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Exhibition

Letters to Myself: The Calligraphic First Day Covers of Alan A. Blackman

Open through October 11, 2015

Opening Reception & Meet the Artist

Sunday, August 2, 2:00pm

Jewett Gallery, Lower Level, Main Library

In 1968, well-known San Francisco lettering artist & calligrapher Alan A. Blackman began sending hand-written envelopes as a surprise to his young son Stephen, across the bay in Berkeley. Blackman had been an avid stamp collector in childhood and remembered the excitement that a new postage stamp could create, and the pleasure of receiving his own personal mail. At the same time he addressed an envelope to his son he addressed a similar one to himself. As a part-time postal employee Blackman knew when and where to send for new U.S. postage stamps. Collectors call the newly issued stamps on envelopes "first day covers." Each new stamp bears the cancellation: FIRST DAY OF ISSUE and records the date and city of first sale. Alan's envelopes gradually became individually distinctive, the design of the address mirroring the design of the stamps. The envelopes have become a collection spanning almost 40 years, comprising some 200 envelopes, and bearing cancellations from the USA, Canada, Great Britain, and other countries overseas. It is Alan Blackman's personal collection which is on display in the Jewett Gallery at the Main Library through October 11.

This exhibition is presented by the Marjorie G. and Carl W. Stern Book Arts & Special Collections Center, home of the Richard Harrison Collection of Calligraphy and Lettering, and where other calligraphic works by Alan Blackman may be found. The center also houses the Robert Grabhorn Collection on the History of Printing and the Development of the Book, and the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit and Humor, as well as collections on Robert Frost, the Panama Canal, California Authors, the Little Maga/Zine Collection, and the George M. Fox Collection of Early Children's Books. The Center is located on the Sixth Floor of the Main


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