Charles R. Chickering

Charles Ransom Chickering (October 7, 1891 – April 29, 1970) was best known as the freelance artist who designed some 77 postage stamps for the U.S. Post Office while working at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, DC.[2] His career as a professional artist began while working as an illustrator for the U.S. Army recording and drawing medical illustrations of the wounded and dead during the First World War.[a] He continued the practice in civilian life and became a noted artist-illustrator who worked for a number of prominent magazines, including The Saturday Evening Post, which were very popular during the pre-television era of the 1920s to 1940s. After the Second World War Chickering began working for the U.S. Post office designing U.S. Postage stamps, some of which became famous. Later in life he became a designer and illustrator for first day cover cachets that were also popular among stamp and postal history collectors.[3]

Lincoln Of the People-3c
Gettysburg Address issue of 1948

Designed by Charles Chickering the First Day ceremony for this issue occurred on November 19, 1948, eighty-five years to the day after President Abraham Lincoln delivered his most famous speech at the Gettysburg National Cemetery.[1]

Early life

Charles Ransom Chickering (aka "Chick") was born on October 7, 1891, in the Smithville section of Eastampton Township, New Jersey, on the Atlantic coast, not far from Philadelphia.[4] His ability and talent to illustrate ideas and subjects came to him at an early age. While in high school he was first drawn to engineering but when a scholarship was offered to him to attend the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art he accepted it which began his career as an illustrator. He graduated from this school in 1913 and soon sold his first illustrations to Collier's Magazine where his career as a freelance book and magazine illustrator was assured.[5]

Chickering's career was temporarily put on hold when World War I broke out. His son David maintained that Charles enlisted in the US Army before they got around to drafting him, and was originally assigned to the infantry where he was soon transferred to a cavalry unit. As he often drew various illustrations of various objects in his spare time it wasn't long before the Army recognized his talent for illustration and was consequently assigned to more unusual duties. Stationed in France during the war his talents were put to use when he was assigned to duty in Dijon making medical illustrations of body-part wounds of soldiers who died in battle and were brought in for autopsy. Many of these drawings exist today as a part of a Smithsonian collection in Washington, DC. In 1919 he was discharged from the Army. According to 1920 census records he once again continued his career as a free-lance illustrator after the war.[6]

Uncle Sam Navy poster
Navy recruitment poster, 1942
illustrated by Charles Chickering

Career as artist

Between World Wars I and II the magazine industry flourished in the United States, with many different types of magazines emerging on the scene. During this time Chickering found plenty of opportunities producing illustrations for a number of these magazines which became popular during this time, including Collier's, Good Housekeeping, The Country Gentleman, Everybody's Magazine, Blue Book, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Liberty, and the Saturday Evening Post which was considered to be among the most prestigious of illustrated magazines. It is believed that his illustration on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post issue of May 9, 1936, was the peak of his career as a magazine illustrator, earning him recognition in the world of art and production.[6] However, the publication that came to have the most important relationship for Chickering, was The Blue Book Magazine whose editor and art director were both a friend and admirer of Chickering and his art work and consequently made use of his illustrations in most of the issues throughout the 1930s and into the 1950s. Some of his drawings were used in Blue Book stories like “Lady on the Warpath, The Blackout Murder, A Matter of a Pinion, and Be Sure Your Sin Will Run You In.[2]

When World War II broke out Chickering put his talents to use contributing to the war effort. Recognized for his illustrating ability working for the Army during the first world war he was commissioned by the government and designed recruitment posters for the Navy Department. Among his most famous posters was the Uncle Sam poster of 1942. He also designing posters that promoted awareness and the need for successful civilian war production.[2]

Designing U.S. postage stamps

Commodore Matthew C Perry-5c
Opening of Japan commemorative stamp, first unaltered stamp design by Chickering, issued 1953

After the war Chickering embarked on a career designing U.S. postage stamps when he began working for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP), starting his career there on February 12, 1947. During Chickering's 15-year career at the BEP he was credited for designing 66 stamp designs that were produced unaltered, into the final stamp design, such as the one used in the Opening of Japan commemorative issue of 1953, while 11 other designs were modified somewhat and incorporated into a stamp format.[7] In addition to the 77 stamps he designed Chickering is also credited as modeler for 41 U.S. issues designed by other artists and jointly as modeler for eight more.[8]

While designing postage stamps with their frequent historical themes Chickering often spent much time researching and studying historical documents, letters, paintings, statues and photographs before creating the design for a postage stamp. When he designed the Gettysburg Address issue he studied a statue created by Daniel Chester French to create the image of Lincoln on the stamp, while the credo inscribed on the stamp is taken from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address itself.[9]

Notable stamp designs

Chickering designed dozens of stamp issues most of which employed historic themes for their subjects.

Project Mercury 1962 Issue-4c
Project Mercury 1962 issue
  • Project Mercury The Project Mercury stamp, issued on February 20, 1962, proved to be the most famous of Chickering's stamps designs. It was initially produced in quantities of 100 million stamps but because it proved to be so popular the U.S. Post Office ordered the printing of an additional 100 million.[10] Before the stamp was released to the public however the success of the space mission was still not a given and so the production of this commemorative stamp was done in secrecy. To assure that the production of this stamp remained confidential Chickering did most of his design work at his own residence, while his fellow workers at the BEP were informed that he was on a vacation.[11] The finished stamps were sent to Post offices across the country and were labeled 'Top Secret' where they finally were released to the public on February 20, 1962 at the exact hour Colonel John Glenn's historic flight returned to earth.[10] See also: U.S. space exploration history on U.S. stamps
  • Among his earlier productions is the Fort Bliss commemorative issue of 1948, issued to honor the 100th anniversary of Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. Chickering's design was intended to portray the old and the new historical aspects of the fort's 100-year history, a difficult task for the small amount of space. Chickering designed the stamp, C.A. Brooks engraved the vignette, and A.W. Christensen engraved the border design, the lettering and the numerals.[12][13]
  • Overland mail In early 1957, the U.S. Post Office Department was under considerable political pressure to mark the anniversary of the Butterfield's overland mail lines with a commemorative stamp "honoring the centennial of the overland mail." Chickering was chosen to design the stamp.[14]
  • Credo issues of 1960 Examples of co-designed stamps, these issues depict quotes made by various famous Americans such as Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. They were designed by Frank P. Conley and illustrated (modeled) by Charles Chickering.[15][16]

Final years

In his later life Chickering developed heart problems which ultimately claimed his life while living in Island Heights, New Jersey, on April 29, 1970. During the months leading up to his death Chickering was still designing and producing first day covers some of which were consequently released after his death. The theme for the design of his final cachet was the South Carolina Settlement stamp issued in September 12, 1970.[5]

Selection of stamps designed by Chickering

Overland mail 1958-4c
Overland Mail
issue of 1958
Credo G Washington
Credo Issue
issue of 1960
Independence Hall 1956 Issue-10c
Independence Hall
Issue of 1956
Fort Sumter Centennial 1961-4c
Fort Sumter
Issue of 1961

See also


  1. ^ Cameras at this time were big and bulky and often not available on the battle front.


  1. ^ Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Gettysburg Address issue
  2. ^ a b c Lerner, 2010, p. 12.
  3. ^ Lerner, 2010, pp. 11–13.
  4. ^ "Still life artist Peto led parade to retreat", Asbury Park Press, February 8, 1981. Accessed October 10, 2017. "Charles R. Chickering was born in Smithville in Burlington County in 1891 and at an early age moved with his family to Philadelphia."
  5. ^ a b Lerner, 2010, p. 10.
  6. ^ a b Lerner, 2010, p. 11.
  7. ^ Lerner, 2010, pp. 12, 19.
  8. ^ Lerner, 2010, p. 13.
  9. ^ Smithsonian Libraries, essay: Seven score and six years ago…
  10. ^ a b Smithsonian National Postal Museum: Project Mercury
  11. ^ Lerner, 2010, p. 15.
  12. ^ Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Fort Bliss Centennial Issue
  13. ^ Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Fort Bliss stamp design file
  14. ^ Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Overland Mail issue
  15. ^ Smithsonioan National Stamp Museum;Credo issues of 1960-1961
  16. ^ Lantos, 2009, p. 51.


