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Census of New Haven Conn., 5c Postmaster's Provisional (Scott 8XU1-8XU4)

The New Haven provisional envelopes were issued in 1845 and 1846 by Postmaster Edward A. Mitchell (1815-1876). Mitchell received his postmaster’s appointment from President John Tyler on September 12, 1844. This followed Tyler’s decision not to run for election and, instead, to endorse James K. Polk, the Democratic Party candidate and a strong advocate for Tyler’s cause of Texas annexation. Mitchell took over as New Haven’s postmaster on October 24 and served four years under the Polk administration. He was replaced on July 2, 1849, by John B. Robertson, a Whig Party follower appointed by President Zachary Taylor.

The origin of the device used to make the New Haven provisional stamped impressions has been well documented in a book published in 1932 by Carroll Alton Means (The New Haven Provisional Envelope). The handheld brass die still exists and is located at the Whitney Library in the New Haven Museum (previously known as the New Haven Colony Historical Society). Also located at the library is a drawing of the New Haven provisional design, which is unsigned, but was donated by the foster son of Augustus E. Lines, a prominent engraver and jeweler in New Haven during the years Postmaster Mitchell issued his provisional envelopes.
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