We have put together a press release that clubs may edit and use to promote their event. It includes background details about the Owney story that should be of interest to all. A downloadable Word version is above, and a text version is here:
For Immediate Release
City, ST ZIP
Celebrate Owney’s Story with the ____ Stamp Club
The _Name_ Stamp Club of _City/Town_ invites you to learn about Owney, the Railway Mail Service dog and stamp collecting at the _location_ on _date_. Club members will be on hand to introduce one and all to the hobby of philately. The public is also welcome to bring their stamps, envelopes and related items for a free informal appraisal of their holdings as part of the “What’s in Your Attic” program originated by the American Philatelic Society.
Back in 1888 a small mixed breed stray mutt walked into the Albany, NY post office and made its home on a stack of bags destined for the mail trains. The dog became a “regular” and was eventually adopted by the Railway Mail Service employees there. Owney thus became one of the luckiest dogs in the world, for no one could have imagined what was in store for him.
In those days moving the mail was fastest by train. Small and large train lines were contracted to carry that mail to depots across the country. Sorting and bagging were also done on custom-built cars to expedite mail handling. It was these specially trained mail clerks who became Owney’s companions and mentors for the rest of his life.
Owney’s story spread from far and wide as the dog traveled from place to place over tens of thousands of miles. He became a celebrity nearly everywhere he visited and eventually someone came up with the idea to create a dog tag to commemorate his stay inscribed with the date and town’s name. The idea caught on. So many tags were given the dog that a specially designed harness was made to display them all and distribute their weight more evenly around his body. By the time Owney died in 1897, his tag collection had grown to well over 1000!
Details of Owney’s story can be found on a web site run by the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum at http://www.postalmuseum.si.edu/owney/. His body was preserved and is on displayed at the museum in Washington, DC. Owney also went overseas as a post office ambassador, traveling around the world in 132 days.
The U.S. Postal Service is issuing a new stamp on July 27, 2011 to honor Owney’s legacy and the postal employees who cared for him. A special cancel and envelope will be available as souvenirs of the _Name_ Stamp Club’s event.
Fort more information, please use the contact information above.