Stamp News
The 2007 Commemorative Stamp Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: 202-268-3207
www.usps.com
October 25, 2006
Stamp News Release #06-050

Please note: Issuance dates are tentative at this time and may change without notice.

Postal Service Previews 2007 Commemorative Stamp Program

WASHINGTON — Marvel Comics, the art of Disney, Ella Fitzgerald, the settlement of Jamestown, Jimmy Stewart, Mendez v. Westminster, vintage mahogany speedboats, lighthouses and those stunning polar lights are just a sampling of diverse icons in the U.S. Postal Service’s 2007 commemorative stamp program lineup.

"Once again, the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee has delivered a powerful stamp program that reflects the American experience and highlights our values, heroes, history, achievements and natural wonders in an artistic collection of colorful postage stamps," said Postmaster General John E. Potter.

With Love and Kisses
To give card and letter writers a jump start on their Valentine's Day correspondence, the 2007 Love stamp, With Love and Kisses, will be issued in mid-January. The stamp, which evokes images of sweet and ardent affection, features a Hershey's Kisses chocolate and a red heart that form mirror images of each other (see below for image and extensive information on each stamp). Have a stamp suggestion? Click here to get the address and learn detailed information on the stamp selection process.

Oklahoma Statehood
The centennial of Oklahoma's statehood will be recognized on a stamp featuring Oklahoma artist Mike Larsen's evocative painting of a sunrise over the Cimarron River. Also included on the image are the words, "Oh, what a beautiful mornin'..." from the musical Oklahoma! by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Oklahoma became the 46th state Nov. 16, 1907. The stamp will be issued Jan. 11.

Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald will be immortalized near the end of January as the 30th honoree in the Postal Service's Black Heritage series. Fitzgerald (1917-1996) was widely known as "The First Lady of Song." Her extraordinary vocal range and flexibility, combined with her gift for pitch, rhythmic sense and flawless diction, made her one of America's most distinctive singers of jazz and popular tunes. The Ella Fitzgerald stamp image is a portrait based on a photograph taken around 1956 that captures the joy and excitement that Fitzgerald brought to music.

International Polar Year
The International Polar Year 2007-2008 will be highlighted on a souvenir sheet Feb. 22, when scientists around the world will conduct research and field observations to increase understanding of the roles that both polar regions play in changing ecosystems, coastal erosion and other phenomena. The sheet features two international rate stamps. One is a marvelous photograph of the aurora borealis. The second is an equally eye-catching photograph of the aurora australis. The souvenir sheet will only be available online at www.usps.com/shop or by calling 1-800-STAMP-24. Advance orders will be accepted beginning Feb. 1.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow becomes the 23rd honoree in the Literary Arts series, March 15, during the American Stamp Dealers Association Mega Event in New York City. Born in 1807 in Portland, ME (then part of Massachusetts), Longfellow is considered the "uncrowned poet laureate" of 19th-century America. He wrote more than 400 poems and is remembered for narrative poems such as Paul Revere's Ride and The Song of Hiawatha.

Settlement of Jamestown
Next spring, history buffs will celebrate the 400th anniversary of America's first permanent English settlement with the issuance of the commemorative Settlement of Jamestown souvenir stamp sheet in Jamestown, VA, May 5. On the front of the pane is a First-Class stamp featuring a painting of the three ships that carried the first settlers to Jamestown — the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery. The stamp is in the shape of a triangle, as was the fort raised by the Jamestown settlers shortly after their 1607 arrival.

Wedding Hearts
The U.S. Postal Service introduces two unique wedding stamps, the latest in its Wedding series. Featuring vines that form the shape of a heart, these stamps were designed especially for mailing wedding invitations and RSVPs and are sure to add an elegant touch to invitations and response cards.

Pollination
In the summer, Post Offices will be abuzz with the release of the four-design, 20-stamp Pollination booklet. The four designs featured depict: two Morrison's bumble bees paired with purple, or chaparral, nightshade; a calliope hummingbird sipping from a hummingbird trumpet blossom; a lesser long-nosed bat preparing to "dive" into a saguaro flower; and a Southern dogface butterfly visiting prairie, or common, ironweed. An intricate graphic scheme emphasizes the ecological relationship between pollinators and plants and also hints at the biodiversity necessary to ensure the future viability of that relationship. The four designs are arranged in two alternate blocks that fit together like interlocking puzzles. In one block, the pollinators form a central starburst. In the other, the flowers are arranged in the center.

Nature of America: Alpine Tundra
All 24 animal and plant species featured on the Nature of America: Alpine Tundra pane of 10 stamps can be encountered on the alpine tundra of the Rocky Mountains. The pane is the 9th in an educational series designed to promote appreciation of major plant and animal communities in the United States.

Pacific Lighthouses
Five Pacific lighthouses will be honored for their historic role in guiding vessels safely through perilous waters. The five Pacific Lighthouses stamps commemorate Diamond Head Light in Hawaii, Five Finger Light in Alaska, Grays Harbor Light in Washington, Umpqua River Light in Oregon and St. George Reef Light in Northern California.

James Stewart
As the 13th honoree in the Legends of Hollywood series, James Stewart (1908-1997) was a quintessential American film hero whose lanky physique, drawling speech and naturalistic acting style came to personify "Everyman." He starred in more than 80 movies. Stewart served as a pilot in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, winning multiple decorations. The stamp is a portrait of Stewart based on a publicity photograph for The Stratton Story. The painting on the selvage shows Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the 1939 film for which he received his first Academy Award® nomination for "best actor." The July stamp dedication ceremony will take place in Hollywood.

Marvel Super Heroes
Marvel Super Heroes will save the day when they arrive in July. The 10 stamps on a pane of 20 depict Captain America, Elektra, Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Sub-Mariner, The Incredible Hulk, The Thing and Wolverine.

The other 10 stamps depict classic Marvel Comic book covers linked to the super heroes. Information about the artwork shown on each stamp appears on the back on the stamp pane.

American Treasures: Louis Comfort Tiffany
Portland, OR, will host the American Philatelic Society's StampShow, Aug. 9 -12, where the 7th issuance in the American Treasures stamp series will be dedicated. The Louis Comfort Tiffany stamp depicts a leaded Favrile-glass window designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany entitled Magnolias and Irises. The stamp art is considered a "detail" of the window, as the original photograph had to be very slightly cropped on all four sides to fit the stamp format.

Vintage Mahogany Speedboats
When issued in August, the Vintage Mahogany Speedboats stamps will showcase the sleek lines, polished mahogany and gleaming chrome hardware of four of the nation's historic wooden motorboats.

The stamps feature recent photographs of a 1915 Hutchinson Brothers launch, a 1931 Gar Wood triple cockpit runabout, a 1939 Hacker-Craft, and a 1954 Chris-Craft Racing Runabout.

The craft on the selvage is a modern re-creation of a boat built in 1924.

The Art of Disney: Magic
Also in August, the Postal Service honors the theme of magic as imagined by Walt Disney and his studio animators in the fourth in the Art of Disney stamp pane series. Now, with help from a few beloved Disney characters, it's easy to add a dash of magic to your cards and letters with stamps that feature Dumbo and Timothy Mouse, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, Mickey Mouse as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," and Aladdin and Genie.

Jury Duty
In September, the Postal Service calls attention to the importance of jury service, a cornerstone of democracy in the United States.

The U.S. Constitution guarantees citizens charged in criminal cases the right to trial by a jury of their peers. In civil cases, the jury manifests the conscience of the community, ruling for either of the opposing parties in a dispute. The Jury Duty stamp image presents a diverse group of 12 representative jurors in silhouette.

Polar Lights
The two First-Class stamps on this pane of 20 are also featured on the International Polar Year 2007-2008 souvenir sheet to be issued in February. The Polar Lights stamp images are photographs of the aurora borealis, or "northern lights," and the aurora australis, a phenomenon of the southern polar region.

Mendez v. Westminster School District
With the issuance of this stamp in 2007, the U.S. Postal Service marks the 60th anniversary of Mendez et al. v. Westminster School District of Orange County et al., a World War II-era legal case in which a group of civic-minded parents in California successfully sued to end segregation in their schools.

The 1945 case, Mendez v. Westminster, was decided in 1947 when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco established an important legal precedent by ruling school districts could not segregate on the basis of national origin.

Holiday Knits
In early October, during the American Stamp Dealers Association Mega Event in New York City, the Postal Service will issue Holiday Knits, four stamps featuring classic winter-time imagery designed and machine knitted by nationally known illustrator Nancy Stahl. The stamp images include a dignified stag, a snow-dappled evergreen tree, a perky snowman sporting a top hat, and a whimsical teddy bear.