  • Lerner, Mark (2010). Charles R. Chickering: Cachetmaker – Part I. American First Day Cover Society. pp. 10–20., Book
  • Postal Bulletin (March 1, 1962). "Project Mercury Issue". Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  • Stephen J, Rod (2009). "Fort Bliss Centennial Issue,". Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  • Lantos, James (2009). Thomas Jefferson. Applewood Books. p. 56., Book
  • Kloetzel, James E.; Jones, William A., eds. (2010). Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers. Scott Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-89487-446-8.
  • "Fort Bliss Centennial Issue". Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
  • "Fort Bliss Centennial Issue design file". Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
  • Beverly; Cassie Mancer, eds. (2009). "Seven score and six years ago…". The National Postal Museum Library. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  • Steven J. Rod; Thomas Lera, eds. (2009). "Gettysburg Address issue". Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  • "Overland Mail Issue". Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved September 7, 2013.
  • Rod Juell, ed. (2008). "4-cent Washington Quotation". Smithsonian National Stamp Museum. Retrieved September 24, 2013.

External links

1891 in art

The year 1891 in art involved some significant events.

1891 in the United States

Events from the year 1891 in the United States.

1970 in art

The year 1970 in art involved some significant events and new works.

American Gold Star Mothers

American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. (AGSM), is a private nonprofit organization of American mothers who lost sons or daughters in service of the United States Armed Forces. It was originally formed in 1928 for mothers of those lost in World War I, and it holds a congressional charter under Title 36 § 211 of the United States Code. Its name came from the custom of families of servicemen hanging a banner called a service flag in the windows of their homes. The service flag had a star for each family member in the Armed Forces. Living servicemen were represented by a blue star, and those who had lost their lives in combat were represented by a gold star.

Membership in the organization is open to any woman who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident that has lost a son or daughter in active service in the U.S. military (regardless of the place or time of the military service, regardless of whether the circumstances of death involved hostile conflict or not, and including mothers of those missing in action).

Battle of Fort Sumter

The Battle of Fort Sumter (April 12–13, 1861) was the bombardment of Fort Sumter near Charleston, South Carolina by the Confederate States Army, and the return gunfire and subsequent surrender by the United States Army, that started the American Civil War. Following the declaration of secession by South Carolina on December 20, 1860, its authorities demanded that the U.S. Army abandon its facilities in Charleston Harbor. On December 26, Major Robert Anderson of the U.S. Army surreptitiously moved his small command from the vulnerable Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island to Fort Sumter, a substantial fortress built on an island controlling the entrance of Charleston Harbor. An attempt by U.S. President James Buchanan to reinforce and resupply Anderson using the unarmed merchant ship Star of the West failed when it was fired upon by shore batteries on January 9, 1861. South Carolina authorities then seized all Federal property in the Charleston area except for Fort Sumter.

During the early months of 1861, the situation around Fort Sumter increasingly began to resemble a siege. In March, Brigadier General P. G. T. Beauregard, the first general officer of the newly formed Confederate States Army, was placed in command of Confederate forces in Charleston. Beauregard energetically directed the strengthening of batteries around Charleston harbor aimed at Fort Sumter. Conditions in the fort, growing increasingly dire due to shortages of men, food, and supplies, deteriorated as the Union soldiers rushed to complete the installation of additional guns.

The resupply of Fort Sumter became the first crisis of the administration of the newly inaugurated U.S. President Abraham Lincoln following his victory in the election of November 6, 1860. He notified the Governor of South Carolina, Francis W. Pickens that he was sending supply ships, which resulted in an ultimatum from the Confederate government for the immediate evacuation of Fort Sumter, which Major Anderson refused. Beginning at 4:30 a.m. on April 12, the Confederates bombarded the fort from artillery batteries surrounding the harbor. Although the Union garrison returned fire, they were significantly outgunned and, after 34 hours, Major Anderson agreed to evacuate. There were no deaths on either side as a direct result of this engagement, although a gun explosion during the surrender ceremonies on April 14 caused two Union deaths.

