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Stamp News

July 2024
1min read

Congratulations on a very clever and beautifully illustrated article about postage stamps (December 1982). I was especially impressed with the layout and the color reproductions.

The cover photograph offered an interesting and attractive possibility for a future Christmas stamp. And as a result of your suggestion, our Stamp Development Branch is researching the possibility of doing a similar stamp for an upcoming holiday issue.

The Postal Service receives thousands of suggestions for stamp subjects each year. I might also add that the United States is one of the few countries that actively solicits suggestions from the general public for stamp designs. The Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee has the difficult task of reviewing the ideas and recommending selected subjects to me for final approval.

However, there are certain specifications that any suggestion must follow to qualify for consideration, such as that a person must have been dead for at least ten years before being depicted on a stamp. An exception is made for Presidents, however, in that they can be represented in the year following their death. This rule explains why John F. Kennedy was honored the year after his death, but Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., had to wait ten years before being commemorated on stamps.

While I understand that only a representative sampling of the stamps we have issued could be portrayed in the article, I am somewhat concerned about the statement regarding insufficient attention to women, blacks, and Indians in our philatelic program. A woman was first portrayed on a stamp in 1893. Since then over sixty stamps have been issued portraying notable women, and several other stamps have included anonymous women in the design. Six stamps have been issued featuring various chiefs and tribes of American Indians, and at least twelve other designs have portrayed Indians or symbols of their culture, such as Pueblo Indian pottery. The Black Heritage Series was initiated in 1978, and five stamps have been issued to date with another scheduled for next year. However, blacks were also featured on stamps prior to the introduction of this series. In 1940, for example, Booker T. Washington became the first black American to be so honored.

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