Did You Know? (The Mail Must Go Through, Happy Ending)

That the intended recipient of these FDR memorial stamps was Sarah Lawrence, an avid philatelist and regular customer of Mr. Grimsland. 

Henry Grimsland became interested in First Day Covers during the depression when his firm, The Artcraft Engraving Co., needed additional work. As a topnotch steel and copper plate engraver, Grimsland was dissatisfied with the current cachets and felt that a steel engraving, printed on a high quality envelope, would be of interest to philatelists. He produced his first cachet for the Peace Commemorative stamp issued at Newburgh, N. Y., April 19, 1933 and made one or more cachets for each United States stamp produced until the American Chemical Society stamp issued in New York City, Sept. 4, 1951.  He was born in Risor, Norway on January 16, 1889 and died in Chicago, Illinois on January l3, 1957, just three days short of his 68th birthday.

I received this email a short time ago from Sylvia DeBoever, niece of Sarah Lawrence:

Dear Ms. Lefavour: I am Sylvia DeBoever of Grosse Pointe Woods, MI who is the niece of S.E. (Sarah) Lawrence now of the “Grimsland” cover fame!  I have contacted both the Gloucester News writer (Francis Quinn), as well as the USPS representative in Boston (Mr. Tarmey) with the evidence of death of my aunt Sarah E. Lawrence (2001) in order to obtain receipt of the long lost mail that ended up in England 66 years ago. Mr Grimsland was well known to us as the stamp dealer (professional philatelist) of whom my aunt was a regular customer.  I have not yet contacted Mr. O’Keefe who presumably holds the item in question.  I assume he will get contacted by Mr. Tarmey of the USPS.  We (my husband and I) were thrilled to get this bit of info as we are active philatelists ourselves, and had acted in the 1990’s as agent for my aunt to sell her stamp and cover collections for her then needed cash.  I’m sure we will be getting further information in days ahead. 

Yours truly, Sylvia A. De Boever

I responsed to her:

Hi Sylvia, Nice to make your acquaintance.  It must have been even more surprising to you to learn of its existence than it was for us to see it, after it floated around who knows where for almost 66 years.  At this point, I believe Mr. Tarmey at the USPS is in possession of the envelope and who you should be in contact with.  It makes for a very nice end to the story to know that Mrs. Lawrence has family that are also philatelists, and that you will now have in your collection something your aunt obviously wanted to have in her’s but never received.  I wonder if she wondered what ever happened to them.  Just out of curiosity, how did you learn about it?  Do you read Good Morning Gloucester?  Thanks for contacting and best wishes, Ellen

Nice ending to a very fascinating story – thanks to Good Morning Gloucester spreading the word.  I’m just sorry that Tom O’Keefe won’t have the stamps and envelope for the Annisquam Historical Society.

E.J. Lefavour


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