Following the battle, there was widespread support from both North and South for further military action. Lincoln's immediate call for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the rebellion resulted in an additional four southern states also declaring their secession and joining the Confederacy. The battle is usually recognized as the first battle that opened the American Civil War.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is a government agency within the United States Department of the Treasury that designs and produces a variety of security products for the United States government, most notable of which is Federal Reserve Notes (paper money) for the Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank. In addition to paper currency, the BEP produces Treasury securities; military commissions and award certificates; invitations and admission cards; and many different types of identification cards, forms, and other special security documents for a variety of government agencies. The BEP does not produce coins; all coinage is produced by the United States Mint. With production facilities in Washington, D.C., and Fort Worth, Texas, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is the largest producer of government security documents in the United States.

Charles Chickering

Charles Chickering may refer to:

Charles A. Chickering (1843–1900), U.S. Representative from New York

Charles R. Chickering (1891–1970), artist and postage stamp designer

Clair Aubrey Houston

Clair Aubrey Huston (a.k.a. Charles Aubrey Huston) was an accomplished and chief postage stamp designer at the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) early in the 20th century. He was the great-grandson of Michael Leib (1759–1822), an American physician and politician.

Huston worked at the BEP for more than 21 years and was the designer of numerous United States postage issues. Entire series of stamp issues were designed by Houston, including the Washington-Franklins and the Regular Issues of 1922. Huston often used paintings and sculptures of famous American artists like Gilbert Stuart as models for his stamp designs. One of the postage issues Huston is most noted for is the 24 cent Curtis Jenny airmail stamp of 1918, whose image became famous when the biplane was printed upside down. In another aeronautical design, six years earlier Huston had pictured an airplane on the 20 cent parcel post issue. This was the first postage stamp in the world to depict such a machine.

Huston is also noted for designing the Warren G. Harding memorial issue of 1923, which he designed in one day using a modified version of the Fourth Bureau Issue frame and a copperplate etching of the late Harding. The prompt and speedy production of the Harding memorial issue was the result of overwhelming public pressure and the stamp was issued only a month after the late President Harding's passing, a record for U.S. postal history that has never since been broken.

The first Huston design issued by the Post Office was the 2-cent Washington "shield" stamp offered in November 1903. This was a replacement for the much criticized Washington "flag" stamp from the definitive series of 1902, designed by Raymond Ostrander Smith (who had since left the Bureau of Engraving and Printing). The public welcomed the replacement, and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition commemoratives, a series of five stamps designed by Huston, went on sale the following year.

Huston designed the long running Washington-Franklin Issues, a series of definitive stamps bearing the profiles of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. These issues remained in print longer than any other series of stamps to date. Houston was also the principal designer of the US Regular Issues of 1922-1931.Dozens of United States postage stamp designs were created by Huston. Besides designing the world-famous Curtis Jenny airmail stamp, Huston is credited for designing the Founding of Jamestown issues, the Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant regular issues of the 1920s, the Huguenot Walloon commemorative issues of 1924, The Pilgrim Tercentenary of 1920 and the American Indian regular issue of 1923. The Washington-Franklin Issues and his seven contributions to the 1932 Washington Bicentennial Issue are among his more famous designs.


Collier's was an American magazine, founded in 1888 by Peter Fenelon Collier. It was initially launched as Collier's Once a Week, then changed in 1895 to Collier's Weekly: An Illustrated Journal, and finally shortened in 1905 to simply Collier's. The magazine ceased publication with the issue dated for the week ending January 4, 1957, though a brief, failed attempt was made to revive the Collier's name with a new magazine in 2012.As a result of Peter Collier's pioneering investigative journalism, Collier's established a reputation as a proponent of social reform. When attempts by various companies to sue Collier ended in failure, other magazines became involved in what Theodore Roosevelt described as "muckraking journalism."

