Our cover story in The Canadian Philatelist for November December is about Sir Frederick Banting, one of the discoverers of insulin for the treatment of diabetes. He was touted as the fourth greatest Canadian in a CBC poll, and the first scientist to be so honoured. The discovery of insulin to treat diabetes has affected the lives of millions, and is considered one of the most significant medical discoveries made in Canada.
Michael Peach will take us on a voyage of discovery of Banting’s life. His service in World War I significantly shaped his career, and led him to his significant achievement that in turn resulted in a Nobel Prize for medicine. Peach details Banting’s life in relation to the many stamps that have commemorated his medical advances. In the true spirit of a scientist of his day, Banting sold the patent rights for insulin for one dollar to the University of Toronto so that it would be generally available.
It’s a remarkable story, made more intriguing by the fact that there was little support for scientific or medical research in the 1920s when the discoveries were made. It’s significant that Banting was eventually knighted by King George V for his contributions to medical research.
If that isn’t enough, TCP will go on to explore achievements in the philatelic world, which include a letter to the family of Anne Frank, the famous Jew who perished in Hitler’s concentration camps. The letter was found and sold recently at auction. Anne Frank, of course, chronicled her life in hiding from the Nazis until her family was betrayed.
Another important new philatelic discovery concerns a letter from Robert Louis Stevenson to Henry James. The find provides an insight into the literary life of the late 1800s, and Robert Odenweller will take us on that voyage. While documenting an important time in the life of an author in Samoa, the story also reverberates through the philatelic world with some discoveries about the stamps and cancellations on the envelope.
It’s a story not to be missed in the November December edition of The Canadian Philatelist, published by The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada.