Robert O’Dell III on Postal Cancellations: Machinery and Message

At Riverdale Historical Society, Tuesday, September 27, 2022, at 6:30 pm.


Announcements in the History of Canadian Science and Technology.

First posted Friday, September 16, 2022 / Yom rishon, 20 Elul, 5782.

By David Orenstein, Emeritus, Danforth CTI, Toronto


You might remember Robert O’Dell’s fascinating talk on postal cancellations from our Friday-Saturday, November 5-6, 2021, CSTHA online Conference,Science, Technology, and History in Times of Crisis | Science, technologie et histoire en temps de crise”

It was entitled “Slogans in Your Mailbox: Canadian-American Postal Propaganda, Transnational Capitalism, and Technological Adaptation during Times of Crisis, 1898-1919”

One of Robert’s examples was for the “Broadview YMCA”, where Broadview Avenue is the major north/south thoroughfare in our east end Toronto neighbourhood of Riverdale:

“Broadview / Boys’ Fall Fair / Sept.,19-21 / Toronto / Y.M.C.A.”. It’s from 1913, I believe.

I thought that he would be a perfect fit for the Speakers’ Series of our local Riverdale Historical Society (RHS). After Robert and the rest of the RHS Board agreed, we set the date for Tuesday, September 27, 2022, at 6:30 pm. A bit more than a week from now.

It will be on Zoom, as have all our meetings in 2020, 2021, 2022. From this post’s “Links” section, go the 4th RHS link to join the RHS mailing list to receive the Zoom link.

We don’t plan to be in-person until our April 2023 meeting, appropriately planned to be about historic 19th century baking recipes, with staff from Toronto’s Historic Fort York, established in 1793.

Our next talk will be on Tuesday, October 25, 2022, with Ryerson University’s Ross Fair on 19th century Ontario Agricultural Societies:

“ ‘Toronto was all bustle and excitement’: The 1852 Agricultural Exhibition and the

Agricultural Association of Upper Canada”.

But that’s another story!



Riverdale Historical Society Links:

  1. Riverdale Historical Society.

  1. RHS Notice of Robert’s Talk.

  1. Robert’s Extended Biography from RHS.

  1. RHS Sign-up to get on mailing list for Zoom link.


Other Links:

 CSTHA Conference / AHSTC Colloque, 2021 Programme.

St. Matthew’s Lawn Bowling Club on Broadview Avenue, Toronto, where RHS In-Person Meetings are held.

Fort York.

Agricultural Association of Upper Canada Agricultural Exhibition Ticket.



Richard Jarrell (2016) Educating the Neglected Majority: The Struggle for Agricultural and Technical Education in Nineteenth-Century Ontario and Quebec.

McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal and Kingston, xiii + 418 pp., 38 pp. Notes, 29 pp. Biblio., 44 pp. Index.

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