2011 100th Anniversary of the Birth of President Ronald Reagan
These two stamps were issued in 2011 by Tuvalu to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in a second floor apartment in Tampico, Illinois, on February 6, 1911. In his early childhood, Reagan’s family moved around Illinois quite a bit. He lived in Monmouth, Galesburg, and even Chicago before the family finally settled in Dixon in 1920. Reagan’s trademark optimism and faith in people were evident even in childhood.
Reagan’s father, John Edward “Jack” Reagan, was a salesman and the descendant of Irish immigrants. Nelle Clyde Wilson, Reagan’s mother, was half-Scottish and half-English. Reagan had only one sibling, an older brother named Neil who became an advertising executive.
While moving around the state, the Reagan family temporarily lived in an apartment above the H.C. Pitney Variety Store in Tampico. During his presidency, Reagan used to joke that the President’s quarters at the White House reminded him of that apartment above the store.
Nelle Clyde Wilson was a member of the Disciples of Christ and had her son baptized into the faith in 1922. Although young Reagan had always believed in people’s goodness, the Disciples of Christ strengthened those views. Perhaps it is this group that led to Reagan’s unpopular views on racial discrimination at the time.
Dixon’s local inn refused service to all African Americans that came through town. When Reagan heard about this, he decided to take action. He brought them to his house where his mother would invite them to stay instead. She would even cook them breakfast in the morning.
In 1927, Reagan was hired as a lifeguard for Rock River in Lowell Park. He had the job for six years and reported rescuing 77 people during that time. Reagan later attended Eureka College, where he majored in Economics. He was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon, played football, and was captain of the swim team. He became involved in theater and was even elected student body president. When the president of the university tried to make cuts to the faculty, Reagan led a group of students in a protest. Reagan graduated from Eureka in 1932, and by then had earned a reputation as a jack-of-all-trades.