Journées médicales Mai 1938


Notes on the Week of the French Medical Faculty of Medicine in 1938 through the study of nearly 100 philatelic items.

The event :


President Emile Edde inaugurated the « Medical Week » held at the French Faculty of Medecine in Beirut on May 8, 1938. Those present at the proceedings included the French High commisioner, the Commisioner of Troops of the Levant, the President of both French and American Faculties of Medicine and a French representative from the university of Lyon (France).




Preparing the event :

As part of the preparation of these « medical days » and in order to be more effective, the organizing committee held that mail will be a good complément to media. They will appeal to different printers to issue letters with heading giving the place and date of the event .



We identified 3 differents printers : -Imprimerie Khalifeh

                                                                 -Imprimerie Jika

                                                                 -Imprimerie MH

If all headings where the same, the police used by each house printer was unique.


These covers can be considered as a communication medium. The mailing will help disseminate information across borders .We do not have figures on the paper mailing or the date on which the letters began to circulate but it is usual to provide an outstanding setting 4 to 6 weeks before the meeting.


Cover addressed to Dr Heligman Rogovine in Palestine one month before the event ( 07/04/1938)

On the day of the event and to commemorate it, Airmail stamps depicting the French Medical Faculty were issued. This shows the great work of anticipation achieved by the organizing committee


Face value:2p,3p,5p,10p
Issued on:9/05/1938
Format:Stamp,Air Mail
Topic: Medical Faculty
Design:PH. Mourani, del
Printer:Hélio Vaugirard

Same view as on stamp but on earlier postcard if we refer to the palm trees in the yard (Edition du Levant) 7


Registered cover including the President EDDE stamp.  All stamps are canceled by the special commemorative cancel.

These commemorative stamps were issued at 30.000 unit each. Imperforated stamps exist and 300 sets of each stamp were released .

In addition to the postal commemorative cancel, the Faculty issued her own rubber cancel seen here on this « souvenir » cover. This cancel is rarely seen on regular mail.


From Monday 9 March till Friday 13 March commemorative covers and postally used covers are found with the day cancel. We notice various destination. We think that a local bureau was on site.

Regular mail heading abroad. Different days different destinations…


Philatelic nevertheless flown cover  to France with the correctly used printed mention : First Day Cover. Note the use of the Faculty cancel on this cover for philatelic purpose.


Local cover adressed to well known philatelist Michel Farkouh with both type of cancel.


Another local cover with nice heading on the last day of the event

These commemorative stamps will cause the enthusiasm of collectors and dealers and will continue to be used after the end of the Medical Week. That’s why the complete serie of stamps is always found on covers. I have never seen  ‘mixed franking’ using a single stamp of this serie with another regular stamp from 1938.

Covers sent by well known dealers to satisfy their customers


Series in pairs


Bloc of 4 for stamp dealer in USA
Imperforated set on two FDC covers are known and were mounted by Mr BALECHE, renowned philatelist


Only seen cover with a Tripoli cancel with arrival cancels from Irak.

These stamps  have also been found as souvenir on entrance tickets or various local sheets


As for the covers after the end of the Medical Week, few have been used.


Late usage of the cover but same month: 21/05/1938


Very late usage of the event cover. An Understandable use following the shortage of paper during WWII

As for Maximum Cards, one can expect to find some since multiple views of the French Faculty of Medicine on postcards  were available that time. All conditions were met in order to enhance a thematic collection. Over twenty years of collecting this is the only one I came across.


If we stick to the basic rules without being obsessed by them, this card might also be assimilated to a Maximum Card of the time.
In conclusion, many Lebanese medical Societies have conducted several local and regional activities since the end of XX century. But this Medical Week experience was never renewed. It might be due to a loss of savoir-faire over the years. I Hope not. I suppose it has more to do with the new ways of communication and loss of interest in stamps as support for communication.