On March 2022, the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library received a unique stamp collection from Ethan Srebnick, a City College student and the Public Relations & Marketing Chair of the Dominican Students Association (DSA) on campus. Ethan participated in an educational workshop conducted by CUNY DSI’ Chief Librarian Prof. Sarah Aponte, and Librarian Jhensen Ortiz for the Dominican Students Association. He presented the rich stamp collection after the seminar concluded.
Ethan’s father shared a Fort Independence Neighborhood Association listing placed by an old couple giving away a stamp collection that had postages from around the world. Ethan was compelled to take this collection because a while ago, his great grandmother had shared with him her collection of stamps. Ethan generously donated the section with the stamps from the Dominican Republic to the Dominican Library helping us to continue our vital work to preserve and educate visitors on Dominican history and culture.
About the Dominican Stamp Collection
The impressive stamp collection is representative of the Trujillo Dictatorship (1930-1961) in the Dominican Republic, including symbols and images of Dominican cultural history such as flags, famous monuments, coats of arms, key national figures, natural landmarks, and government institutions, to name a few. The collection is characterized by significant elements of Dominican state iconography and Trujillo’s cult personality that demonstrates the propaganda value of postage stamps. In addition, these stamps can serve as an excellent primary source for the symbolic messages that overtly or subtly promote nationalism that governments seek to convey to their citizens and the world.
The CUNY DSI Library is very fortunate to have our first stamp collection highlighting the historical and cultural value of the Dominican Republic during the oppressive Trujillo regime. Thanks again to Ethan Srebnick for donating this series of stamps to us. We look forward to sharing them with our patrons.
Jhensen Ortiz, Librarian