Eastampton Township, New Jersey

Eastampton Township is a township in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 6,069, reflecting a decline of 133 (-2.1%) from the 6,202 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 1,240 (+25.0%) from the 4,962 counted in the 1990 Census.

First day of issue

A first day of issue cover or first day cover (FDC) is a postage stamp on a cover, postal card or stamped envelope franked on the first day the issue is authorized for use within the country or territory of the stamp-issuing authority. Sometimes the issue is made from a temporary or permanent foreign or overseas office. Covers that are postmarked at sea or their next port of call will carry a Paquebot postmark. There will usually be a first day of issue postmark, frequently a pictorial cancellation, indicating the city and date where the item was first issued, and "first day of issue" is often used to refer to this postmark. Depending on the policy of the nation issuing the stamp, official first day postmarks may sometimes be applied to covers weeks or months after the date indicated.

An example of a first day cover is the cover for the release of the Game of Thrones stamps on the 23 January 2018 in the UK. Because the stamps are postmarked on 23 January, Wall, Hexham, UK, the cover is a First Day Cover (FDC).

Postal authorities may hold a first day ceremony to generate publicity for the new issue, with postal officials revealing the stamp, and with connected persons in attendance, such as descendants of the person being honored by the stamp. The ceremony may also be held in a location that has a special connection with the stamp's subject, such as the birthplace of a social movement, or at a stamp show.

History of Virginia on stamps

The history of Virginia through the colonial period on into contemporary times has been depicted and commemorated on postage stamps accounting for many important personalities, places and events involving the nation's history. Themes are particularly rich in early American and new nation history, historical landmarks, and Virginia-born presidents.

Presidents of the United States on U.S. postage stamps

Presidents of the United States have frequently appeared on U.S. postage stamps since the mid–1800s. The United States Post Office released its first two postage stamps in 1847, featuring George Washington on one, and Benjamin Franklin on the other. The advent of presidents on postage stamps has been definitive to U.S. postage stamp design since the first issues were released and set the precedent that U.S. stamp designs would follow for many generations.

The paper postage stamp itself was born of utility (in England, 1840), as something simple and easy to use was needed to confirm that postage had been paid for an item of mail. People could purchase several stamps at one time and no longer had to make a special trip to pay for postage each time an item was mailed. The postage stamp design was usually printed from a fine engraving and were almost impossible to forge adequately. This is where the appearance of presidents on stamps was introduced. Moreover, the subject theme of a president, along with the honors associated with it, is what began to define the stamp issues in ways that took it beyond the physical postage stamp itself and is why people began to collect them. There exist entire series of stamp issues whose printing was inspired by the subject alone.

The portrayals of Washington and Franklin on U.S. postage are among the most definitive of examples and have appeared on numerous postage stamps. The presidential theme in stamp designs would continue as the decades passed, each period issuing stamps with variations of the same basic presidential-portrait design theme. The portrayals of U.S. presidents on U.S. postage has remained a significant subject and design theme on definitive postage throughout most of U.S. stamp issuance history.Engraved portrayals of U.S. presidents were the only designs found on U.S. postage from 1847 until 1869, with the one exception of Benjamin Franklin, whose historical stature was comparable to that of a president, although his appearance was also an acknowledgement of his role as the first U. S. Postmaster General. During this period, the U.S. Post Office issued various postage stamps bearing the depictions of George Washington foremost, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln, the last of whom first appeared in 1866, one year after his death. After twenty-two years of issuing stamps with only presidents and Franklin, the Post Office in 1869 issued a series of eleven postage stamps that were generally regarded by the American public as being abruptly different from the previous issues and whose designs were considered at the time to be a break from the tradition of honoring American forefathers on the nation's postage stamps. These new issues had other nonpresidential subjects and a design style that was also different, one issue bearing a horse, another a locomotive, while others were depicted with nonpresidential themes. Washington and Lincoln were to be found only once in this series of eleven stamps, which some considered to be below par in design and image quality. As a result, this pictographic series was met with general disdain and proved so unpopular that the issues were consequently sold for only one year where remaining stocks were pulled from post offices across the United States.In 1870 the Post Office resumed its tradition of printing postage stamps with the portraits of American Presidents and Franklin but now added several other famous Americans, including Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Alexander Hamilton and General Winfield Scott among other notable Americans. Indeed, the balance had now shifted somewhat; of the ten stamps issued in 1870, only four offered presidential images. Moreover, presidents also appeared on less than half of the denominations in the definitive sets of 1890, 1917, 1954 and 1965, while occupying only a slight majority of values in the definitive issues of 1894–98, 1902 and 1922–25.

