#882 – 1940 Famous Americans: 5c Edward A. MacDowell

Classic Covers were produced by a variety of FDC companies. Our Classic Covers mostly were made by ArtCraft or ArtMaster. Most covers 1951 to date are unaddressed. Covers from 1950 and earlier may be addressed in pencil, address label, typewritten, or pen. Your cover may vary from the one pictured here. Order with confidence - your satisfaction is guaranteed.
 
U.S. #882
1940 5¢ Edward Alexander MacDowell
Famous Americans Series – Composers

Issue Date: May 13, 1940
First City: Peterborough, New Hampshire
Quantity Issued: 21,147,000
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforation: 10 ½ x 11
Color: Ultramarine
 

Birth of Edward MacDowell

1940 5¢ Edward Alexander MacDowell stamp
US #882 – from the Famous Americans Composers set

Composer Edward Alexander MacDowell was born on December 18, 1860, in New York City.  He composed several notable works and was one of the first people inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The son of a Manhattan milk dealer, MacDowell, received piano lessons from Juan Buitrago, Pablo Desverine, and Teresa Carreño.  His mother then took him to France where he was admitted to the Paris Conservatory in 1877.  MacDowell studied there for two years under Antoine François Marmontel before going to Frankfurt, Germany to study at Dr. Hoch’s Conservatory under Carl Heymann and Joachim Raff.  By 1881, MacDowell began traveling and performing some of his own compositions.

1940 5¢ Edward Alexander MacDowell Classic First Day Cover
US #882 – Classic First Day Cover

MacDowell lived in Germany for a few years, composing, performing, and providing piano lessons.  After getting married in 1884, MacDowell dedicated most of his time to composing.  He and his wife moved to Boston in 1888, where he became a popular piano teacher and concert pianist, performing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, among others.

1954 3¢ Columbia University stamp
US #1029 – MacDowell established Columbia’s Music Department in 1896.

In 1896, MacDowell was made the first professor of music at Columbia University.  He had been invited personally by the school’s president to establish a music department.  That same year, MacDowell’s wife purchased a summer home in Peterborough, New Hampshire, where the natural beauty inspired his compositions.  During his time there, he composed two piano concertos, two orchestral suites, four symphonic poems, four piano sonatas, and piano suites.  MacDowell also published 13 piano pieces and four part songs under the name Edgar Thorn.

1978 8.4¢ Grand Piano stamp
US #1615C – MacDowell is best known for his second piano concerto and his piano suites Woodland Sketches, Sea Pieces and New England Idylls.

MacDowell received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Princeton in 1896.  He was elected president of the Society of American Musicians and Composers in 1899 and was one of the first seven people admitted to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

By 1904, MacDowell’s job at Columbia had grown challenging.  After clashing with the school’s new president, MacDowell resigned.  MacDowell soon fell into a deep depression and his health began to suffer.  He was also run over by a Hansom cab that year, which further contributed to his failing health.  The Mendelssohn Glee Club, which MacDowell had once directed, raised money to help his family.  Many of MacDowell’s friends also appealed to the public to donate, including Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and former President Grover Cleveland.

1997 32¢ Samuel Barber stamp
US #3162 – from the Conductors and Composers issue

In 1907, MacDowell’s wife helped him establish the MacDowell Colony as an artists’ residency and workshop at their Hillcrest Farm in Peterborough.  The name was eventually shortened to MacDowell.  MacDowell died at age 47 on January 23, 1908. After his death, MacDowell’s wife spent more than 25 years overseeing the MacDowell Colony.  Over the years, the Edwin MacDowell Association has supported many rising composers including Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein.  They received residencies, fellowships, and the Edward MacDowell Medal early in their careers, helping them get established.  There have also been about 400 MacDowell music clubs around the country.  These clubs have varied in size, with smaller ones having private meetings with talks and performances.  Larger clubs held public events that included lectures, concerts, and art exhibitions.  MacDowell was inducted into the national Classical Music Hall of Fame.  It’s been said that his two concertos are the “most important works in the genre by an American composer other than Gershwin.”

 
Famous Americans
In 1938, the Post Office Department announced plans for a series of stamps recognizing 10 famous Americans and invited the public to submit recommendations. The response was so great that it was decided to increase the number from 10 to 35. This required an unexpected level of organization by the Post Office Department for this series.
 
Seven categories were decided upon – authors, poets, educators, scientists, composers, artists, and inventors. Each category of five has the same set of denominations – 1¢, 2¢, 3¢, 5¢, and 10¢. Each rate had a valid use. The 1¢ stamp paid for a letter that was dropped off at a post office to someone who had a box at the same office. The 2¢ was for local delivery. The 3¢ paid the normal non-local mail rate, and the 5¢ and 10¢ were used in combination for heavier letters and special rates. The denominations also shared a consistent coloring scheme: 1¢ is bright blue green; 2¢ is rose carmine; 3¢ is bright red violet; 5¢ is ultramarine; and 10¢ is dark brown.
 
Each category has its subjects arranged with the oldest birth date going on the 1¢ stamp, down to the most recent birth date on the 10¢ stamp. Each category has its own dedicated symbol in the engraving – a scroll, quill pen and inkwell for authors; a winged horse (Pegasus) for poets; the “Lamp of Knowledge” for educators; laurel leaves and the pipes of the Roman god Pan for composers; and inventors had a cogwheel with uplifted wings and a lightning flash to symbolize power, flight, and electricity. 
 
The artists and the scientists have multiple symbols. Artists have either a paint palette and brush (for painters), and the sculptors have a stonecutting hammer and chisel. Scientists had the classical symbol of their particular profession.
 
 
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U.S. #882
1940 5¢ Edward Alexander MacDowell
Famous Americans Series – Composers

Issue Date: May 13, 1940
First City: Peterborough, New Hampshire
Quantity Issued: 21,147,000
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforation: 10 ½ x 11
Color: Ultramarine
 

Birth of Edward MacDowell

1940 5¢ Edward Alexander MacDowell stamp
US #882 – from the Famous Americans Composers set

Composer Edward Alexander MacDowell was born on December 18, 1860, in New York City.  He composed several notable works and was one of the first people inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The son of a Manhattan milk dealer, MacDowell, received piano lessons from Juan Buitrago, Pablo Desverine, and Teresa Carreño.  His mother then took him to France where he was admitted to the Paris Conservatory in 1877.  MacDowell studied there for two years under Antoine François Marmontel before going to Frankfurt, Germany to study at Dr. Hoch’s Conservatory under Carl Heymann and Joachim Raff.  By 1881, MacDowell began traveling and performing some of his own compositions.

1940 5¢ Edward Alexander MacDowell Classic First Day Cover
US #882 – Classic First Day Cover

MacDowell lived in Germany for a few years, composing, performing, and providing piano lessons.  After getting married in 1884, MacDowell dedicated most of his time to composing.  He and his wife moved to Boston in 1888, where he became a popular piano teacher and concert pianist, performing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, among others.

1954 3¢ Columbia University stamp
US #1029 – MacDowell established Columbia’s Music Department in 1896.

In 1896, MacDowell was made the first professor of music at Columbia University.  He had been invited personally by the school’s president to establish a music department.  That same year, MacDowell’s wife purchased a summer home in Peterborough, New Hampshire, where the natural beauty inspired his compositions.  During his time there, he composed two piano concertos, two orchestral suites, four symphonic poems, four piano sonatas, and piano suites.  MacDowell also published 13 piano pieces and four part songs under the name Edgar Thorn.

1978 8.4¢ Grand Piano stamp
US #1615C – MacDowell is best known for his second piano concerto and his piano suites Woodland Sketches, Sea Pieces and New England Idylls.

MacDowell received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Princeton in 1896.  He was elected president of the Society of American Musicians and Composers in 1899 and was one of the first seven people admitted to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

By 1904, MacDowell’s job at Columbia had grown challenging.  After clashing with the school’s new president, MacDowell resigned.  MacDowell soon fell into a deep depression and his health began to suffer.  He was also run over by a Hansom cab that year, which further contributed to his failing health.  The Mendelssohn Glee Club, which MacDowell had once directed, raised money to help his family.  Many of MacDowell’s friends also appealed to the public to donate, including Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and former President Grover Cleveland.

1997 32¢ Samuel Barber stamp
US #3162 – from the Conductors and Composers issue

In 1907, MacDowell’s wife helped him establish the MacDowell Colony as an artists’ residency and workshop at their Hillcrest Farm in Peterborough.  The name was eventually shortened to MacDowell.  MacDowell died at age 47 on January 23, 1908. After his death, MacDowell’s wife spent more than 25 years overseeing the MacDowell Colony.  Over the years, the Edwin MacDowell Association has supported many rising composers including Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein.  They received residencies, fellowships, and the Edward MacDowell Medal early in their careers, helping them get established.  There have also been about 400 MacDowell music clubs around the country.  These clubs have varied in size, with smaller ones having private meetings with talks and performances.  Larger clubs held public events that included lectures, concerts, and art exhibitions.  MacDowell was inducted into the national Classical Music Hall of Fame.  It’s been said that his two concertos are the “most important works in the genre by an American composer other than Gershwin.”

 
Famous Americans
In 1938, the Post Office Department announced plans for a series of stamps recognizing 10 famous Americans and invited the public to submit recommendations. The response was so great that it was decided to increase the number from 10 to 35. This required an unexpected level of organization by the Post Office Department for this series.
 
Seven categories were decided upon – authors, poets, educators, scientists, composers, artists, and inventors. Each category of five has the same set of denominations – 1¢, 2¢, 3¢, 5¢, and 10¢. Each rate had a valid use. The 1¢ stamp paid for a letter that was dropped off at a post office to someone who had a box at the same office. The 2¢ was for local delivery. The 3¢ paid the normal non-local mail rate, and the 5¢ and 10¢ were used in combination for heavier letters and special rates. The denominations also shared a consistent coloring scheme: 1¢ is bright blue green; 2¢ is rose carmine; 3¢ is bright red violet; 5¢ is ultramarine; and 10¢ is dark brown.
 
Each category has its subjects arranged with the oldest birth date going on the 1¢ stamp, down to the most recent birth date on the 10¢ stamp. Each category has its own dedicated symbol in the engraving – a scroll, quill pen and inkwell for authors; a winged horse (Pegasus) for poets; the “Lamp of Knowledge” for educators; laurel leaves and the pipes of the Roman god Pan for composers; and inventors had a cogwheel with uplifted wings and a lightning flash to symbolize power, flight, and electricity. 
 
The artists and the scientists have multiple symbols. Artists have either a paint palette and brush (for painters), and the sculptors have a stonecutting hammer and chisel. Scientists had the classical symbol of their particular profession.