2¢ Thomas Jefferson
Issue Date: September 15, 1954
City: San Francisco, CA
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10½
Color: Carmine rose
The image of Thomas Jefferson pictured on U.S. #1033 is based on a Gilbert Stuart painting that is now located in the Bowdoin College Museum of Fine Arts in Brunswick, Maine.
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and one of the most influential members of the Founding Fathers. Jefferson consistently advocated one of our nation’s most cherished principles. He championed the idea that humans are born with natural rights rather than those bestowed upon them by a government, and that governments govern only by the consent of the people.
A gifted intellect and political philosopher, Jefferson was a man of the Enlightenment who embraced the age of science and reason. Jefferson served as America’s first Secretary of State and its second Vice-President before defeating John Adams in the 1800 presidential election.
After coming to office in the “Revolution of 1800,” Jefferson served two terms as the third U.S. President. His administration is credited with nearly doubling the size of the United States. Although he was not known for his public speaking abilities, modern historians regard Jefferson to be one of the most intelligent and accomplished of all U.S. Presidents.
The Liberty Series
Issued to replace the 1938 Presidential series, this patriotic set of stamps honors guardians of freedom throughout U.S. history. Eighteenth century America is represented by Revolutionary War heroes and statesmen such as Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, Henry, Jay, and Revere.
Leaders of the 19th century including Monroe, Lincoln, Lee, Harrison, and Susan B. Anthony make an appearance. The 20th century is represented by Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and General Pershing.
The Liberty Series also features famous locations important to America’s democratic history, such as Bunker Hill, Independence Hall, and the Alamo.
“Wet” versus “Dry” Printing
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing began an experiment in 1954. In previous “wet” printings, the paper had a moisture content of 15 to 35 percent. In the experimental “dry” printings, the paper had a moisture content of 5 to 10 percent. This process required stiffer, thicker paper, special inks, and greater pressure to force the paper through the plates.
Stamps produced by dry printing can be distinguished by whiter paper and higher surface sheen. The stamps feel thicker and the designs are more pronounced than on wet printings. So the dry printing experiment was a success, and all U.S. postage stamps have been printed by this method since the late 1950s.
Jefferson’s University Of Virginia
On January 25, 1819, Thomas Jefferson succeeded in securing a charter for his beloved University of Virginia (UVA).
Jefferson had long wanted to establish a school in Virginia. He had attended The College of William and Mary but grew unhappy with its religious stances and lack of science courses.
In 1800, while still serving as Vice President, he wrote to scientist Joseph Priestley, “We wish to establish in the upper country of Virginia, and more centrally for the State, a University on a plan so broad and liberal and modern, as to be worth patronizing with the public support, and be a temptation to the youth of other States to come and drink of the cup of knowledge and fraternize with us.” And as president, Jefferson continued to muse over the idea of the university, writing it would be “on the most extensive and liberal scale that our circumstances would call for and our faculties meet.”
Jefferson resolved to establish his own school in Virginia and spent several years planning and gaining support. In 1817, he and fellow presidents James Monroe and James Madison met with John Marshall and 24 other dignitaries to select a site for the school. They chose Charlottesville, where James Monroe had purchased a plot of land years before. The Board of Visitors purchased the land and laid the first cornerstone later that same year. At the time, they called the school Central College.
Then on January 25, 1819, the Virginia General Assembly voted to grant the school a charter as the University of Virginia. Over the next several years, Jefferson was involved in all aspects of the school’s creation, from drawing the plans for its buildings to hiring faculty. The building was one of the largest construction projects in the history of North America at the time. On March 7, 1825, Jefferson had the pleasure of seeing the university open its doors to its first class of students.
At the time of its opening, UVA was quite different from the other schools of the day. At the time, most schools offered study in a single course, such as medicine, law, or divinity. But at UVA, students could study in up to eight different independent schools – medicine, law, mathematics, chemistry, ancient languages, modern languages, natural philosophy, and moral philosophy. Another major difference was that the school wasn’t centered on religion. In fact, while most schools had a chapel at their heart, UVA had a library.
After the school opened, Jefferson remained intensely involved. He hosted Sunday dinners at his Monticello home for both students and teachers. Jefferson saw UVA as one of his greatest accomplishments and it was one of his most beloved achievements. So much so, that he insisted it be included on his gravestone.
During the Civil War, UVA was one of the few colleges in the South to remain open during the fighting. At one point, Union troops captured Charlottesville, but the school’s faculty convinced George Armstrong Custer to spare the school because it was such a large part of Jefferson’s legacy. He agreed and they left days later, and classes were able to continue.
In 1875, a grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia made it so that all Virginians could attend the school for free. The school was unique in that it had no president, as directed by Jefferson. However, that changed in 1904 when Edwin Alderman became the school’s first president. He was a significant fund-raiser and helped reform and modernize the school. He also created new departments in geology, forestry, education, and commerce.
Over the years, several notable Americans have attended UVA, including President Woodrow Wilson, explorer Richard Byrd, poet Edgar Allan Poe, Senators Robert, and Teddy Kennedy, and US Secretary of the Treasury John Snow.
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