Charles City, Iowa has had a disproportionately large impact on United States history than its population of fewer than eight thousand might suggest. Notable people from this small city range from federal judges to star athletes to famous novelists and beyond. But when the Charles City Chamber of Commerce and Community Development arranged for a pictorial postmark on May 6th, 2016 for their "ZIP Code Day", I decided to focus on two specific people from the town.
Carrie Chapman Catt (1859 - 1947) spent her childhood in Charles City. She was a prominent advocate of women's rights and women's suffrage, founded the League of Women Voters, and was instrumental in the incorporation of American women into the body politic in the 20th century. She has long been a personal hero of mine.
Charles Walter Hart (1872–1937) was born in Charles City, and would later co-found the Hart-Parr Gasoline Engine Company with Charles H. Parr. Hart-Parr's line of farm equipment was based on Hart's and Parr's joint university thesis that demonstrated how three separate internal combustion engines could operate together to assist in heavy farmwork. Hart is credited with coining the word "tractor", a word now so ubiquitous that it is easy to forget that it had an originator.
The cover features two vintage photographs in the lower corners: one of a Hart-Parr tractor and the other of Carrie Chapman Catt. Four stamps are arranged to form a rectangle in the north position:
It is postmarked — rather well, I must say — with the Charles City pictorial postmark.