Presidential images did, however, overwhelmingly dominate the definitive sets released in 1908 and 1938: on the former, 10 of the 11 stamps offered the same image of Washington, while in the 1938 "prexies" series, 29 of the 32 stamps presented busts of presidents. The 1975 Americana Series marked a clear end to this tradition, being the first U.S. definitive issue on which no presidential portrait appeared; and presidents played only a minor role in the subsequent Great Americans series.

Every U.S. president who was deceased as of 2016 has appeared on at least one U.S. postage stamp, and all but Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford have appeared on at least two. George H. W. Bush, who died November 30, 2018, is the only deceased president to not yet be featured on a U.S. postage stamp.

Smithville, Burlington County, New Jersey

Smithville was a village in Eastampton Township, Burlington County, New Jersey. It was originally established as Shreveville in 1831 by Jonathan and Samuel Shreve as a textile village on the Rancocas Creek. It was purchased by Hezekiah Bradley Smith in 1865 and renamed to Smithville. The Smithville post office was established in 1866. The H. B. Smith Machine Company, which produced the American Star Bicycle beginning in 1880, was located there. In 1962, the Smithville Post Office was closed. In 1975, Burlington County purchased the property and created the first park in the county. It is listed on the National and New Jersey Registers of Historic Places as the Smithville Historic District.

The Saturday Evening Post

The Saturday Evening Post is an American magazine, currently published six times a year. It was published weekly under this title from 1897 until 1963, then every two weeks until 1969. From the 1920s to the 1960s, it was one of the most widely circulated and influential magazines for the American middle class, with fiction, non-fiction, cartoons and features that reached millions of homes every week. The magazine declined in readership through the 1960s, and in 1969 The Saturday Evening Post folded for two years before being revived as a quarterly publication with an emphasis on medical articles in 1971.

The magazine was redesigned in 2013.

U.S. space exploration history on U.S. stamps

With the advent of unmanned and manned space flight a new era of American history had presented itself. Keeping with the tradition of honoring the country's history on U.S. postage stamps, the U.S. Post Office began honoring the various events with its commemorative postage stamp issues. The first U.S. Postage issue to depict a U.S. space vehicle was issued in 1948, the Fort Bliss issue. The first issue to commemorate a space project by name was the ECHO I communications satellite commemorative issue of 1960. Next was the Project Mercury issue of 1962. As U.S. space exploration progressed a variety of other commemorative issues followed, many of which bear accurate depictions of satellites, space capsules, Apollo Lunar Modules, space suits, and other items of interest.Space exploration history is a popular topic, as record numbers of First-Day covers for postage stamps with space themes will attest. The Project Mercury issue of 1962 had more than three million 'First Day of Issue' cancellations, while the average number of First-Day cancels for other commemorative issues at that time was around half a million. In 1969, the Apollo VIII issue received 900,000 First-Day cancels while others received less than half this amount. As the advent of U.S. space exploration grew, so did the topic of Space Exploration on stamps.

