Thirty commemorative US stamps (not including Champion of Liberty Issues)
were issued between 1961 and 1962, making an average output of about fifteen commemorative stamp issues per
This was a significant period in the philatelic history of America, including a special issue announcing the beginning of American space exploration, the first annual issue of seasonal US stamps for greeting cards and correspondence mailed during the Christmas holiday season, and the introduction of a special series of commemorative US stamps in remembrance of the 100th Anniversary of the American Civil War.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the left, was issued on February 2, 1961 to stress the importance of Range Conservation and to publicize the meeting of the American Society of Range Management in Washington, D.C.
The design of these US stamps features "The Trail Boss", from a drawing by Charles M. Russell (1864-1926), the famous artist of the old American West, and a modern range.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the right, was issued on May 10, 1961 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Kansas Statehood.
The design features a Sunflower, a pioneer couple, and a military stockade. The Sunflower is the state flower of Kansas.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the left, was issued on July 11, 1961 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of George W. Norris.
George W. Norris (1861-1944) served as the State Senator from Nebraska from 1913 to 1943. He was known for being a leader of progressive causes in the U.S. Congress. Though a Republican, he often championed liberal causes, and he supported the unions. One of his greatest achievements in the U.S. Senate was actually the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the right, was issued on August 20, 1961 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Naval Aviation.
The design of these US stamps features a U.S. Navy biplane of 1911 and the Naval Air Corps Wings. It must be noted that the U.S. Air Force did not exist until after World War II. Before that time, the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy maintained their own Air Corps.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the left, was issued on September 4, 1961 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the First Workman's Compensation Law, enacted by the Wisconsin State Legislature.
The design features the scales of justice, along with a factory and a worker and his family.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the right, was issued on October 4, 1961 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Frederic Remington, known as the "artist of the West".
The design of these US stamps features the detail of part of "The Smoke Signal", a 1905 painting by Frederic Remington (1861-1909).
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the left, was issued on October 10, 1961 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Republic of China (now Taiwan).
The design features Dr. Sun Yat-Sen (1866-1925), the founder and first president of the Republic of China (mainland).
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the right, was issued on November 6, 1961 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball.
James Naismith (1861-1939) was a Canadian-American physical education coach and innovator. In 1891 he invented the game of Basketball. He wrote the original basketball rulebook, and he later founded the University of Kansas basketball program, serving as their coach from 1898 to 1907. He lived long enough to see his sport become an official Olympic event, beginning with the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the left, was issued on December 28, 1961 as a tribute to the Nursing Profession.
The design features a student nurse, lighting a candle.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the right, was issued on February 14, 1962 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Arizona Statehood.
The design features a Giant Saguaro Cactus, the symbol of the State of Arizona.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above was issued on January 6, 1962 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of New Mexico Statehood.
The design of these US stamps features the Shiprock (7,178 ft.), located in the Navaho Nation, near the Four Corners Region of New Mexico. It plays an important role in Navaho religion, mythology, and tradition.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above was issued on February 20, 1962 to celebrate Project Mercury and the First Orbital Space Flight of a U.S. astronaut, Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn.
The design, creation, printing, and scheduled issue of this 4 C. denomination commemorative stamp was a closely guarded United States Federal Government SECRET! This would be the first time in history that a stamp had been issued, simultaneously, at the end of the event that it commemorated.
The designer, Charles R. Chickering (1891-1970), worked from home on the design, while claiming to be on vacation. The engravers worked nights and weekends, creating the plates, with the claim that they were on leave.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing moved a Giori Press to a locked room, under the premise that it was being used for a test printing of multicolored banknotes. It was actually being used to print the Project Mercury stamps, which were then wrapped in brown paper wrappers.
The new stamps were loaded into mailbags that were padlocked and marked CLASSIFIED MATERIAL - DO NOT OPEN. The mailbags were then shipped to postal inspectors at 305 larger post offices across the United States. None of the postmasters or postal clerks at these post offices knew what was in the mailbags.
Why was all this done? What if the first United States manned orbital space flight had failed? Had that occurred, the stamps would have been destroyed, and the American public would have never known the stamps ever existed!
Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn (born 1921), blasted-off on-board the Mercury 13 - Friendship 7 spacecraft at 10:47 EST on February 20, 1962. The spacecraft completed three orbits of the Earth, and about five hours later, it safely splashed-down in the Atlantic Ocean. America's first manned orbital space flight was a success!
