2017 70c Robert Panara
Robert Panara (1920-2014) was one of America’s leading deaf educators. His work helped pioneer the field and promote the idea that deafness is not a disability, but a different way to view the world.
Panara was born in 1920 in the Bronx. He lost his hearing at age 10 when he contracted spinal meningitis. Deaf education was nearly non-existent at the time so he relied on his classmates’ help to take notes while attending public school. It was around this time Panara learned to read lips, a skill he later became famous for.
In 1938, Panara graduated high school and went to learn sign language at the American School for the Deaf. He attended Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., from 1940 to 1945 and New York University in 1948, studying English and literature. While a graduate student at NYU, he taught English, U.S. history, literature, and algebra at the New York School for the Deaf. In 1949, Panara became a professor at Gallaudet University. He taught there for nearly 20 years before helping found the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. While a professor, Panara also wrote several books, including one of poetry titled On His Deafness and Other Melodies Unheard.
Robert Panara was an accomplished teacher, poet and writer. To him, deafness was not a weakness, it was a strength he used to help make the world a better place.
Start Of The Distinguished Americans Series
On August 24, 2000, the USPS issued the first stamp in the Distinguished Americans series.
As early as 1940, the U.S. Post Office took to issuing sets of stamps honoring Americans from all walks of life that had an enduring impact on our nation. That first series was the Famous Americans. This was followed by the Prominent Americans, which were issued between 1965 and 1978.
Then in the 1980s and 90, the USPS issued the large Great Americans series. The stamps in this series were all one color and had simple drawings and designs. In 2000 the USPS planned to continue the series with the issue of its General Joseph Stilwell stamp on August 24.
While the stamp had a simple, one-color design similar to the Great Americans, the USPS and collectors alike felt it was too different and saw it as another series. So the USPS created the Distinguished Americans Series with that as its first stamp.
Illustrator Mark Summers designed the first 12 stamps in the series. He used the scratchboard technique to create the portraits, giving them the look of engraved stamps. With this technique, Summers started with a completely black surface and then scratched away areas to reveal the white portions of the image.
The first nine stamps all featured black and white portraits. Then the 2008 James A. Michener stamp added color toning. The series changed further in 2011 with the Oveta Culp Hobby stamp that had a larger format and full color image and background.
Over the course of 17 years, the series has honored senators, writers, athletes, scientists, doctors, philanthropists, and aviators. The most recent stamp, issued in 2017, honors educator Robert Panara.
|Remember – you can find more conditions and First Day Covers – and order these stamps for your collection – by clicking on any of the images above.
Click here to see all the stamps in the Distinguished Americans Series.