12¢ Benjamin Harrison
Issue Date: June 6, 1959
City: Oxford, OH
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10½
The image of Benjamin Harrison used on U.S. #1045 was based on a photograph by Charles Parker.
Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901)
23rd U.S. President
Benjamin Harrison was born August 20, 1833, in North Bend, Ohio. Harrison was named after his great-grandfather, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. His grandfather was America’s 9th President, William Henry Harrison. His father, John Scott Harrison, served two terms in Congress. With his family’s political background, Harrison’s name was familiar to voters.
Harrison was elected city attorney of Indianapolis in 1857, secretary of the Republican state central committee in 1858, and began the first of three terms as the reporter of the state supreme court in 1860. He recruited and commanded a regiment of Indiana volunteers for service in the Civil War, and achieved the rank of brigadier general. After the war, Harrison won a national reputation as a lawyer. In 1876, he made an unsuccessful run for governor of Indiana. In 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed him to the Mississippi River Commission. Harrison had just been elected to the U.S. Senate when President James A. Garfield offered him a cabinet post, but he refused this office.
Harrison was selected as the Republican candidate for President in 1888, largely based on his popularity as a soldier. He lost the popular vote by more than 90,000 votes. However, he won the electoral vote. Four key pieces of legislation were passed during Harrison’s Presidency: The Sherman Antitrust Act, which outlawed trusts and monopolies; the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, which put more money in circulation, causing inflation and helping farmers pay their debts; the McKinley Tariff Act, which set tariffs on foreign goods and farm products at record highs; and the Dependent Pension Bill, which gave pensions to all Civil War veterans unable to perform manual labor.
Harrison was defeated in his attempt for re-election. After leaving office, he returned to practicing law. He published a book about the federal government, “This Country of Ours,” in 1897. In 1899, he represented Venezuela in a border dispute with Great Britain over British Guiana. Harrison died at home on March 13, 1901.
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.