Stamps–Telling great tales in the smallest of spaces
By Sharon Lakey
Don Gallagher is a man on a mission; he thinks it is the right time to get Thaddeus Stevens on a first class forever stamp. But he needs a lot of help to further the cause. He came by the Choate-Sias one day last week and shared his enthusiasm for the project. “Now, since the movie Lincoln has been released, a lot more people are interested in Thaddeus and the role he played in the passage of the civil rights amendments,” said Don.
He is a veteran stamp campaigner, having led successful stamp campaigns twice before. He is particularly proud of the work he did for the Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku, who Wikipedia relates was an American competition-swimmer credited with spreading the sport of surfing . Although Don was not able to be present at the official release of the stamp, he says he “was ably represented by Peter Cole, chair of the Oahu chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and Carl Herrman, the art director who designed the Duke stamp.” The painting for the stamp was done by the portrait artist, Michael Deas. (Click here for a YouTube video of the thinking that goes into actually producing a stamp.)
Don shared a letter he wrote in January, encouraging people to join in a postcard campaign to support the cause. The letter was to a particular individual, but if we insert “Dear Thaddeus Stevens fans” in the salutation, the information can be useful for all of us who wish to support such a campaign. Here it is…
Dear Thaddeus Stevens fans,
I like to correspond with letters, because my envelopes can illustrate how stamps remain important ways to tell great tales in the smallest of spaces. If you would like to learn more about the ways postal subjects are selected and how they become commemorative stamps click here. There is also an interesting 28-minute PBS documentary entitled “American Stamps” that you can view on YouTube by clicking here.
The address for writing to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) is:
Thaddeus Stevens Stamp
Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee
c/o Stamp Development, U.S. Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300
Washington, DC 20260-3501
My salutation is usually: Jean Picker Firstenberg, Chair and Distinguished Members of the CSAC. Please ask that Stevens be remembered on a first-class “forever” commemorative. The Postal Service also issues stamps of other denominations, but those have limited circulation and receive less publicity than the more popular first-class postage stamps.
I’ve tried to meet or correspond with every living historian/author who’s written about Thaddeus Stevens and the importance of his leadership during Civil War and Reconstruction times. All are stamp proponents, favoring a commemorative stamp being issued for Stevens. But we’ve yet to convince CSAC members and must still clearly demonstrate to the Postal Service that there’s interest across the nation to buy, use and collect a stamp honoring “The Great Commoner.”
Letters and post cards are the only way the public can display support for a stamp…Every letter and post card to CSAC matters—especially weighty are those who have long studied Stevens.
With sincere thanks,
Don Gallagher, a “Stamp for Stevens” volunteer
Readers in the Danville area can pick up a pre-printed post card at the Choate-Sias House on Hill Street during open hours—noon to 7:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They require one to write a personal note to the committee in support of Stevens and a first-class stamp.