Over the past month I’ve been working with records in the Anne Dagg fonds for an upcoming project. Although Dagg has published extensively about topics ranging from Canadian wildlife and camels to gender discrimination in academia and the prevalence of anthropomorphizing in science research reporting, she is best known for her ground breaking field research of the giraffe.
In 1956, at the age of 23, Dagg travelled alone to South Africa to observe giraffe in the wild – a first of its kind study. As part of her research, which led to the publication of The giraffe : its biology, behavior, and ecology (1976), she wrote letters to government officials regarding the distribution of giraffe populations, as well as biologists and conservation workers based in various African countries.
The responses she received were often accompanied by envelopes with visually striking postage stamps. Each one offers a unique look at the culturally significant symbols used by the origin countries to identify themselves at home and abroad and, in some cases, point to the influence or absence of colonial rule at the time the letters were sent. They also represent the inspiration for this blog post or, more to the point, all the stamps I loved this month!
Tanganyika (now Tanzania)