Women in the Postal Service and Philately

Topical Reference Page
Catherine Lemmon Manning, former Curator of National Philatelic Collection, looking at a stamp album

Catherine Lemmon Manning (1881-1957), Curator of National Philatelic Collection, 1922-1951

From the depictions of prominent and remarkable women on American postage stamps to the role of women within the US postal system, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum’s website has something for everyone. A series of featured collections showcases the many and varied women celebrated on American stamps. Web visitors can learn more about the role of women in the history of America’s postal system, from famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart, to relatively unknown colonial postmaster Mary Katherine Goddard.

Image: Catherine L. Manning

1963 March on Washington 37c cent postage stamp with painting of a crowd holding signs
Delight in the colorful world of the paintings of Alma Thomas with the National Postal Museum and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Educators explore Thomas’s life and work through museum objects, a children’s book, and postage stamps.
postage stamp featuring an illustration of Amelia Earhart standing with a plane in the background
Take a look at pilot Amelia Earhart’s compelling story. Educators explore Earhart’s life and accomplishments through museum objects and a children’s book.
A Forever stamp with illustration of Celia Cruz singing
Learn about the inspirational life of Celia Cruz, an Afro-Cuban singer whose talent and charisma helped to popularize salsa music in the United States.
Eugenie Clark stamp featuring a shark and Eugenie Clark wearing a snorkle
Dive into the story of scientist Eugenie Clark with the National Postal Museum and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
Stamp featuring a portrait of Rachel Carson
Explore the life of celebrated environmentalist Rachel Carson with the National Postal Museum and Smithsonian Gardens.
Ruth Asawa and a sheet of stamps showing her artwork
Learn about the fascinating life of Ruth Asawa, a Japanese American artist whose sculptures are featured on a set of postage stamps issued by the USPS in August 2020.
Jeanette C. Rudy
Exhibition
Lovely, alluring duck stamps have captivated many collectors, including Jeanette Cantrell Rudy. The indomitable Mrs. Rudy, however, occupies a niche all her own. Over a fifty-year span, she assembled the hobby’s foremost collection. Further, as a philanthropist, businesswoman, conservationist, lifelong collector, and hunter, she has transcended stereotypes in each category, claiming distinction as a woman in domains dominated by men.
April 15, 2004 - January 11, 2005
Exhibition

Kristen Ollies started her collection in 1999, when she was in fifth grade. Her collection has grown to an award-winning private collection of 48 album pages.

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This article explores the fascinating history and lives of female postal workers from the American Revolution to the present. A number of women share their postal stories in the site’s third section, “In Their Own Words.”
Exhibition

This virtual exhibition is the first in a series of four focusing on the accomplishments of women featured on stamps. In Women on Stamps: Part 1, we acknowledge the efforts of pioneering women and early government leaders who entered previously unexplored territories - from the frontier to the Senate floor.

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Exhibition

This virtual exhibition is the second in a series of four focusing on the accomplishments of women featured on stamps. In Women on Stamps: Part 2, we feature women who pioneered in the fields of health, education, science, philanthropy, aviation and athletics.

Learn more

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