Series of 1931 17¢ Woodrow Wilson
Issue Date: July 25, 1931
First City: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Quantity Issued: Unknown
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforation: 10 ½ x 11
The photograph that was used as the center design (vignette) for U.S. #697 was provided to the Bureau by Woodrow Wilson’s widow, Edith. It was taken during his second term in office and was said to be one of his favorite pictures of himself.
When Wilson was first honored on a U.S. stamp in 1925, many expected it would be for a 13¢ denomination stamp, as Wilson was known for considering 13 to be his “lucky number.” However, the 17¢ stamp filled a more immediate need, and Wilson’s image was placed at that denomination in both 1925, and again in 1931 on U.S. #697.
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)
Memorialized on U.S. #697, Woodrow Wilson was born December 29, 1856, in Staunton, Virginia. One of Wilson’s earliest memories was of a man standing at his family’s front gate, saying, “Mr. Lincoln’s elected. There’ll be war!”
The devastation of the Civil War delayed his formal education until he was nine. Wilson graduated from New Jersey’s prestigious Princeton University in 1879, and then attended the University of Virginia’s law school. He practiced law in Atlanta, Georgia, but opted for a career in education. Wilson served as President of Princeton University from 1902-10, and gained national recognition as an educational and social reformer at Princeton.
The Democratic Party took notice, and Wilson was persuaded to run for governor of New Jersey in 1910. In that capacity, he continued his progressive politics. Two years later, he was the Democratic nominee for President. A bad split in the Republican Party helped Wilson win an electoral landslide. In 1916, the election results were so close that Wilson went to bed thinking he had lost. However, the next day he discovered he had won by a narrow margin.
Historians regard Wilson as one of America’s most successful Presidents. He led the nation through World War I and enacted many successful legislative reforms. Under his leadership, tariffs were lowered, the Federal Trade Commission was created, and the 18th (banning alcohol) and 19th (women’s suffrage) Amendments to the U.S. Constitution became law. President Wilson also helped to negotiate the conclusion of the first World War and worked on the Treaty of Versailles.
Wilson was successful as a scholar, teacher, university president, political leader, and statesman. He is also remembered for his integrity, sense of responsibility and great honesty. Wilson spent the last years of his presidency supporting the League of Nations. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1920, for his efforts in securing peace and supporting the League of Nations.