This book is in a sense the culmination of a project begun six decades ago in
Argentina. Or as a colleague put it, “a sixty-year-old hobby gone pedantic.”
I grew up in Argentina during the Perón years as a dual U.S.-Argentine citi-
zen. Like others, in early boyhood I collected stamps, and remember being
fascinated by the changes from the older and rather undistinguished pre-
Perón stamps to the larger, more colorful, and far more interesting ones of
the 1945–1955 period. When I entered high school my interest in philately
diminished as I discovered rugby, swimming, fishing, amateur radio, and
girls. But I never got rid of my stamp collection, and it accompanied me
to the United States as I began college (and evaded being drafted into the
Argentine army).
My philatelic interests remained dormant until I began graduate school
at American University’s School of International Service, where as some-
thing of a lark, and with the encouragement of my friend and mentor the
late John Finan, I wrote a term paper titled “Argentine Politics through Its
Postage Stamps” (it was never published). The technology was primitive: the
actual stamps were mounted on paper with brief captions below. In the last
semester of my M.A. program the paper was expanded, and more serious
research at the Library of Congress and the Columbus Library of the Organi-
zation of American States began. The second paper used more sophisticated
technology (photocopies of stamps) and some analytical tools picked up in
graduate seminars.1 I began to make connections between the stamps and
historical and sociopolitical events in Latin America. In some cases, such as
the conflict situations described in chapter 4 of this book, it was evident that
the stamps themselves were potential contributors to international tension.
Further, contrary to what I had been taught in Argentina, the rest of the
world did not necessarily agree that the Malvinas Islands and a big piece of
Previous Page Next Page