MARCH 8, 1956
NEW YORK. Wednesday—Hope springs eternal in those few citizens of the District of Columbia who are determined that someday they will have the right to vote, which was lost to the District's residents 82 years ago. And a short time ago one of the devoted workers for this cause sent me the following bit of information.
"Representative Harley O. Staggers, Democrat of West Virginia, filed a petition to take out of a House pigeonhole the Senate-passed Home Rule bill restoring an elected government to Washington. The pigeonhole is the House version of a Senate filibuster. Such petitions are rarely resorted to, since they require signatures of 218 Congressmen (a House majority), and the petition tends to undercut the powerful committee chairman.
"This is the third time in six years that the House District of Columbia Committee has pigeonholed a home rule bill passed by the Senate. Once before a Washington home rule petition failed by only 10 signatures of the required 218.
"President Eisenhower and the platforms of both political parties have endorsed the Home Rule bill for Washington. In addition to restoring democratic self-government to the voteless capital city, home rule would relieve the U.S. Congress of countless municipal law-making chores."
Of course, this is only a part of what the citizens of Washington, D.C., would like to have. Now they are not able to elect people to Congress or to take part in Presidential elections.
This bill is, of course, only local legislation. And it may seem trivial in the light of so much that needs to be done affecting the world. But the citizens of Washington have waited a long time and it does seem something should be done to relieve the feeling of frustration among those who have worked so long for home rule and have achieved so little.
Because of my husband's long interest in postage stamps, I often am sent interesting bits of philatelic information. The other day a Lorne William Bentham sent me a little story about an incident in which my husband had a hand.
Mr. Bentham told the story in a column for the Stamp Collectors' Fortnightly, a British publication with offices in London. He gives George B. Sloane as authority.
In 1940, the U.S. Post Office Department considered issuing a sheet of souvenir stamps to recognize the British centennial of the use of postage stamps. James A. Farley, who was postmaster general at the time, has a copy of the proposed British souvenir sheet.
There was opposition to this issue, however, because the U.S. centennial of the use of stamps was not until 1947. Some felt that we should withhold a special issue until that date.
The latter idea seems to have won out. So a souvenir sheet, which has reproductions of the five and ten cent stamp designs of 1947, was issued.
But some complications arose and my husband seems to have disapproved of some of the ideas presented to him on it. So the whole idea for the 1940 issue was abandoned.