US Regular Issues of 1922–31

The Regular Issues of 1922–31 were a series of 27 U.S. postage stamps issued for general everyday use by the U.S. Post office. Unlike the definitives previously in use, which presented only a Washington or Franklin image, each of these definitive stamps depicted a different president or other subject, with Washington and Franklin each confined to a single denomination. The series not only restored the historical tradition of honoring multiple presidents on U. S. Postage but extended it. Offering the customary presidential portraits of the martyred Lincoln and Garfield, the war hero Grant, and the founding fathers Washington and Jefferson, the series also memorialized some of the more recently deceased presidents, beginning with Hayes, McKinley, Cleveland and Roosevelt. Later, the deaths of Harding, Wilson and Taft all prompted additions to the presidential roster of Regular Issue stamps, and Benjamin Harrison's demise (1901) was belatedly deemed recent enough to be acknowledged as well, even though it had already been recognized in the Series of 1902. The Regular Issues also included other notable Americans, such as Martha Washington and Nathan Hale—and, moreover, was the first definitive series since 1869 to offer iconic American pictorial images: these included the Statue of Liberty, the Capitol Building and others. The first time (1869) that images other than portraits of statesmen had been featured on U.S. postage, the general public disapproved, complaining that the scenes were no substitute for images of presidents and Franklin. However, with the release of these 1922 regular issues, the various scenes—which included the Statue of Liberty, the Lincoln Memorial and even an engraving of an American Buffalo—prompted no objections. To be sure, this series (unlike the 1869 issues) presented pictorial images only on the higher-value stamps; the more commonly used denominations, of 12 cents and lower, still offered the traditional portraits.

This series of postage stamps was the fourth to be printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, in Washington D.C.. Postal history "firsts" in these Regular issues included the first fractional-value postage stamps, the first stamp to pay tribute to the Statue of Liberty and the first postage stamps to honor Warren G. Harding, Rutherford B. Hayes, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and William Howard Taft.

Upon release these Regular Issues were initially printed on the flat-plate printing press, into which sheets were inserted one at a time, but shortly thereafter they were produced with the Stickney Rotary press which printed images with slightly less quality and clarity but which allowed for the dramatic increases in production rates, as printing paper was fed into the press from continuous rolls of paper. The Regular Issues were released over a nine-year period and can be found with three sizes, or gauges, of perforations which are used in the identification of the particular series for which a given stamp belongs.

Washington–Franklin Issues

The Washington–Franklin Issues are a series of definitive U.S. Postage stamps depicting George Washington and Benjamin Franklin issued by the U.S. Post Office between 1908 and 1922. The distinctive feature of this issue is that it employs only two engraved heads set in ovals—Washington and Franklin in full profile—and replicates one or another of these portraits on every stamp denomination in the series. This is a significant departure from previous definitive issues, which had featured pantheons of famous Americans, with each portrait-image confined to a single denomination. At the same time, this break with the recent past represented a return to origins. Washington and Franklin, after all, had appeared on the first two American stamps, issued in 1847, and during the next fifteen years, each of the eight stamp denominations available (with one exception) featured either Washington or Franklin.

In the early Washington–Franklin issues (1908–11), every design incorporated a pair of olive branches surrounding one or the other of the two profiles. From 1912 on, however, the Franklin-head issues would instead appear with Oak leaves near the bottom of the oval in the image. Olive branches and oak leaves are often used as symbols for peace (olive branches) and strength (oak leaves), though no significance was officially acknowledged in their use here. The Washington–Franklins were issued in denominations ranging from 1 cent to 5 dollars, each value printed in different color ink. The two engravings of either Washington or Franklin are employed in five basic design themes (i.e., framework, ornaments, lettering) which in turn were used to print more than 250 separate and distinct stamp issues over a fourteen-year period. During this time seven separate series of the Washington–Franklins appeared in succession, each series differing somewhat from its predecessor in physical characteristics (i.e., paper type, perforation size, etc.), while some series would also introduce new denominations printed with new colors. Produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington D.C., these issues were generally printed by the flat-plate process, but several of the issues also employed other new and experimental printing methods, including use of the revolutionary rotary printing press and the offset printing process. The first Washington–Franklin postage stamp to be released was a 2-cent stamp issued on November 16, 1908. Other denominations soon followed and would continue to appear through the first World War years, with the last Washington–Franklin postage stamp issued in 1923. The series thus survived for almost fifteen years, longer than any previous U. S. postage stamp series produced by a single printing organization.

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