Christmas: Luini "The Madonna of the Carnation"
The 2007 traditional Christmas stamp features an oil-on-panel entitled The Madonna of the Carnation by Milanese painter Bernardino Luini. Dating to around 1515, the painting is now part of the Samuel H. Kress Collection at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. To see the painting visit: nga.gov/cgi-bin/pinfo?Object=296+0+none.



Since 1775, the United States Postal Service and its predecessor, the Post Office Department, have connected friends, families, neighbors and businesses by mail. An independent federal agency that visits more than 144 million homes and businesses every day, the Postal Service is the only service provider delivering to every address in the nation. It receives no taxpayer dollars for routine operations, but derives its operating revenues solely from the sale of postage, products and services. With annual revenues of $70 billion, it is the world's leading provider of mailing and delivery services, offering some of the most affordable postage rates in the world. The U.S. Postal Service delivers more than 46 percent of the world's mail volume—some 212 billion letters, advertisements, periodicals and packages a year—and serves ten million customers each day at its 37,000 retail locations nationwide.



With Love and Kisses
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With Love and Kisses
Evoking images of sweet and ardent affection, the stamp features a Hershey's Kisses chocolate and a red heart that form mirror images of one another. Written on the heart is "Love" while "Kisses" appears on the plume that extends from the top of the chocolate treat.

The unmistakable shape of Hershey's Kisses chocolates has not changed since The Hershey Company introduced this milk-chocolate candy to the nation in 1907. Wrapped by hand until the process was automated in 1921, Kisses chocolates have been available year round for 100 years with only one exception. Production ceased from 1942 to 1949, when silver foil was rationed during the war effort. Kisses chocolates wrapped in red and silver foil were introduced in 1986 in honor of Valentine's Day.

The Postal Service began issuing its popular Love stamps in 1973. Over the years these stamps have featured a delightful assortment of designs including heart motifs, colorful flowers and the word "LOVE" itself.

Award-winning illustrator José Ortega of New York City and Toronto, who designed the With Love and Kisses stamp, previously designed the Salsa stamp, one of four stamps that appeared as part of the 2005 Let's Dance/Bailemos issuance.


Oklahoma Statehood
Oh, what a beautiful stamp! In January, the Postal Service will celebrate the 100th birthday of Oklahoma's statehood with the issuance of the Oklahoma Statehood stamp in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma became the 46th state on Nov. 16, 1907. The stamp is a painting by Oklahoma artist Mike Larsen. In the painting, morning sunlight touches the waters of the Cimarron, one of several rivers that meander through the state. Featured in the right corner of the stamp design are the words, "Oh, what a beautiful mornin'...", a popular song from the musical Oklahoma!, by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Oklahoma Statehood
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For many people, the name "Cimarron" conjures up images of the Old West. Along the banks of this storied river ran the southern branch of the Santa Fe Trail — one of the most heavily traveled wagon roads to the West (1821-1880). In the years following the Civil War, Texas cowboys drove millions of cattle across the Cimarron as they made their way north to Kansas along the Chisholm Trail. And in 1889, would-be settlers poured across the river in the first of several government-sponsored "land runs." Renowned author Edna Ferber featured this land run in her acclaimed novel Cimarron (1929), which was later made into an Oscar-winning film.

When President Theodore Roosevelt signed a proclamation to admit Oklahoma to the Union, the action merged two entities: the Indian Territory, which included members of more than 60 indigenous and relocated Native American groups, and the Oklahoma Territory, home to numerous non-Indian settlers, many of whom had taken part in several land runs sponsored by the federal government in the late 19th century.

Today, descendants of those early residents, along with more recent arrivals, make up a population of about 3.5 million. More than half a million people live in Oklahoma City, which is the state capital and the largest city. The next largest city, Tulsa, is home to almost 400,000 residents. Located on the Arkansas River, Tulsa is also the site of one of the busiest river ports in the nation.

Through the years, the people of Oklahoma have made many contributions to our nation's heritage. "From the Native Americans who first settled this land to the Boomers and Sooners who hoped to sow better lives in the tallgrass prairie," wrote Governor Brad Henry in October 2004, "Oklahomans have always been pioneers, overcoming obstacles through talent, ingenuity and determination."

Famous citizens of the past include humorist Will Rogers, of Cherokee descent; Olympic champion Jim Thorpe, of Sauk and Fox descent; folksinger/songwriter Woody Guthrie; baseball great Mickey Mantle; writer Ralph Ellison, and astronaut Gordon Cooper. Among today's Oklahoma-born notables are country music stars Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, and Reba McEntire; actors Chuck Norris and Brad Pitt; and journalist Bill Moyers. Oklahomans continue to excel in many other fields as well, including education, business, finance, science, medicine, aviation, and aerospace.

Oklahomans enjoy a thriving economy based largely on agriculture, service industries, and oil and gas. Tourism is also important, with visitors drawn to a wealth of natural wonders, historic sites and cultural offerings. These include the Wichita Mountains in the southwest; the Ouachita National Forest in the southeast; the Cherokee Heritage Center south of Tahlequah; Sequoyah's Home Site near Sallisaw; the Oklahoma History Center and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, both in Oklahoma City, and the Gilcrease Museum and Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa.


Ella Fitzgerald
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Ella Fitzgerald
The Postal Service honors Ella Fitzgerald as the 30th inductee into its Black Heritage stamp series. Fitzgerald (1917-1996) was widely known as "The First Lady of Song." Her extraordinary vocal range and flexibility, combined with her gift for pitch, rhythmic sense, and flawless diction, made her a favorite of fans, songwriters and other singers. The stamp portrait, based on a photograph taken circa 1956, is by famed illustrator Paul Davis, who captured the joy and excitement that Fitzgerald brought to her music.

Ella Jane Fitzgerald was born April 25, 1917, in Newport News, VA. She was still very young when she moved with her mother to Yonkers, New York. From an early age, she loved to sing and dance. Although charmed by her performances, people laughed when she told them she was going to be famous. In 1932, after her mother died, she went to live with her aunt in Harlem. By the time she was 16, she was on her own, dancing on the street for tips. In November 1934, Fitzgerald entered an amateur competition at the historic Apollo Theater to show off her dancing skill. At the last minute, she decided to sing instead, and was named the winner. Not long after that, at the Harlem Opera House, she won another talent competition.

Her success as an amateur brought Fitzgerald to the attention of bandleader and drummer Chick Webb, who hired her to sing with his orchestra. In 1938, she and Webb had a number-one hit record with "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," a novelty song Fitzgerald co-wrote with Van Alexander, based on a child's rope-skipping rhyme. In this early phase of her career, Fitzgerald showed her mastery of swing music. After Webb's death in June of 1939, the band was billed as Ella Fitzgerald and Her Famous Orchestra until its members went their separate ways in 1942.

The song "Flying Home," recorded in the fall of 1945, is widely considered a masterpiece of scat singing - the vocalizing of nonsense syllables, often as if the singer were an instrumental soloist. Fitzgerald's scat reflected her growing interest in bebop, a jazz style that improvised around chords and harmony, as well as melody. Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, one of the architects of bebop, encouraged Fitzgerald to "sit in" for jam sessions with his band.

"Listening to Dizzy made me want to try something with my voice that would be like a horn," Fitzgerald said. "He'd shout, 'Go ahead and blow' and I would improvise." Her recordings of songs like "Lady Be Good" and "How High the Moon" consolidated Fitzgerald's reputation as a jazz singer. "How High the Moon" became one of her signature tunes.

The next phase of Fitzgerald's career found her joining forces with concert promoter Norman Granz, who produced many of her albums over the years. In 1956, Fitzgerald began recording the Cole Porter Songbook, a best-selling album that launched a timeless series of "Songbook" recordings of the works of great American songwriters. She recorded more than 200 standards for the "Songbook" albums, among them works by Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, and Johnny Mercer.

An early highlight among Fitzgerald's several dozen albums was Ella Sings Gershwin, a precursor to her "Songbook" project, recorded in 1950. The later George and Ira Gershwin Songbook is cited by many as one of Fitzgerald's most special collections. Her Duke Ellington Songbook also has many admirers. Her collaborations with Louis Armstrong, including Ella and Louis, were among her most popular efforts. Armstrong was only one of the celebrated musicians with whom Fitzgerald recorded and performed. Others included Count Basie, Joe Pass and Oscar Peterson.

Many of Fitzgerald's fans treasure her "live" albums. Three of her most admired live recordings were made before audiences in Europe — Ella in Rome, Ella in Berlin and Ella Returns to Berlin.

For decades, she kept up a numbing schedule of recording and touring internationally, often working 40 weeks a year. Fitzgerald broke many racial barriers — she was the first black artist to appear in various exclusive clubs around the United States, including the famed Copacabana in New York, in June 1957. She sang at the inaugural gala for President John F. Kennedy on Jan. 20, 1961.

Fitzgerald appeared in a small number of Hollywood films, including Ride 'Em Cowboy, a 1942 comedy with Abbott and Costello. In 1955, she had a role as a singer in Pete Kelly's Blues, preserving a glimpse of what it would have been like to see her perform in a nightclub. She also appeared in St. Louis Blues, released in 1958, and Let No Man Write My Epitaph in 1960.

Over the years, Fitzgerald won 13 Grammy Awards and many other honors, including the National Medal of Arts, presented to her in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan. She was one of five artists awarded Kennedy Center Honors in 1979. In 1989, the Society of Singers created an award for lifetime achievement, called it the "Ella," and made her its first recipient.

Fitzgerald continued to perform up until a few years before her death, when failing health compelled her reluctant retirement. She died at her home in Beverly Hills, CA, on June 15, 1996. Fans and colleagues alike mourned the passing of this beloved singer. Ira Gershwin once remarked, "I never knew how good our songs were until I heard Ella Fitzgerald sing them."


International Polar Year
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International Polar Year 2007-2008
In 2007, the U.S. Postal Service will issue a souvenir sheet of two 84-cent international letter rate stamps to commemorate International Polar Year 2007-2008.

Continuing the tradition of international cooperation that began with the first International Polar Year in 1882-1883, scientists from around the world will initiate a new era in polar research by participating in International Polar Year 2007-2008. Working across many disciplines, the scientists will conduct field observations, research and analysis to build upon current knowledge and increase our understanding of the roles that both polar regions play in global processes.

Carl Weyprecht (1838-1881), scientist and co-commander of an Austro-Hungarian expedition to the North Pole during the 1870s, is credited with inspiring the first International Polar Year. Weyprecht defined the basic principles of Arctic exploration, calling for nations to establish a network of Arctic research posts and to collaborate in data collection and scientific observation. Twelve countries participated in the first International Polar Year. Between 1881 and 1884, they sent several expeditions to the polar regions, established research stations and collected data. Their work, which involved some 700 men working under dangerous Arctic conditions, set a precedent for international scientific cooperation.

Approximately 40 countries participated in the second International Polar Year in 1932-1933. They established numerous permanent research stations in the Arctic and, according to the National Academy of Sciences, prompted "advances in meteorology, atmospheric sciences, geomagnetism and the 'mapping' of ionospheric phenomena that advanced radioscience and technology."

In 1957-1958, 67 nations were involved in the International Geophysical Year, which continued the legacy of international scientific cooperation while commemorating the 75th and 25th anniversaries of the first two International Polar Years.

Currently, at least 35 countries are committed to participating in International Polar Year 2007-2008. This international effort will involve a wide range of research tools, including automatic observatories, satellite-based remote sensing, autonomous vehicles and the Internet. Various projects will incorporate biological, ecological and social science elements, offering researchers a better understanding of the causes and implications of changing ecosystems, coastal erosion and other phenomena. The International Polar Year will run from March 2007 through March 2009 to ensure that researchers can work in both polar regions during two full seasons.

This International Polar Year 2007-2008 souvenir sheet will be issued as part of a booklet of similar sheets jointly issued by eight countries: the United States, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The U.S. sheet will also be available separately through U.S. Postal Service Stamp Fulfillment Services, and the two stamps on the sheet will also be issued as a pane of 20 under the title Polar Lights.

In 1958, the United States issued a three-cent stamp to commemorate the International Geophysical Year 1957-58. This souvenir sheet is the first U.S. issuance to commemorate an International Polar Year.

The photograph of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, was made by Fred Hirschmann of Wasilla, AK. The photograph of the aurora australis, a phenomenon of the southern polar region, was made by Per-Andre Hoffmann of Stuttgart, Germany.

The selvage photograph depicts a portion of the aurora borealis over Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park in Alaska and was made by Colin Tyler Bogucki of Minneapolis, MN. The selvage paragraph reads, "Continuing the tradition of international cooperation that began with the first International Polar Year in 1882-1883, scientists from around the world will initiate a new era in polar research by participating in International Polar Year 2007-2008. Working across many disciplines, they will conduct field observations, research, and analysis to build upon current knowledge and increase our understanding of the roles that both polar regions play in global processes."


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In March, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) will be the 23rd honoree immortalized on a stamp in the Postal Service's Literary Arts series. Born in Portland, Maine — then part of Massachusetts — in 1807, Longfellow is considered the "uncrowned poet laureate" of 19th-century America. He wrote more than 400 poems and is remembered for narrative poems such as Paul Revere's Ride and The Song of Hiawatha.

The stamp art by Kazuhiko Sano features a portrait of Longfellow based on a photograph made around 1876. Background art evokes scenes from Paul Revere's Ride. Behind the ships' masts is a glimpse of the steeple of the Old North Church, where "a second lamp in the belfry burns" to indicate the arrival of the British by sea. To the right of the stamp, Paul Revere rides through the moonlit night, as dramatized by Longfellow's poem.

Longfellow's poetry is rooted in European traditions and forms, but the subject matter often is uniquely American. He attended Bowdoin College, where his academic talents earned him a professorship in modern languages when he graduated in 1825. To prepare for the position, Longfellow made his first trip to Europe, traveling for three years and mastering several languages. In 1837, he became a professor at Harvard and held that position until 1854. His further European travels and studies resulted in several textbooks and translations for classroom use.

Throughout his career, Longfellow wrote many short lyrical poems, including popular works such as A Psalm of Life and Excelsior. Although few of Longfellow's poems are starkly personal, his life was punctuated by significant family tragedies, including the deaths of two wives. His first wife, Mary, died in Europe in 1835 at the age of 23 because of a miscarriage and infection. His second wife, Fanny, died in 1861 after a spark ignited her clothing. Longfellow suffered burns while attempting to aid her, leaving scars on his face that he concealed with a beard for the rest of his life. He left The Cross of Snow, an 1879 sonnet about his anguish over the death of his wife Fanny, to be published posthumously.

In addition to numerous shorter works, Longfellow also composed several long poems. Inspired by The Kalevala, the national epic of Finland, he sought to create an American poem that drew on the folklore of Native Americans. The resulting poem, The Song of Hiawatha, was based on a mélange of Native American traditions and legends as they were understood at the time. Today, The Song of Hiawatha is remembered for its hero's adventures "by the shores of Gitche Gumee" and for its singsong meter reminiscent of the Finnish epic. The poem was a popular success when it was published in 1855 and was translated into several European languages.

Between 1863 and 1874, Longfellow wrote a series of narrative poems collectively known as Tales of a Wayside Inn. Issued in three parts and recalling The Canterbury Tales by 14th-century English poet Geoffrey Chaucer, Tales of a Wayside Inn takes place at a tavern in Sudbury, MA, where characters based on Longfellow's colleagues and acquaintances narrate various stories. Many of the tales are derived from European sources, including medieval Norse and Italian works, with some based on notable American material as well.

Tales of a Wayside Inn begins with one of Longfellow's most famous narrative poems, Paul Revere's Ride. The poem was originally published in the Atlantic Monthly in January 1861, and its opening lines are still well known:
“Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five,
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.”
Like other Longfellow poems, Tales of a Wayside Inn also added a new phrase to the American vernacular: "ships that pass in the night," from a famous passage in The Theologian's Tale.

Longfellow struck distinctly American notes in his longer poems. His 1847 poem Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie follows the title character as she wanders America in search of Gabriel, her lost lover. Based on an historical event — the English eviction of French settlers from Nova Scotia in 1755 — the poem included vivid descriptions and a sense of mythology that earned it great popularity in the United States and around the world. Similarly, The Courtship of Miles Standish, published in 1858, dealt with the intermingled history and legends of New England. Set in Plymouth, the poem tells the story of how John Alden wooed Priscilla Mullins on behalf of Captain Miles Standish even though Alden loved her himself.

A prolific translator, Longfellow translated Dante's Divine Comedy from Italian into English verse while translating numerous poems of varying lengths from Spanish, German, Swedish, Danish, French and other languages. His voluminous writings also included several prose works, among them Outre-Mer, a collection of European travel anecdotes; Hyperion, an autobiographical work of fiction about an American in Germany; and Kavanagh, a novel.

During his later years, Longfellow was a venerable figure not only in the United States, where he was invited to dine with presidents, but also internationally. While visiting England in the late 1860s, he was awarded honorary degrees from both Oxford and Cambridge and was received by Queen Victoria. He was also an honorary member of such international scholarly organizations as the Russian Academy and the Royal Spanish Academy. In 1884, he was honored with a bust in Poets' Corner at Westminster Abbey in London.

After a writing career that spanned more than 60 years, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow died on March 24, 1882, at the age of 75. He is buried in Cambridge, MA, where he spent most of his life. His former home in Cambridge is now the Longfellow National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service.


Settlement of Jamestown
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Settlement of Jamestown
This souvenir sheet commemorates the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown, VA, by English colonists in 1607. Under the command of Captain Christopher Newport, the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery left docks near London Dec. 20, 1606, and arrived in Virginia, April 26, 1607.

Captain Newport’s expedition, which included Captain John Smith, was charged with establishing a colony in the New World. England had failed in previous attempts to build lasting settlements in the Americas, most notably on Roanoke Island, now part of North Carolina. Nevertheless, expectations were high that this new effort would succeed.

On May 13, 1607, expedition leaders selected a settlement site more than 30 miles up the James River from the Chesapeake Bay. The location, a marshy peninsula that became an island at high tide, offered good moorings. Connected to the mainland by only a narrow strip of land, the site seemed easily defensible. It was also far enough upriver, the men hoped, to be beyond notice of Spanish warships patrolling the Atlantic coast.

On May 14, all of the men went ashore, cleared a patch of ground, and set up tents behind a simple brushwood fence. Later, they built a more substantial structure: “The fifteenth day of June,” wrote colonist George Percy, “we had built and finished our Fort which was triangle wise, having three Bulwarkes at every corner like a half Moon, and four or five pieces of artillerie mounted in them.” They also planted their first grain crop and began replacing their tents with small houses.

In the early days of the settlement, the weather was fair, the countryside lovely and the hunting excellent. But as the seasons changed and relations with the Powhatan Indians worsened, conditions deteriorated. Disease, famine, polluted river water and skirmishes with the Indians took a terrible toll. More than a hundred men and boys had come ashore in May 1607, but by January 1608, fewer than 40 were left to meet “the first supply” of new settlers. The new arrivals would, in turn, face hardships of their own, and yet they, and the many colonists who followed, persisted. Through the efforts of leaders like Captain Smith and entrepreneurs like John Rolfe, and with the timely help from some of the local Indians — including Pocahontas, daughter of the chief of the Powhatan empire — Jamestown endured.

The town grew beyond the confines of the fort, and more settlements were established in the region. Jamestown became the first capital of Virginia, and on July 30, 1619, the first legislative assembly in English-speaking America was convened there. Fire destroyed the Virginia Statehouse in 1698 and the next year the seat of government was moved to Williamsburg. Richmond has been the capital of Virginia since 1780.

Over the years, the fort at Jamestown was lost to history. In 1994, archaeologists with the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities set out to find it. By the end of 1996, they had uncovered enough evidence, including traces of two walls, to prove they had located the remains of the fort. As part of the Jamestown Rediscovery Project, archaeologists continue to excavate the site, unearthing artifacts that may tell us more about the lives of the people who founded and maintained the first permanent English settlement of the Americas.


Wedding Hearts
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Wedding Hearts
The U.S. Postal Service introduces two unique wedding stamps, the latest in its Wedding series. Featuring vines that form the shape of a heart, these stamps were designed especially for mailing wedding invitations and RSVPs and are sure to add an elegant touch to invitations and response cards.

The Wedding Hearts stamps will be available in two denominations to cover both the one-ounce and the two-ounce mailing rates. Each one-ounce stamp is intended for use on the RSVP envelope often enclosed with a wedding invitation. Each two-ounce stamp will accommodate the heavier weight of a wedding invitation with enclosures. The stamps will be issued in booklet form containing 20 one-ounce and 20 two-ounce First-Class stamps.

The artwork on the Wedding Hearts stamps was created by illustrator Nancy Stahl, who based her designs on memories of a wide range of intertwined objects, including silver charms and old-fashioned garden gates. The one-ounce denomination features a light purple background, while the two-ounce denomination features a light pink background.


Pollination
Come summer, Post Offices will be abuzz with the release of the Pollination stamps. The 20-stamp booklet consists of four stamps arranged in two alternate and interlocking blocks-of-four. The intricate design of these four beautiful stamps emphasizes the ecological relationship between pollinators and plants and suggests the biodiversity necessary to ensure the viability of that relationship.

Artist Steve Buchanan created an intricate graphic scheme for the stamps that emphasizes the ecological relationship between pollinators and plants and also hints at the biodiversity necessary to ensure the future viability of that relationship. To that end, the four different stamps are arranged in two alternate blocks that fit together like interlocking puzzles. In one block the pollinators form a central starburst. In the other block, the flowers are arranged in the center.

Pollination
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Buchanan consulted with a scientific expert before deciding on the pollination partnerships depicted on each of the four stamps. Two Morrison's bumble bees are paired with purple or chaparral nightshade (one of the bees is actively engaged in buzz pollination). A calliope hummingbird sips from a hummingbird trumpet blossom. A lesser long-nosed bat prepares to "dive" into a saguaro flower. And a Southern dogface butterfly visits prairie or common ironweed.

Depicted on the Pollination stamps are four wildflowers and four pollinators. The common and scientific names of the featured flowers are: purple nightshade, also known as chaparral nightshade (Solanum xanti); hummingbird trumpet (Epilobium canum); saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) and prairie ironweed, also known as common ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata). The common and scientific names of the featured animal pollinators are: Morrison's bumble bee (Bombus morrisoni); calliope hummingbird (Stellula calliope); lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae) and Southern dogface butterfly (Colias cesonia).

Bumble bees with relatively short mouthparts visit flowers that hold nectar in open cups, while those with longer tongues probe for nectar in tubular flowers with hidden nectaries (the plant glands that secrete nectar). The flowers of some plants, such as tomatoes and other nightshades, contain no nectar but produce an abundance of pollen in tubular anthers. To obtain pollen from these flowers, bumble bees employ a technique known as buzz pollination. By grasping the anthers and rapidly vibrating their flight muscles, they dislodge the pollen.

Butterflies use their long, narrow proboscises like straws to suck up nectar from flowers with long, narrow nectaries. Hummingbirds have long narrow bills and tongues that, along with their ability to hover in mid-air, enable them to obtain nectar from flowers with very deep nectaries. Lesser long-nosed bats feed on the fruit and nectar of night-blooming cacti, such as saguaro, as well as many species of agave.

Pollination, the transfer of pollen within flowers, or from one flower to another of the same species, is the basis for fruit and seed production. Insects and other animals, such as birds and bats, provide pollination services for the majority of the world's food crops and flowering plants. In turn, the plants provide their pollinators with food and other nutrients in the form of energy-producing nectar and protein-rich pollen. Many plants also serve as hosts for the larvae of insect pollinators.

In economic terms, insect-pollinated plants provide us with about one-third of the foods we eat and the beverages we drink. In fact, some plant species — including red clover and other important farm crops — are pollinated only by bumble bees. Many fibers, condiments, spices, oils and medicines also come from animal-pollinated plants. And on a purely aesthetic level, we enjoy the beautiful profusion of colors and lovely fragrances that many flowers use to attract pollinators.

Populations of some animal pollinators appear to be declining. Over the past few decades, scientists and growers (farmers and orchardists, as well as backyard gardeners) have all noted this downward trend. As a result, many concerned organizations and individuals, along with some government agencies, are working to encourage pollinator research, education and awareness. They are also developing conservation and restoration projects aimed at ensuring measurable and documented increases in the numbers and health of both resident and migratory pollinating animals.

Many things can be done to help promote the health and vitality of pollinator populations. Among them are: planting flower gardens that provide a continuous succession of blooms throughout the season, utilizing native plants, and using nontoxic methods to control pests and weeds. We can also protect nontarget organisms such as pollinators from inadvertent exposure to pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and other chemicals, and set aside and protect habitats suitable for wild pollinators. To learn more about the importance of Pollinators, visit: www.pollinator.org.


Nature of America: Alpine Tundra
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Nature of America: Alpine Tundra
The beauty of the Rockies comes alive when 24 animal and plant species appear on the Nature of America: Alpine Tundra pane of 10 stamps. All of the species could be encountered on the alpine tundra of Rocky Mountain National Park, where the stamps will be dedicated in June. To show the diversity of species of the alpine tundra, artist John D. Dawson depicts more than 24 animal and plant species in his beautiful acrylic painting. The scene itself is imaginary. Such a dense grouping of plants and animals was necessary to illustrate as many species as possible on the stamp pane. The plant and animal species were recommended by scientists.

This pane is the ninth in an educational series designed to promote appreciation of major plant and animal communities in the United States.

Previous issuances in the Nature of America series were Sonoran Desert (1999), Pacific Coast Rain Forest (2000), Great Plains Prairie (2001), Longleaf Pine Forest (2002), Arctic Tundra (2003), Pacific Coral Reef (2004), Northeast Deciduous Forest (2005), and Southern Florida Wetland (2006).

Alpine tundra begins above the tree line in high mountain areas. In this environment, snow covers much of the landscape until spring, and temperatures can be chilly even in summer. To survive here, plants grow close to the ground and have extensive root systems that absorb water, collect nutrients, and anchor them against the wind. Only the hardiest animals live year-round on the tundra. In summer and fall they build up body fat and, in some cases, store food in dens or burrows. As the weather grows colder, thick fur or feathers help keep them warm. Some hibernate through winter.

The stamp pane depicts a summer tundra scene about 12,000 feet up in Rocky Mountain National Park, in northern Colorado. Elk and bighorn sheep graze the open areas while smaller mammals — a pika, yellow-bellied marmot, and ermine — stay close to the rocks, ready to take cover if threatened by a predator, such as the soaring golden eagle.

A white-tailed ptarmigan strolls near the rocks, feeding on flowers, leaves and insects. Now mottled grayish-brown, its summer plumage will soon give way to winter-white feathers. A pipit, named for its high-pitched pip-pip call, has built a nest in the shelter of the rocks.

This bird will not stay through the winter. Instead, it will migrate to a warmer region. The brown-capped rosy-finch, in the foreground, will linger as long as possible, moving below the tree line when winter snows make seeds and insects impossible to find. In the air are horned larks, recognized by the black hornlike feathers on their heads and the high-pitched, tinkling notes of their songs. Meanwhile, butterflies flit about rockslides, rest on rocks, and sip nectar from alpine flowers.

Wildlife not shown in the painting but also found on the alpine tundra include pocket gophers, coyotes, and, occasionally, a black bear. Grizzly bears were hunted out of the area before it became Rocky Mountain National Park. They are found in some of the other alpine tundra areas of the West.
The text on the back of the stamp pane gives a description of alpine tundra, and a numbered key to the artwork appears on the back of the pane, along with a corresponding list of common and scientific names for 24 species.

    1. Horned Lark - Eremophila alpestris
    2. Map Lichen - Rhizocarpon geographicum
    3. American Pika - Ochotona princeps
    4. Magdalena Alpine Butterfly - Erebia magdalena
    5. Sky Pilot - Polemonium viscosum
    6. American Pipit eggs - Anthus rubescens
    7. Alpine Forget-me-not - Eritrichum aretioides
    8. Dwarf Clover - Trifolium nanum
    9. White-tailed Ptarmigan - Lagopus leucura
    10. Elk (or Wapiti) - Cervus elaphus
    11. American Pipit - Anthus rubescens
    12. Alpine Avens - Acomastylis rossii turbinata
    13. Melissa Arctic Butterfly - Oeneis melissa
    14. Golden Eagle - Aquila chrysaetos
    15. Bighorn Sheep - Ovis canadensis
    16. Yellow-bellied Marmot - Marmota flaviventris
    17. Ermine (Short-tailed Weasel) - Mustela erminea
    18. Alpine Phlox - Phlox pulvinata
    19. Buttercup - Ranunculus sp.
    20. Brown-capped Rosy-Finch - Leucosticte australis
    21. Alpine Spring Beauty - Claytonia megarhiza
    22. Moss Campion - Silene acaulis
    23. Rocky Mountain Parnassian Butterfly - Parnassius smintheus
    24. Mountain Candytuft - Noccaea Montana


Pacific Lighthouses
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Pacific Lighthouses
Five Pacific Lighthouses will be honored on stamps for their historic role in guiding vessels safely through perilous waters. The five Pacific Lighthouses stamps will honor Diamond Head Light in Hawaii, Five Finger Light in Alaska, Grays Harbor Light in Washington, Umpqua River Light in Oregon and St. George Reef Light in Northern California.

Each stamp features an original acrylic painting by Howard Koslow based on recent photographs of the lighthouses. Koslow also painted the five Southeastern Lighthouses stamps issued in 2003, as well as the five stamps in the 1990 Lighthouses booklet and the five Great Lakes Lighthouses stamps issued in 1995.

Diamond Head
Diamond Head Lighthouse stands at the base of an extinct volcano on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Established in 1899, the original tower was replaced by a new lighthouse in 1917. Today the light from this concrete sentinel leads vessels safely into the harbor of nearby Honolulu.

Currently home to the 14th Coast Guard District Commander, Diamond Head Lighthouse is the last occupied light station in Hawaii. First lit in 1899, the original tower was replaced with a concrete lighthouse in 1917. The light from its third-order Fresnel lens warns ships away from the coral reefs south of the island of Oahu and leads them safely into the harbor of nearby Honolulu. The lighthouse was automated in 1924, and in 1980 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Five Finger
Five Finger Lighthouse stands on a small island south of Juneau at the entrance to Alaska's scenic Frederick Sound and Stephens Passage. Construction on the original wood tower was completed in 1902. Fire destroyed it in 1933, but two years later a new concrete Art Deco-style tower with a black lantern was erected. The lighthouse was automated in 1984, and twenty years later it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today the lighthouse is operated by the Juneau Lighthouse Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to its restoration and preservation.

Grays Harbor
At 107 feet, Grays Harbor Lighthouse — also known as Westport Lighthouse — is the tallest lighthouse in the state of Washington and one of the tallest on the Pacific Coast. Dedicated in 1898, this white octagonal tower and its two oil houses stand near Westport Light State Park, where its distinctive red and white beams of light continue to mark the entrance to Grays Harbor. Today the site is operated by the Westport-South Beach Historical Society.

Umpqua River
Located south of Reedsport, OR, Umpqua River Lighthouse was the first tower of its kind built in the Oregon Territory. The original sentinel was built in 1857 and marked the river entrance, but erosion caused it to collapse in 1864. A new 65-foot masonry tower was built on higher ground thirty years later. Today the tower stands near Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, where the light from its first-order Fresnel lens — visible from a distance of 21 miles — continues to flash two white beams and one red.

St. George Reef
Perched on an exposed rock off the coast of northern California near Crescent City, St. George Reef Lighthouse took 10 years to build. From 1892 until its deactivation in 1975, the light from this concrete and granite tower warned vessels away from the hazardous reef hidden beneath the surface.

St. George Reef Lighthouse stands on an exposed rock off the coast of northern California. Visible from nearby Crescent City, the light from the tower's black cast-iron lantern began to warn vessels away from the hazardous reef hidden beneath the surface in 1892. Because continued exposure to the unforgiving elements made maintenance expensive and duty dangerous, this concrete and granite sentinel was deactivated in 1975. The St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring the lighthouse. In 1993 the society successfully nominated the tower to the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2002 it installed a new lens.


James Stewart
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James Stewart
With this 13th stamp in the "Legends of Hollywood" series, the U.S. Postal Service honors James Stewart, a quintessential American film hero whose lanky physique, drawling speech and naturalistic acting style made the characters he played seem "real." Art director Phil Jordan designed the stamp using a portrait of Stewart by Drew Struzan, who based his work on a photograph taken during the taping of The Stratton Story. The painting on the selvage, also by Struzan, shows Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the 1939 film for which he received his first Academy Award nomination for "best actor."

Stewart starred in more than 80 movies, giving effortless performances and often surprising colleagues by producing the same spontaneous looking reactions in repeated takes.

He was born May 20, 1908, in Indiana, PA, where he starred in amateur theatrical productions as a child. He continued to act while he was a student at Princeton University, where he earned a degree in architecture in 1932. However, the allure of acting proved too great, and Stewart joined the University Players, a summer stock group headquartered in Massachusetts.

Stewart's talent landed him auditions and screen tests with various movie studios. Soon after, he signed a contract with MGM and made his film debut in 1934. He quickly became a star. In 1939, he received his first Oscar nomination for his performance in the classic film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Stewart often acted alongside many of the great leading ladies of the era such as Carole Lombard in Made for Each Other (1939), Marlene Dietrich in Destry Rides Again (1939) and Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story (1940).

During World War II, Stewart served in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was a decorated B-24 squadron commander who flew 20 missions over Germany, including one over Berlin. His first movie after the war was It's a Wonderful Life (1946), a sentimental holiday favorite in which he portrayed George Bailey, a man who learns the importance of family and friends with the help of a guardian angel named Clarence.

In Harvey (1950), Stewart played another signature role as Elwood P. Dowd, a martini-drinking "philosophizer" who believes he is always accompanied by a giant white rabbit. He went on to star in other famous films such as, The Glenn Miller Story (1954) and Rear Window (1954). Stewart played a shrewd country lawyer in Anatomy of a Murder (1959), and also played a lawyer in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, a Western released in 1962. In Alfred Hitchcock's Rope, Rear Window, Vertigo, and The Man Who Knew Too Much, Stewart showed less familiar sides of his personality.

In the early 1970s, Stewart made the move to the small screen with his first television situation comedy, The Jimmy Stewart Show.

