The Post Office Department issued the Columbians, the first U.S. commemorative stamps, in 1893. Released in conjunction with Chicago's 1893 world’s fair, the stamps celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's landing in America and helped elevate him to heroic stature. They also inspired Americans to think of themselves as adventurous world leaders just at the time that America emerged as a military and economic powerhouse. Forty-seven U.S. stamps have honored Christopher Columbus, including numerous issues in 1992 celebrating the 500th anniversary of his first journey.
To date, well over three thousand U.S. commemorative stamps have celebrated outstanding individuals, places, animals, plants, and feats. All make a statement about America's national culture. The subjects featured range from Irish immigration to the moon landing, from Native American pottery to famous architects and lighthouses and zeppelins. If you want to suggest a subject for a commemorative stamp, send a letter with the historical information and the important dates associated with the subject at least three years prior to the desired time of issue to the following address:
The Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee
U.S. Postal Service, Stamp Development, Room 4474-E
475 L'Enfant Plaza SW
Washington, DC, 20260-2437