This 64-page booklet, “A Stamp Collector’s Souvenir,” contained in the records of the Committee on Post Office and Post Roads, reflected the increasing popularity of a new hobby known as philately, or stamp collecting. The Post Office Department issued its first pre-paid postage stamp in 1847, and soon after, enthusiasts began collecting stamps. The first commemorative stamp debuted in 1893 to mark the World’s Columbian Exposition. The booklet’s publisher, Charles Haviland Mekeel of St. Louis, Missouri, included all the key points a new stamp collector might need to know, such as a history of philately and how to start a collection. Mekeel was a prominent stamp collector and dealer, and publisher of the Philatelic Journal of America.
Mekeel’s booklet ended up in the committee’s records from the 60th Congress (1907–1909). During that Congress, the committee considered and recommended passage of a joint resolution for “a special Lincoln postage stamp” to mark the centennial of the birth of the former President. The annual report of the Post Office Department for 1909 noted that it profited “very largely” from the sale of commemorative stamps because collectors purchased, but did not redeem, the postage. The report also noted the rising enthusiasm for philately, evidenced by orders for commemorative stamps such as the Lincoln stamp, which Congress approved on January 22, 1909.