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Why local delivery stamps?
Several factors might have pushed the change in the local delivery system:
- If there had been free local delivery under the Russians, the Austrians had no incentive to pay for it during the occupation.
- Warsaw, Sosnowiec and Zawiercie had used local delivery stamps in 1915 -16, a couple of years earlier.
- Petriuk says that Franczak had seen the Sosnowiec and Zawiercie ventures and was "encouraged" by Abramsohn to put a similar system in place.
- Read more on these local posts.
- Abramsohn, being a stamp dealer and entrepreneur, had an incentive to push for stamps. Given the philatelic nature of the project, it's clear that he was a major force behind the local delivery system.
- Based on the Mikulski [1968a] article, it seems likely that the only real changes were:
- substituting stamps for cash, and
- providing for ("incentivizing" in management-speak) the return of empty envelopes for philatelic redistribution.
It has been suggested that Przedbórz, being more than half Jewish, was a town in which a larger proportion of the population received mail than towns which were "less Jewish", and supposedly less literate. This might just be dangerous stereotyping, not anything more.
On the other hand, this was a philatelic enterprise, and was more likely to succeed in a town with lots of mail than in a town with less mail. So perhaps the stereotype may have a grain of relevance. (See comments at the bottom of this page.)
The mostly likely reason this occurred in Przedbórz is that Abramsohn lived there, and was well-connected.
Thanks to prof. dr hab. Julian Auleytner for a simulating discussion at ChicagoPex 2007. His point was that in the early 1900's, working-class and peasant Poles had a low literacy rate and were unlikely to receive frequent mail. For many, a court summons or order would be the most common mail, and that would often be delivered by court messenger, not by the postal service.
Casual conversation with folks at ChicagoPex uncovered some who agreed, and others who disagreed, that Polish literacy rates were low.
One person, whose name I didn't get, but who was, I believe, a member of the Czechoslovak Philatelic Society, had the following argument: It doesn't matter what the literacy rates were, the Russians were not going to provide free local delivery to the Poles.
A number of other ChicagoPex 2007 attendees contributed many of the ideas presented above. Unfortunately, I didn't record their names.
Prof. Auleytner is NOT responsible for any errors above, and I publicly apologize to him if I misinterpreted or misstated his remarks.
© 2007-2015 Sam Ginsburg
Last modified 7 Oct. 2015