Franklin D. Roosevelt, President during the Great Depression, used stamps to communicate with the American people. A stamp collector himself, he understood the power of visual imagery, and he changed the look of stamps to convey messages of hope, optimism and the solidity of the federal government.
Opening June 9, “Delivering Hope: FDR & Stamps of the Great Depression” offers novel insights into FDR’s personality, his relationship with his trusted advisor and friend, Postmaster General James A. Farley, and his concern for the welfare of the American people.
The rewards of stamp collecting filtered through much of FDR’s life. As a child, he looked to stamps for knowledge about the world. As a polio-stricken adult, they offered solace. Even during his presidency, he took time each day to work on his stamp collection. In this exhibit are FDR’s stamp tools, such as a magnifier, gauge, watermark detector and a box for albums, on loan from the FDR library. Other highlights of the exhibit are six original sketches by FDR for stamp designs, as well as 15 of the 20 uncut and ungummed press sheets of postage stamps purchased by Farley and autographed to give as political favors, which led to the scandal and special printing known as Farley’s Follies. For more information about the exhibit, go to Delivering Hope.
The National Postal Museum is devoted to presenting the colorful and engaging history of the nation’s mail service and showcasing the largest and most comprehensive collection of stamps and philatelic material in the world. It is located at 2 Massachusetts Ave. N.E., in the Old City Post Office Building across from Union Station. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information visit the museum’s Web site at postalmuseum.si.edu.
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