to coincide with Ball’s real-life delivery of her son Desi Arnaz Jr.

Lucy is naïve and ambitious, with an undeserved zeal for stardom and a knack for getting herself and her husband into trouble whenever Lucy yearns to make it in show business. The Ricardos’ best friends, Fred and Ethel, are former vaudevillians and this only strengthens Lucy’s resolve to prove herself as a performer. Unfortunately, she has few marketable performance skills. She does not seem to be able to carry a tune or play anything other than off-key renditions of songs such as “Glow Worm” on the saxophone, and many of her performances devolve into disaster.

The show provided Ball ample opportunity to display her considerable skill at clowning and physical comedy. Character development was not a major focus of early sitcoms, so little was offered about her life before the show.  Lucy’s husband, Ricky Ricardo, is an up-and-coming Cuban American singer and bandleader with an excitable personality. His patience is frequently tested by his wife’s antics. When exasperated, he often reverts to speaking rapidly in Spanish. As with Lucy, not much is revealed about his past or family.

I Love Lucy aired Mondays from 9 to 9:30 PM ET on CBS during its entire first run. Unlike most television shows, which often rerun after a brief hiatus, I Love Lucy has never stopped airing on television from the date of its initial broadcast. As of June 2012, it airs on TV Land, Hallmark Channel and Me-TV networks, and scores of television stations in the U.S. and around the world.

The U.S. Postal Service has adored Lucille Ball and her television sitcom as much as her fans, having printed 3 separate issues commemorating them:  a 33-cent stamp in 1999, a 34-cent stamp in 2001 and a 44-cent stamp in 2009:






William Penn, 1644 – 1718

October 14, 1644: Birthdate of William Penn founder of Pennsylvania. The Quaker leader, formerly of London, England, founded a colony in America that adopted the Great Law, a humanitarian code which became the fundamental basis of Pennsylvania law and which guaranteed liberty of conscience. This liberal fundamental law made Pennsylvania an early home to many non-conformists including Jewish settlers. (Mitchell Levin)

William Penn is characterized by historians as a Real Estate Entrepreneur – one with inclusive values when it came to people of different religions and creeds.

Pictured here is a block of 4, 3-cent stamps (Scott No. 724) issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 1932 commemorating the 250th anniversary of Penn’s arrival on American soil:



The Treaty of Bern and the UPU

October 9, 1874 – The General Postal Union, now known as the Universal Postal Union is created as a result of the Treaty of Bern.

Named for the Swiss city of Bern, where it was signed, the treaty was the result of an international conference convened by the Swiss Government on September 15, 1874. It was attended by representatives from 22 nations. Plans for the conference had been drawn up by Heinrich von Stephan, a German postal official.

The General Postal Union was renamed the Universal Postal Union in 1878 due to its large membership.

The purpose of the treaty was to unify disparate postal services and regulations so that international mail could be exchanged freely. The signatories of the treaty were the German Empire, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Spain, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Empire, Serbia, the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, Switzerland, and the Ottoman Empire.

World Post Day is now observed on October 9th, recalling the date on which the Treaty was signed.

The Treaty of Bern was amended a number of times after its conclusion. On July 10, 1964, the UPU incorporated the treaty into a new Constitution of the Universal Postal Union, which is now the treaty that is ratified by states when they wish to join the UPU.

Many countries have issued stamps honoring the Universal Postal Union and many stamp collectors specialize in collecting the stamps of the various countries which have produced these.  Here are just a few examples:

New Hebrides (1949):



United States (1974):



Turkey (1970):



Iran (1950):



Israel (1974):



Latvia (1999):


Iasi (a/k/a Jassy), Romania

October 8, 1408: The city of Jassy (Iasi in Romanian) or Yas (Yiddish) is mentioned in business correspondence between Prince Alexander the Good (Alexandru cel Bun) and merchants from Lviv then a part of Poland. The Romanian city of Yas would become a center of Jewish settlement as well as the site of the largest massacre of Jews in Romania in World War II.  (Mitchell Levin)

According to the 1930 census, with a population of 34,662 (some 34% of the city’s population), Jews were the second largest ethnic group in Iași. There were over 127 synagogues.

During the war, while the full scale of the Holocaust remained generally unknown to the Allied powers, the Iași pogrom stood as one of the known examples of Axis brutality toward the Jews.

The pogrom lasted from June 29 to July 6, 1941, and over 13,266 people, or one third of the Jewish population, were massacred in the pogrom itself or in its aftermath, and many were deported.

Iași is the largest city in eastern Romania and the seat of Iasi County. Located in the historical region of Moldavia, Iași has traditionally been one of the leading centers of Romanian social, cultural, academic and artistic life. The city was the capital of the Principality of Moldavia from 1564 to 1859, then of the United Principalities from 1859 to 1862, and the capital of Romania from 1916 to 1918.

Known as The Cultural Capital of Romania, Iași is a symbol in Romanian history. The historian Nicolae Iorga said “There should be no Romanian who does not know of it”.  Still referred to as The Moldavian Capital, Iași is the main economic and business centre of the Moldavian region of Romania. (from Wikipedia)

Pictured here is a postcard dated October 2, 1900 showing Golia Street in Iasi (Jassy):


And, also here is a Romanian telegraph stamp from 1871, using the city’s Hungarian name “Jassy” cancelled with the date of December 1st: