According to the USPS, “These skillful wordsmiths spun our favorite tales — and American history along with them.” The series began in 1979 and continues today.
Steinbeck (1902-68) was born in Salinas, California, and based a great deal of his work in and around this area. His most famous novel, The Grapes of Wrath, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940. It tells the story of a poor Oklahoma family that moves to California in search of opportunity during the Great Depression. Other Steinbeck novels include Cup of Gold, The Pastures of Heaven, Tortilla Flat, Of Mice and Men, and The Winter of Our Discontent. Continue reading
In 1978, the U.S.P.S. introduced the Black Heritage Series. Today, it’s one of the longest-running and most popular U.S. stamp series.
Harriet Tubman was born a slave in Bucktown, Maryland. Tubman escaped to Philadelphia in 1849 via the Underground Railroad, a network of Quakers and abolitionists. In a series of daring trips, Tubman helped lead members of her family and hundreds of others to freedom. Tubman assisted John Brown in organizing the raid on Harper’s Ferry and served as a nurse, cook, and spy for the Union Army. After the Civil War, Tubman was active in the women’s suffragette movement. Continue reading
The Performing Arts Series began in 1978 with the issuance of two commemorative stamps. The Jimmy Rodgers stamp was released on May 24 and the George Cohen stamp on July 3. Although they were issued only a few weeks apart, a rate increase on May 29, 1978, resulted in a 13-cent Jimmy Rodgers stamps and a 15-cent George Cohen stamp. The Performing Arts Series was designed by Jim Sharp (except the John McCormack stamp, which was designed by Sharp and Ron Mercer.)
Country music legend Jimmie Rodgers is honored with this issue. Called the “Father of Country Music,” Rodgers was the first person ever inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. First Day ceremonies for this stamp were held during the annual Jimmie Rodgers Festival, in Rodgers’ hometown of Meridian, Mississippi. Continue reading
Known affectionately as the “Prexies,” the 1938 Presidential series is a favorite among stamp collectors. The series was issued in response to public clamoring for a new Regular Issue series. The series that was current at the time had been in use for more than a decade. President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed, and a contest was staged. The public was asked to submit original designs for a new series picturing all deceased U.S. Presidents. Over 1,100 sketches were submitted, many from veteran stamp collectors. Elaine Rawlinson, who had little knowledge of stamps, won the contest and collected the $500 prize. Rawlinson was the first stamp designer since the Bureau of Engraving and Printing began producing U.S. stamps who was not a government employee.
The Army-Navy War Heroes series honors the brave men who led our armed forces and made the U.S. a world superpower.
Sherman, Grant & Sheridan
As a stamp collector, President Franklin D. Roosevelt personally oversaw the selection of stamp subjects and designs during his administration. As Roosevelt was reviewing suggestions for the 1934 schedule, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes saw an opportunity to advertise the national park system. Ickes felt many Americans were unaware the federal government had set aside vast amounts of land for their enjoyment and for future generations. At his suggestion, 1934 had been declared National Parks Year. Ickes now proposed the legacy of the national parks be portrayed on postage stamps to give people a glimpse of their diversity and natural beauty. FDR approved the idea immediately, and ten parks were chosen, each to be pictured on a different denomination ranging from 1¢ to 10¢. Continue reading