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2010 Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium:

“Stamps and the Mail: Imagery, Icons, & Identity”
Thursday and Friday, September 30 - October 1, 2010
Smithsonian National Postal Museum

Freedom of Speech and Religion, From Want and Fear- 1 cent Four Freedoms Issue, 1943
Four Freedoms Issue, 1943

Our symposia to date have largely looked at stamps in terms of the work they perform moving the mail in various ways (transportation) and under various conditions (wartime), but what about the stamps themselves. As they have evolved since 1840, their designs, initially a secondary function, are now encoded with historical, cultural, and political messages. Stamps, as official government documents, can be treated as primary resources designed to convey specific political and esthetic messages. Other topics and themes for the symposium are: Stamp design’s influence on advertising envelopes and bulk mailings, censorship of stamps as propaganda as used on letters, and the role of the citizens' stamp committee or organizations that generate the designs.

In A Common Determination- 3 cent National Recovery Act Issue, 1933
National Recovery Act Issue, 1933

Keynote Speaker
Jack Child
Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies
Acting Chair, Department of Language and Foreign Studies
Affiliate Professor of International Relations, SIS
American University - Washington D.C.

Jack’s latest book, Miniature Messages: The Semiotics and Politics of Latin American Postage Stamps (2008 Duke University Press) considers the postage stamp to be a unique kind of sign, with an impressive capacity to convey a number of messages in a very small space.

Remember You're An American. Live! Think! Act! The American Way. AmericanISM The Only Ism Worthy of Loyalty- WWII Patriotic cover sticker
WWII Patriotic cover sticker

Conference co‐chairs are David L. Straight, Ken Martin and Thomas Lera. Please e‐mail questions to

Sponsored by American Philatelic Society, American Philatelic Research Library, Smithsonian National Postal Museum