Postal Routes to the Dutch Possessions in West Africa, West Indies and Suriname 1652 to 1919: A Guide to Dutch Maritime Mail

By Sven Påhlman FRPSL

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The intention with this book is to describe the development of the postal routes to Dutch West Africa, Dutch West Indies and Suriname from the time of the earliest currently known letter (1652) until World War I, to describe mail-carrying shipping lines, to document handstamps used to mark this mail and to highlight whether a route is commonly or rarely used.
To avoid duplication of data (contents of issued postal circulars, listings of ships, ship’s schedules etc.) that can be found in published handbooks, these sources are referred to through-out the text to guide those who would like to go deeper into a subject. Many conclusions are based on the author’s own records of individual objects. Frequencies of letters and different types of route handstamps used to mark and direct mail to a specific route and carrier are documented.
The putative and factual existence of sub-types of route markings have been investigated and whether or not the handstamps of these sub-type markings actually came in use is another focus in the book. These markings are also listed separately in a ‘Postmark Catalogue’ (Chapter 6). In addition, a ‘key’ of how to work out the route a specific letter has been transported is provided, i.e. a “guide' to the notations and markings that can be expected to be found on mail forwarded by a specific route or shipping line (Chapter 7).
Finally, the author's ambition has been to support the text with scans of important letters and other postal items sent to or from the Dutch colonies in the Western hemisphere.

Sven Pahlman, born in 1950, has lived most of his life in Sweden, but his graduate studies and the subsequent academic career, brought him to many countries, including a post doc in London and longer and shorter stays in the US. He became a professor in Molecular Medicine in 1995 and retired in March 2020. His research interests during the last 40+ years were in the field of cancer, specifically neuroblastoma biology and the diagnosis and prognosis of this childhood tumour. During the last 20 years. Sven addressed questions related to the effects of oxygen shortage on tumour and tumour stem cell behaviour.
Sven started collecting stamps in parallel as he learned to walk. With his father and an elder brother as keen stamp collectors; the track was paved.... However, some 40 years ago. he gradually lost interest in stamps as a consequence of a newly developed awareness of the beauty of modem art and other collectables, interests that have persisted. After Sven had sold an old map in London, two blocks away from the stamp shops at the Strand, he felt rich and went to one of these shops and bought the postcard shown in Fig. 5.5 1. This card shifted his philatelic focus to postal history and the card became the starting point for his two collections of postal routes to the Dutch West and East Indies, respectively. He has exhibited both collections internationally and they arc currently at the international gold level.
When Sven bought the 12.5 cents postcard described above, it was the route mark that attracted him, not that the postcard itself is difficult to find correctly used, a fact lie was totally unaware of at that time. The successful search for more postal items with similar route marks required knowledge to explain how and why a given handstamp was used to mark a letter, questions which first brought him to the library at the Postal Museum in Stockholm and later to the book shop to build his own library. He did not find answers to all his questions in available books, some answers he figured out himself, that is one reason why he decided to write the book you hold in your hands.

Chapter 1 Introduction - The Dutch Seaborne Empire
Chapter 2 Dutch Possessions in the West - an Overview
Chapter 3 Dutch West Africa
Chapter 4 Curaçao and the Dutch Caribbean Islands
Chapter 5 Suriname and the Dutch Guiana River Valleys of the ’Wild Coast’
Chapter 6 Postmark Catalogue
Chapter 7 A ’key’ to the specific identification of mail-carrying shipping lines serving Dutch West Africa, Dutch West Indies and Suriname by the analysis of postal notations and markings
Appendix A.1. Postages of mail to the Netherlands and foreign destinations after joining GPU/UPU up to 1920
Appendix A.2. Gazetteer: Past and present geographical names
Appendix A.3. Index of correspondence to/from foreign destinations
Appendix A.4. Mail-carrying ship-index
General Index

Sample pages (click one to enlarge)