3¢ Pan-American Union
Issue Date: April 14, 1940
City: Washington, D.C.
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 10.5 x 11
Color: Light violet
U.S. #895 was issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Pan-American Union. President Franklin Roosevelt specifically requested the stamp, which along with his own Good Neighbor Policy, promoted the closest bond ever made between the nations in the Western Hemisphere.
Roosevelt suggested that the stamp picture The Three Graces from Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli’s Spring. To FDR, the three women with joined hands represented the unification of North, South, and Central America.
When the stamp was released, there was some controversy over the depiction of three scantily clad women, leaving some to call it the “Three Disgraces.”
Founding the Pan-American Union
One of America’s earliest attempts to promote cooperation between nations in the Western Hemisphere was the passage of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823. That document prevented European nations from colonizing any countries in the Western Hemisphere.
In spite of this, Spanish American leaders did not completely trust the United States. So in 1889, the U.S. invited other Western Hemisphere nations to Washington, D.C., to discuss a solution. The conference, held from 1889 to 1890, hosted all American nations (except the Dominican Republic) and resulted in the formation of the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics. The Bureau was renamed the Pan-American Union in 1910 and is located in Washington, D.C.
At the 1933 Pan-American Conference, the U.S. signed a Latin American resolution that denied any state to intervene in another nation’s affairs, which increased trust between nations and was invaluable during World War II.
FDR – The Stamp-Collecting President
President Franklin Roosevelt was instrumental in the design and issuance of U.S. #895. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s mother introduced the future President to stamp collecting at a young age. Throughout his life, he turned to his collection to relax and unwind.
Roosevelt was elected President four times, serving in the nation’s highest office longer than any other chief executive – 12 years. During those 12 years, Roosevelt promoted the importance of stamps by personally approving each of more than 200 stamp designs. This included suggesting topics, rejecting others, and even designing some of the stamps himself. He used U.S. postage stamps to educate Americans about their heritage, to buoy war-weary spirits during World War II, and to send a message of peace and hope as Europe faced the overwhelming task of rebuilding.