The Lyco Lowdown: An Insider's View of Life at Lycoming

Stamping Out Stress

Posted by Hunter Swinehart on Dec 2, 2016 1:30:00 PM
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I’m an avid reader -- I love books. Reading is something that helps me to relax. Funny...getting lost in the story of someone else is an uncanny way of forgetting your own life.

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In addition to reading books, I enjoy finding and collecting old books. The sort with old bindings, rough pages, and proof of previous ownership. Sometimes they have a name written in them, a person with whom the book spent a previous portion of its life. Other times one may find notes in the margins, or, my personal favorite, keepsakes that were tucked away and long forgotten.

Just the other day, I was perusing through some of my old books and came upon an intriguing find. Among some four leaf clovers pressed between the pages, I found what I first believed to be an old postage stamp. In fact, it was not a stamp at all.

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As shown in the picture, this ‘not-stamp’ is dated 1908, and is adorned with holly leaves and the phrase Merry Christmas. In addition, it also reads National American Red Cross. Turns out, this curious finding is a Christmas Seal. Its purpose? Raising funds to benefit those with tuberculosis. Each seal was sold for 1 cent, with the intention of being placed on a letter beside a postage stamp to express well wishes for those fighting tuberculosis.  

The Christmas seals were started in America in 1907 by Emily Bissel. Bissel was an American social worker and activist; she started the seals as a means to raise money for a local sanitarium. 

For more information about Christmas seals and how they were started you can go to the following sites:

Clearly, I did some investigation into my little finding. Curiosity got the best of me. The path I went on from discovery to understanding was a nice break in my week of going to class, writing papers, studying for exams, etc. It was a much needed moment of unwinding. 

Ever hear the phrase “curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back?” My interesting discovery and newly acquired fun fact has satisfied my inner Sherlock. I got lost for a little while and found myself less stressed than I was prior to my investigation.

Still dealing with stress? Read my post about how Lycoming College helps me deal with issues like stress and anxiety: http://blog.lycoming.edu/anxiety-is-valid

Topics: Student Life