- Historic Sites
A Postage Stamp History Of The U.S. In The Twentieth Century
Here is the federal government’s own picture history of our times—and it tells us more than you might think
December 1982 | Volume 34, Issue 1
Because so many of the actors in our recent past are still alive, we can only guess at the judgment awaiting them in the Post Office. We know that Richard Nixon will join his fellow Presidents eventually. Sam Ervin, his most popular scourge, may be elevated. We can be certain, however, that John Dean and Spiro Agnew will not.
The first two decades of the century witnessed a growing spirit of boosterism throughout the country. With business booming and the standard of living rising, more people found time to draw together in volunteer organizations, which, they were confident, would better society. Americans formed clubs for everyone from boys and girls (Scouts) to their businessmen fathers (Rotary). Here is how the Postal Service honored them:
Aviation took off with the Wrights, and World War I accelerated development: regular airmail service started flying between Washington, Philadelphia, and New York only a few years later, and then from coast to coast. Airmail has its own stamps—among them some of our most beautiful. The first airmail issue showed the plane that carried it—new models of planes appeared on stamps as soon as they became part of everyday life.