Holiday Theme Cachets

By John Young (USCS #L-8219)

During the early 1930s, cover collectors began requesting holiday cancels from the Navy Mail Clerks. They would insert specific wording between the killer bars denoting specific holidays i.e., CHRISTMAS, THANKSGIVING & NAVY DAY, etc.

As more and more persons became interested in collecting naval covers, others got interested the business of producing cachets to dress up the left side of the envelope. One of the first cachets commemorated 1930 Navy Day. By 1932, there were nine sponsored cachets for Navy Day. Two years later there were 72 different cachets for Navy Day- 12 sponsored by USCS chapters, 28 sponsored by individual USCS members.

As the hobby expanded, so did the holiday theme of the cachets. These are some of the holidays that you might want to collect. Some are major holidays; while others are a day that the sponsor thought the collector might have an interest.

New Years Day
Usually celebrated on the night between December 31st & January 1st where people wish one another, a happy and prosperous coming year.


Lincoln’s Birthday (February 12th)
Abraham Lincoln, the16th President of the United States.


Valentine’s Day (February 14th)
A day (named after an early Christian martyr) where Americans give presents, usually candy and flowers, to the one they love.


Washington’s Birthday (February 22nd)
The birthday George Washington, of a “Hero of the American Revolutionary War” & the first President of the United States.


Presidents Day (3rd Monday in February)
During 1970s, Federal legislation combined Lincoln’s & Washington’s Birthday.


St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th)
A day celebrated by Irish- Americans to honor the patron saint of Ireland. Patrick brought Christianity to the pagan nation, using the shamrock to explain his religious belief. He died on March 17th in A.D. 461. It was first celebrated in Boston, MA in 1737.


April Fools Day (April 1st)
Not a holiday, but a notable day celebrated in many countries, marked by hoaxes and other practical jokes aimed to embarrass the gullible. It stemmed from the change of the Julian to the Gregorian calendars.


Army Day (April 6th)
First celebrated on May 1, 1928, the date was chosen in hopes to dampening the communists’ celebration of “Workers Day.” In 1929, the day was changed to April 6th, the anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War One. Observed nationally until 1949.


Easter (falls on spring Sunday that varies from year to year)
Celebrating the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.


Armed Forces Day
Observed annually (since 1950) on a day honoring the members of the Armed Forces of the United States.


Dewey Day (May 1st)
Admiral George Dewey, hero of the Battle of Manila Bay and first four-star admiral with the title “Admiral of the Navy”.


Mother’s Day (2nd Sunday in May)
First observed in Philadelphia (1907) when children honored their mothers with cards, gifts and flowers. President Wilson’s proclamation (1914) made Mothers Day, a national observance to be held each year.


Memorial Day (May 30th)
Originated in the aftermath of the Civil War, it has become a day which on the dead of all wars, are remembered in special programs held in cemeteries, churches and other public meeting places.


Father’s Day (3rd Sunday in June)
First observed in Spokane, WA (1909), where Mrs. Sonora Dodd thought to honor her father, while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon. President Johnson’s proclamation (1966) made Fathers Day, a national observance to be held each year.


Flag Day (June 14th)
Observed in the United States to commemorate (1777) the adoption of the Stars & Stripes by the Continental Congress.


Independence Day (July 4th)
The nation’s birthday was created with the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.


Coast Guard Day (August 4th)
Anniversary date of the establishment of a system of cutters founded by Alexander Hamilton for the protection of the coast of the United States (1790). The cutters later became the Revenue-Marine or the Revenue Cutter Service, and this service was merged with the U.S. Lifesaving Service to become the Coast Guard in January 1915.


Labor Day
A legal holiday (since 1894) celebrated on the first Monday in September in all states of the United States in honor of the working class. The day was initiated in 1882 by the Knights of Labor, who held a large parade in New York City. Two years later, the Knights held the parade on the first Monday in September and passed a resolution to hold all future parades on that day. In 1887, legislation was passed in Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey & New York making it a holiday.


Columbus Day (October 12th)
It was first celebrated in New York City (1792) by the Society of St. Tammany or Columbian Order, which became widely known as “Tammany Hall.” October 12th was the day that Columbus first sighted the new world on his first voyage.


Navy’s Birthday (October 13th)
CNO Admiral Zumwvyalt (1972) established the Navy’s birthday, tracing the date when Continental Congress established a Navy on October 13, 1775.


Navy Day (October 27th)
America honored the United States Navy on Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday because he was considered the “Father of the Modern Steel Navy.” Observed annually from 1922 through 1949.


Halloween (October 31st)
The evening before All Saints Day or All Hallows Day, where American children dress up in funny or scary costumes, go “trick or treating”- knocking on doors in their neighborhood. Neighbors are expected to respond by giving small gifts- usually candy or money.


Marine Corps Birthday (November 10th)
On this day the Continental Congress (1775) authorized a “corps of marines” to serve aboard armed vessels during the war. They were disbanded along with the Army & Navy.


Armistice Day (November 11th)
Established in 1926 (President Coolidge) to display the flag on official buildings commemorating the armistice ending the Great War (World War I). In 1938, FDR signed legislation making a legal holiday in the District of Columbia.


Veterans Day (November 11th)
Established in 1954 (President Eisenhower) to honor all veterans (living & dead) of the Armed Forces of the United States that served during that last five major wars from the Civil War through the Korean Conflict.


Thanksgiving (4th Thursday in November)
A holiday that dates back to 1621, where the Puritans celebrated their first year in the Massachusetts Colony


Christmas (December 25th)
A Christian holiday celebrating the birth of the Christ Child. It should be noted that “Xmas”- the tradition began in the early Christian church. In Greek, X is the first letter of Christ’s name- it was frequently used as a holy symbol.

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USS Tutuila (PR-4)
Cover by
Steve Shay (#L-10821)
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