Stewart's work was found in a wide range of film genres including thrillers, mysteries and screwball comedies. He was awarded many of the industry's highest honors and life-time achievement awards from every major film organization. By all accounts, he is considered one of the greatest actors of the "golden age of Hollywood."
Stewart and his wife, Gloria, were strong supporters of numerous charitable causes and wildlife conservation. James Stewart died July 2, 1997.


Marvel Super Heroes
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Marvel Super Heroes
With these 20 colorful stamps, the U.S. Postal Service salutes stars from the world of Marvel Comics. For decades, Super Heroes have been synonymous with the comic book medium. Their adventures have provided an escape from every day life and demonstrate that individuals can make a difference. Comic books aren't simply "kid stuff" — adults have always been among their readers, and the form has attracted its share of serious artists and writers. And Super Heroes have responded to social and political issues from their beginnings.

Ten stamps on the pane of 20 are portraits of individual Marvel characters: Captain America, Elektra, Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Sub-Mariner, The Incredible Hulk, The Thing and Wolverine.

The other 10 stamps depict individual Marvel Comic book covers. Information about the artwork shown on each stamp appears on the back on the stamp pane.

Marvel Covers

Amazing Spider-Man #1
March 1963
Art by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko
Peter begins to worry about money now that Uncle Ben is gone; the first headline warning readers of the “Spider-Man Menace” runs in the Daily Bugle; and gullible old Aunt May gets drawn into complaining about “that horrible Spider-Man.”

Marvel Spotlight #32
February 1977
Art by Gil Kane and Klaus Janson
In her debut appearance, Jessica Drew is a brainwashed agent of the villainous organization HYDRA, sent to assassinate crime-fighter Nick Fury. With help from Nick’s organization, SHIELD, Jessica starts a new life as the super hero Spider-Woman and helps defeat HYDRA.

The Incredible Hulk #1
May 1962
Art by Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman
When a man unwittingly enters the site where a weapon called the Gamma Bomb is being tested, he is rescued by its developer, Dr. Bruce Banner. Exposure to the bomb’s rays transforms Banner into the Hulk, allowing him to express his darker side.

Captain America #100
April 1968
Art by Jack Kirby and Syd Shores
This issue marks the first time since World War II that Captain America starred in his own comic book. When Agent 13 infiltrates the organization of the villain Baron Zemo, Cap and Black Panther use the distraction to their advantage.

Sub-Mariner #1
May 1968
Art by John Buscema & Sol Brodsky
Destiny gloats over the defeat of his archenemy, the Sub-Mariner, and implants illusions in Namor’s mind about the ruin of Atlantis. Later, the Fantastic Four must stop Namor from destroying the surface world, which he blames for the destruction.

X-Men #1
September 1963
Art by Jack Kirby and Sol Brodsky
At his private academy, Professor Charles Xavier puts his students, each gifted with mutant abilities, through specialized training regimens. Soon, they must confront the evil mutant known as Magneto, who has seized control of an American military base.

Daredevil #176
November 1981
Art by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson
Elektra decides to help Daredevil locate Stick, the man who trained him as a warrior. Outside Duke’s Pool Hall, Elektra has a final confrontation with Kirigi, the dangerous and seemingly unstoppable fighter of the ninja clan known as the Hand.

Fantastic Four #3
March 1962
Art by Jack Kirby and Sol Brodsky
Taking time out to squabble among themselves, the Fantastic Four thwart the plans of the Miracle Man for world domination. This issue features a cutaway diagram detailing the interior of the Baxter Building, where the Fantastic Four make their home.

Silver Surfer #1
August 1968
Art by John Buscema and Frank Giacoia
Having betrayed his master Galactus to help the Fantastic Four save the planet Earth, the Silver Surfer finds himself a man without a home. As he explores Earth and puzzles over mankind’s alien ways, he recounts the story of his origin.

Iron Man #1
May 1968
Art by Gene Colan and Johnny Craig
Iron Man is captured by agents of the organization known as AIM—a collective of scientists bent on world domination. Leading agent Mordius places the hero in a device that scans and duplicates his armor, creating replica suits for AIM operatives.

Character Shots

Spider-Man
Art by John Romita
Imbued with incredible powers by the bite of an irradiated spider, student Peter Parker vowed to protect law-abiding citizens when a burglar killed his beloved uncle. Peter had learned an invaluable lesson: With great power, there must also come great responsibility!

The Incredible Hulk
Art by Rich Buckler and John Romita
After being caught in a nuclear explosion, Dr. Robert Bruce Banner finds himself transformed during times of stress into the dark personification of his rage and fury: the most powerful man-like creature ever to walk the Earth, the Incredible Hulk!

Captain America
Art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers
In 1940, a frail youth named Steve Rogers volunteered for an experiment that transformed him into Captain America, the Sentinel of Liberty. He battled on behalf of his country until a freak mishap placed him in suspended animation for decades.

The Thing
Art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott
Formerly a skilled fighter pilot, Ben Grimm is now The Thing, a member of the world-famous Fantastic Four. Though people may find his craggy exterior of orange stone unsightly, Ben has maintained his sense of humor and his heart of gold.

Spider-Woman
Art by Carmine Infantino and Tony DeZuniga
After her genetic code was combined with that of a rare breed of spider, Jessica Drew was duped into serving evil as an assassin. Later, as Spider-Woman, she became a costumed heroine. She is one of the Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Sub-Mariner
Art by John Buscema and John Verpoorten
Monarch of a mighty undersea empire, the Sub-Mariner strives to balance his responsibilities with his fiery temper. His foremost concern is the welfare of his subjects, but he has been known to rise from the depths to defend humanity!

Silver Surfer
Art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott
Desperate to save his home planet from destruction, Norrin Radd struck a deal with the force known as Galactus: As the world-devourer’s herald, he would search the galaxy for his master’s sustenance. The Silver Surfer now rides the cosmic waves unshackled!

Elektra
Art by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson
Driven by tragedy and versed in the ancient ways of the ninja, the mysterious femme fatale known as Elektra kills for hire, loves for thrills, and brings destruction to all who are foolish enough to cross her path!

Iron Man
Art by John Byrne and Mike Machlan
Gravely injured by an enemy bomb, billionaire genius Tony Stark saved his own life by designing a life-sustaining shell of high-tech armor that turned him into the invincible Iron Man, a modern-day knight prepared to fight any injustice.

Wolverine
Art by Dave Cockrum
Little is known of Wolverine’s past, save that it was fraught with pain and loss. Today, he is an X-Man who uses his animal-keen sense, healing factor, and razor-sharp claws to help protect a world that hates and fears mutants.


Louis Comfort Tiffany
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American Treasures: Louis Comfort Tiffany
For this seventh issuance in the American Treasures series, art director Derry Noyes chose a leaded Favrile-glass window from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Entitled Magnolias and Irises and dating to around 1908, this lovely memorial window was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) for a mausoleum in a Brooklyn cemetery. An anonymous donor gave it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1981. An opalescent type of stained glass, Favrile glass was named and patented by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

The American Treasures series was inaugurated in 2001 with the Amish Quilts stamp pane. It showcases beautiful works of American fine art and crafts. The 2002, 2003 and 2004 issuances featured artwork by John James Audubon, Mary Cassatt and Martin Johnson Heade respectively. The theme returned to textiles with the issuance of the New Mexico Rio Grande Blankets stamp booklet in 2005 and the Quilts of Gee's Bend booklet in 2006.

Design Brief:
The stamp art is considered a "detail" of the window, since the original photograph had to be very slightly cropped on all four sides to fit the stamp format.

Tiffany's mastery of the medium is evident in the beautiful variety of colors and textures used to create this lovely stained-glass scene. Magnolia trees and irises bloom in the foreground on the shore of a lake. A river wends its way to the lake through overlapping mountains that recede into the background under a cloud-dappled sky. Tiffany often used many of these same elements — the winding river, for instance, is symbolic of the passage of life — in his designs for other memorial windows.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Anonymous Gift, in memory of Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Frank, 1981 (1981.159) Photograph ©1981 The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Vintage Mahogany Speedboats
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Vintage Mahogany Speedboats
If you've always wanted to own a boat but could never afford one, you'll be able to cruise away for the price of a First-Class stamp next summer when the Postal Service issues stamps celebrating vintage mahogany speedboats. These four stamps showcase the polished mahogany and gleaming chrome hardware that characterize the nation's historic wooden motorboats. These vintage watercraft, still in use today, were built by four manufacturers. The stamps depict these boats:
  • Frolic, a 1915 Hutchinson Brothers launch.
  • Dispatch, a 1931 Gar Wood triple cockpit runabout.
  • Thunderbird, a 1939 Hacker-Craft commuter boat.
  • Duckers, a 1954 Chris-Craft Racing Runabout.
The selvage — or decorative area around the stamps on the pane of 12 stamps — features a recent photograph of Miss Columbia by Benjamin Mendlowitz. The boat is a modern re-creation of the original Miss Columbia, designed by George F. Crouch and built in 1924. Robert Devens of Green Cove Springs, FL, owns the replica and berths her for the summer on the Muskoka Lakes of Ontario, Canada.

1915 Hutchinson Brothers Launch
A popular style for touring and commuting, the long-deck launch was offered with a four- or six-cylinder marine engine capable of reaching 30 mph.

Powered by a 110-horsepower, six-cylinder Chrysler Crown engine, the attractive 30-foot craft on the stamp was custom-built in 1915 by Hutchinson Brothers Boat Co., Alexandria Bay, NY. Frolic owners Bill and Tish Kartozian of Danville, CA, dock her on Lake Tahoe.

1931 Gar Wood Triple Cockpit Runabout
Gar Wood 33-foot triple cockpit runabouts are considered some of the finest runabouts produced by the famous boatbuilding firm in Marysville, MI. Elegant and powerful, these craft were offered with either a Scripps V-12 or a Gar Wood Liberty V-12 engine and were capable of exceeding 50 mph.

Manufactured in 1931, the runabout appearing on the stamp has a 650-horsepower, 12-cylinder Rolls Royce engine. Named Dispatch, she is owned by Tom and Maurine Turner of Carnelian Bay, CA. Her Lake Tahoe berth is next to Turner's Gar Woods Grill and Pier Restaurant.

1939 Hacker-Craft
Based on the streamlined designs of John Hacker, Thunderbird is a 55-foot commuter boat featuring a distinctive stainless-steel cabin top that was built for millionaire George Whittell, who was fascinated with the latest aircraft, automobile and boat technology. Enamored with the lines of his personal DC-2 airplane, Whittell requested Thunderbird's hull and cockpit be built to resemble the fuselage of his twin-engine aircraft. Built in 1939 by the Huskins Boat Co. of Bay City, MI, Thunderbird's original twin 550-horsepower Kermath engines were replaced in the 1960s with twin 1000-horsepower Allison V-12 aircraft engines. The Hacker-Craft is owned by Joan Gibb of Incline Village, NV, and is berthed in the original boathouse built and designed by George Whittell in 1940 for the Thunderbird. The boathouse is connected to the main house by a 600-foot tunnel that was blasted through granite at the Thunderbird Lodge Historic Site on LakeTahoe.

Learn the fascinating story behind this nautical classic at: http://www.thunderbirdlodge.org/theboat.html.

1954 Chris-Craft Racing Runabout
A steady seller since 1936, the Racing Runabout exemplified Chris-Craft speed and design through 1954. Updated after World War II, the 19-foot model features a split cockpit and gleaming deck hardware. With its 158-horsepower MBL engine, this craft can exceed 40 mph. Chris-Craft runabouts remain a popular model among classic boaters who enjoy their sporty performance.

Duckers, built in 1954 in Cadillac, MI, has a 158-horsepower, six-cylinder Chris-Craft Hercules engine. She is owned by William and Nancy Kehoe of Loomis CA, who boat with her on Lake Tahoe and the Sacramento Delta.


Art of Disney: Magic
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The Art of Disney: Magic
Abracadabra! Seven beloved Disney characters will magically appear soon on U.S. postage stamps. The Art of Disney: Magic stamps will add a dash of magic to your cards and letters. They feature Dumbo and Timothy Mouse, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, Mickey Mouse as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and Aladdin and Genie.

Magic is the fourth in the "Art of Disney" series. The first to honor the Art of Disney was on the theme of friendship. The second focused on celebrations and the third on romance.

Dumbo and Timothy Mouse
In this classic story, an innocent little elephant turns his oversized ears into an even larger triumph, imparting a very big truth: It's not the "magic feather" that helps you soar, but the magic of believing in yourself.

Peter Pan and Tinker Bell
Anyone who's ever dreamed of flying with Peter Pan and Tinker Bell knows that all it takes is faith, trust, and pixie dust. Whatever our age, these magical characters will always lead us to Neverland, where we and our dreams remain forever young.

Mickey Mouse as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"
As Mickey gleefully wields his newfound powers, we share his exuberance. What could be better than commanding the galaxies? Things soon get out of control, but the spunky little fellow still shows us the magic in reaching for our dreams.

Aladdin and Genie
Just when Aladdin needs help the most, he discovers a battered lamp that reveals a wisecracking, wish-granting genie. Genie can work many wonders, but his actions prove that sometimes a true-blue friend is all the magic we need.

The Disney relationship with the U.S. Postal Service began in the summer of 1918 when Walt Disney sorted and delivered mail in the Chicago Post Office. Next, Mickey Mouse worked for the Post Office when he starred in the 1933 animated short "Mail Pilot." The achievements of Walt Disney were first recognized on a stamp in 1968. On that stamp, a parade of children, hand-in-hand, appear from a tiny castle to surround a portrait of Walt Disney. The children, representing many nations of the World, are garbed in native costume.

In 1998, a "Snow White" stamp was issued as part of the Postal Service's "Celebrate the Century" stamp series that highlighted the most memorable and significant people, places, events and trends of each decade of the 20th century. In 1937, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" premiered as the nation's first feature-length animated film. The movie classic was created from 240,000 separate drawings and won a special Academy Award™ for Walt Disney.

The Art of Disney: Friendship stamps issued in 2004, the first in the current series, honored friendship as it appears in the art of Walt Disney and featured Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and a host of Disney friends. The Art of Disney: Celebration stamps issued in 2005 were the second in the series and featured Mickey Mouse and Pluto, Alice and the Mad Hatter, Ariel and Flounder, and Snow White and Dopey. The third in the series, The Art of Disney: Romance stamps issued in 2006 highlighted the love between Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Lady and the Tramp, Belle and the Beast, and Cinderella and Prince Charming. Each time, U.S. Postal Service art director Terrence McCaffrey joined the Disney team, including artist Peter Emmerich and creative director Dave Pacheco, in designing the stamps.


Jury Duty
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Jury Duty
With this stamp, the U.S. Postal Service calls attention to the importance of jury service. This essential obligation, shared by all eligible citizens, is a cornerstone of democracy in the United States. By showing a diverse group of twelve representative jurors in silhouette, art director Carl T. Herrman and stamp designer Lance Hidy emphasize that under the U.S. Constitution, the American jury system guarantees citizens the right to a trial by a jury of their peers.

Generally, in criminal cases, 12 jurors stand between the accused and the power of the government. Unless the government convinces a jury of the accused person's guilt — beyond a reasonable doubt — it may not deprive a citizen of life, liberty, or property. In civil cases, a jury represents the conscience of the larger community, ruling in favor of either of the opposing parties in a dispute.

An important basis of the American jury system can be found in legal procedures established in medieval England during the rule of King Henry II. At that time, new legal actions known as "assizes" brought 12 local men together to resolve questions over ownership and inheritance. A forerunner of today's grand jury was introduced in 1166, when panels of "lawful men" were required under oath to identify anyone in their community who was suspected of a crime.

In 1215, King John signed the Magna Carta, subjecting the monarch to the rule of law. The Magna Carta declared that "no freeman shall be taken or imprisoned ... except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land."

Records show that English juries were often reluctant to convict accused felons in less serious cases, given the customary penalty of death. In this way, juries acquired the reputation of being protectors of individual liberty. Until 1825, the English government could in turn deprive jurors of their property and liberty if it determined they had returned an "untrue" verdict.

In the American colonies, juries showed their reluctance to convict under oppressive British laws. In New York, for example, when publisher John Peter Zenger was put on trial for printing articles critical of a colonial official, a jury acquitted him. The British retaliated against American juries by setting up special courts in which jury trials were not used. The Declaration of Independence contains a complaint against the British king "for depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury."

Writers have capitalized on the inherent drama of the jury system in a variety of creative works such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Twelve Angry Men. Jury service remains a vital facet of American democracy.


Polar Lights
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Polar Lights
In 2007, the U.S. Postal Service will issue this pane of 20 41-cent stamps with two designs that feature photographs of the polar lights, often known as auroras.

The polar lights are a luminous glow seen in the night sky at high latitudes surrounding the north and south magnetic poles. These auroras are the result of a magnetic storm - when Earth's magnetic field is unusually active due to a dynamic interaction with the sun. During magnetic storms, energetic electrons descend from space and collide with molecules in the upper atmosphere, leading to the emission of green and sometimes red light. Auroras come in different visual forms, including arcs, curtains and rays, and are a relatively common sight in Alaska, Canada and northern Europe. During particularly intense magnetic storms, auroras can occasionally be seen in some of the lower 48 states as well.

"Aurora" is the Latin name of the ancient Roman goddess of the dawn. The aurora borealis are the northern lights and the aurora australis are the southern lights. Through history, auroras have inspired a colorful folklore, especially among northern Europeans and the Inuit people of Siberia and North America, where the lights have been attributed to human or animal spirits and have sometimes been thought to foretell ominous news. Today, the aurora is the subject of scientific investigation, with researchers from many countries collaborating during International Polar Year 2007-2008.

The two designs on this pane of 20 stamps feature photographs of auroras. The photograph of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, was made by Fred Hirschmann of Wasilla, Alaska. It shows the northern lights over the Talkeetna Mountains in Alaska. The photograph of the aurora australis, a phenomenon of the southern polar region, was made by Per-Andre Hoffmann of Stuttgart, Germany.

The header image on the pane of stamps is a photograph of aurora borealis by LeRoy Zimmerman of Ester, Alaska.

Jeffrey Love of the U.S. Geological Survey served as a scientific consultant to the U.S. Postal Service for this project. He also wrote the text that appears on the back of the stamp pane.

The two stamps on this pane of 20 will also be featured on the International Polar Year 2007-2008 souvenir sheet.


Mendez vs Westminster
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Mendez v. Westminster School District
A World War II-era legal case in which a group of civic-minded parents in California successfully sued to end segregation based on national origin in their schools, the Mendez et al. v. Westminster School District of Orange County et al. court case will be remembered on a U.S. postage stamp during its 60th anniversary.

As immigrants who came to the United States when they were children, Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez dreamed the American dream. He was born in Mexico and she was from Puerto Rico, but they met and married in California. So it came as an insult when, in 1944, the elementary school in Westminster, a farm community south of Los Angeles where Gonzalo and Felicitas made their home, closed its doors to their three children.

Segregated public schools were common at that time. In California and throughout the Southwest, children of Mexican descent attended specially designated ‘Mexican schools,’ frequently in inferior facilities. Discriminatory practices were also common in movie theaters, where Mexican patrons were required to sit in the balcony, and at public swimming pools, where they were welcome only on designated ‘Mexican days.’

After his children were turned away from the Westminster School in the autumn of 1944, Gonzalo Mendez went to discuss the situation with school officials. The school board offered his children ‘special admission’ — but on March 2, 1945, Gonzalo Mendez and several other Hispanic parents sued four school districts (Westminster, Santa Ana, Garden Grove, and El Modena) on behalf of some 5,000 children. Their groundbreaking lawsuit became known as Mendez v. Westminster.

Arguing for the plaintiffs in court, attorney David Marcus attacked the prevailing notion of ‘separate but equal,’ a rationalization that it was acceptable to offer separate public facilities based on national origin or other criteria so long as the facilities were comparable. Marcus argued that they were not comparable, presenting testimony from parents and students as well as sociologists and educators, who testified that ‘separate but equal’ treatment made children feel inferior and prevented them from entering mainstream American culture.

The plaintiffs argued successfully that such practices on the part of California schools violated their Constitutional rights. On February 18, 1946, Federal District Judge Paul J. McCormick ruled that merely providing the same textbooks, courses, and comparable facilities in separate schools doesn’t give students equal protection under the law, and that social equality is ‘a paramount requisite’ in America’s public school system.

The school districts appealed, but the decision was upheld when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled on April 14, 1947, that the schools could not segregate on the basis of national origin. The opinion was specifically decided on the more narrow ground of whether state law allowed segregation based upon Mexican descent. The Court held that no statutes existed allowing this but that such discrimination had been carried out ‘under color or pretense’ of law. On June 14, 1947, a statute allowing segregated schools for Asians and Indians was repealed (effective September 19) by California governor Earl Warren, who later was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Mendez decision set an important if indirect legal precedent for cases in other states and at the national level. In 1954, Warren was chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court when it issued its ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, declaring segregation illegal nationwide. Earlier, Thurgood Marshall was one of the authors of an amicus brief submitted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the Mendez case. That brief later served as a model for the argument used in Brown v. Board of Education. The American Civil Liberties Union, the American Jewish Congress, and the Japanese American Citizens League were also among those who filed amicus briefs in the Mendez case.

In 1998 the Santa Ana School Board named a new school in honor of Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez. An exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History included details on Mendez v. Westminster as well. In 2004, the Mendez family was honored at the White House for playing an important part in the history of American civil rights.


2007 Holiday Knits
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2007 Holiday Knits
In 2007, the U.S. Postal Service will warm up for the holidays by issuing Holiday Knits, four stamps featuring classic winter-time imagery designed and machine knitted by nationally known illustrator Nancy Stahl. These beautiful stamps consist of a dignified stag, a snow-dappled evergreen tree, a perky snowman sporting a top hat, and a whimsical teddy bear.

In recent years, knitting has become quite popular again, both in the United States and internationally.
Inspired by traditional Norwegian sweaters and knitted Christmas stockings, Stahl decided on "something cozy" for this year's holiday stamp issuance. She used a computer software program to draw her original designs and convert them to stitches and rows. Then she downloaded the information to an electronic knitting machine and used it to knit her creations. The machine's smaller stitch gauge didn't provide quite the effect Stahl was hoping to achieve. So she transferred the designs onto punch cards and used a different knitting machine that works something like an old Jacquard loom and has a larger stitch gauge. Stahl scanned the finished pieces into her computer and retouched the photographic images to ensure that all the stitches aligned properly. The result is a set of four colorful and "cozy" stamps that will add an extra touch of warmth to seasonal correspondence.


Christmas: Luini "The Madonna of the Carnation"
The U.S. Postal Service continues its custom of issuing traditional U.S. Christmas stamps. Since 1978, the theme of these stamps has been the Madonna and Child, and these holiday stamps have attracted a devoted following over the years.

The Madonna of the Carnation
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The 2007 Christmas stamp features an oil-on-panel entitled The Madonna of the Carnation by Milanese painter Bernardino Luini. Dating to around 1515, the painting is now part of the Samuel H. Kress Collection at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The stamp art is considered a "detail" of the painting, since the original photograph was slightly cropped on all four sides to fit the stamp format.

In painting The Madonna of the Carnation, Luini used oil paints (then a relatively new medium) to great advantage. He enhanced his typically warm palette with the technique known as sfumato (an Italian word meaning "smoky"), in which softened color gradations and blended tones create the illusion of depth, volume, and contour. Positioned against a plain, dark background and bathed in glowing light, Luini's sacred figures seem alive and humanly accessible, filling the picture plane and inviting the viewer's attention.

Clothed in a red dress and an orange-lined blue cloak, the Virgin Mary cradles her baby on her lap, gazing down at him tenderly. The Christ Child is turned toward a green and white vase of flowers, focusing his attention on the carnation in his right hand.

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, carnations were symbolic of both the crucifixion and the Virgin's pure love. Thus the pensive expressions on the faces of Luini's exquisitely modeled figures would have conveyed to Renaissance viewers the Virgin's foreknowledge and Christ's acceptance of his future death on the cross.

Bernardino Luini (circa 1480-1532) was an important member of Northern Italys Lombard School of painting, which was centered in Milan, the capital of the Lombardy district. Powerfully influenced by Leonardo da Vinci, Lombard artists were keen and sensitive observers of the natural world. Few details are known about Luini's life, but his artistic legacy (several of his paintings were once erroneously attributed to Leonardo) ensures his place in history as one of the world's master painters.

Celebrate! Stamp
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"Celebrate!"
The new "Celebrate!" stamp will help people acknowledge a host of happy occasions, from birthdays to engagements to anniversaries and more. When good times call for good wishes, this stamp design will add a touch of cheer to special greeting cards and gift-bearing packages. Artist Nicholas Wilton of San Geronimo, Calif., designed the "Celebrate!" stamp.


EID
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Eid

The U.S. Postal Service is reissuing the Eid stamp in the Holiday Celebrations series. The Eid stamp was first issued in 2001.

This stamp commemorates the two most important festivals or eids in the Islamic calendar: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. On these days, Muslims wish each other Eid mubarak, the phrase featured in Islamic calligraphy on the stamp.

Eid mubarak translates literally as “blessed festival,” and can be paraphrased “May your religious holiday be blessed.” This phrase can be applied to both Ed al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

The stamp was developed with the assistance of Muslim consultants and experts in Islamic studies. Employing traditional methods and instruments to create the stamp’s design, calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya chose a script known in Arabic as thuluth and in Turkish as sulus. He describes it as “the choice script for a complex composition due to its open proportions and sense of balance.” He used homemade black ink, and his pens were crafted from seasoned reeds from the Near East and Japanese bamboo from Hawaii. The paper was specially prepared with a coating of starch and three coats of alum and egg-white varnish, then burnished with an agate stone and aged for more than a year.

Zakariya’s black-and-white design was then colorized by computer. The colors chosen for the stamp—gold script on a blue background—are reminiscent of great works of Islamic calligraphy.


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