At 15:30 EST on Tuesday, February 20, 1962, the calls came from Washington, D.C., and the postmasters at the 305 post offices were instructed to unwrap the new US stamps and to place them on sale.
That didn't give first-day-cover collectors on the East Coast much time, before the post offices closed on that day. As a result, first-day-covers of this stamp are scarce.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the left, was issued on March 30, 1962 to promote the World Health Organization's Malaria Eradication Program.
The design features the Great Seal of the United States and the World Health Organization emblem.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the right, was issued on April 30, 1962 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Louisiana Statehood.
The design of these US stamps features a riverboat on the Mississippi River.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the left, was issued on April 11, 1962 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Charles Evans Hughes.
Charles Evans Hughes (1862-1948) was an American statesman, lawyer, and a Republican Party politician from the State of New York. He served as the Governor of New York (1907-1910), an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court (1910-1916), the Secretary of State of the United States (1921-1925), and the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court (1930-1941). He was also the Republican candidate in the 1916 U.S. presidential election, losing by a very narrow margin to the incumbent, Woodrow Wilson.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the right, was issued on April 25, 1962 for the Seattle World's Fair, also known as the Century 21 International Exhibition, held in Seattle, Washington from April 21 through October 21, 1962.
The design of these US stamps features the "Space Needle" and the monorail, both symbols of the Seattle World's Fair. The fair, whose theme was "Living in the Space Age", drew almost ten million visitors.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the left, was issued on May 20, 1962 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Homestead Act.
The design features a sod hut and settlers.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the right, was issued on July 24, 1962 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts of America.
The design features a senior Girl Scout and the American flag.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the left, was issued on July 28, 1962 to honor Brien McMahon and the Atomic Energy Act of 1946.
Brien McMahon (1903-1952) was an American lawyer and Democratic Party politician, serving as the Connecticut State Senator from 1945 to 1952. He was the author of the Atomic Energy Act, also called the McMahon Act, of 1946. His work resulted in the establishment of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1947.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the right, was issued on August 31, 1962 to honor the National Apprenticeship Program and to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the National Apprenticeship Act.
The design depicts a machinist handing a micrometer to an apprentice.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the left, was issued on September 16, 1962 in memory of Sam Rayburn.
Sam Rayburn (1882-1961) was the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for three terms, totaling seventeen years, between 1940 and 1961.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the right, was issued on November 1, 1962 for use as a Christmas themed definitive stamp on holiday greeting cards and letters. This was the first stamp issue of what would become an annual tradition of issuing holiday-themed US stamps every November.
The design features a wreath and candles.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the left, was issued on October 23, 1962 as a memorial to Dag Hammarskjold.
Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961) was a Swedish diplomat and author and the 2nd Secretary General of the United Nations from 1953 to 1961. He was killed in an airplane crash, in route to peace talks in Africa, on September 18, 1961. He was very highly regarded for his peacekeeping efforts around the world, and U.S. President John F. Kennedy referred to him as "the greatest statesman of our century".
The design of these US stamps features a view of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City and a portrait of Dag Hammarskjold.
Shortly after these stamps were issued, some of them were discovered with the yellow color inverted! With the intention of averting a frenzy of speculation in the recently discovered errors, the U.S. Post Office Department re-issued the Dag Hammarskjold stamps, with the new stamps having the yellow color inverted.
The 4 C. denomination Dag Hammarskjold stamp shown above, at the right, was re-issued on November 16, 1962, with the yellow color inverted. Plate blocks of this stamp show the yellow plate number inverted. These errors were issued in such large quantities that, even today, they are very common and inexpensive.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the left, was issued on November 14, 1962 to promote Higher Education and to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the law creating the Land-Grant Colleges.
The design features a map of the United States and an oil lamp.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above, at the right, was issued on December 15, 1962 to honor Winslow Homer, the famous American painter.
The design of these US stamps features "Breezing Up", the 1876 painting by Winslow Homer (1836-1910), which was first exhibited at the Centennial Exposition.
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The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above was issued on February 3, 1961 to honor Horace Greeley, the famous American publisher and editor.
Horace Greeley (1811-1872) was the editor of the New York Tribune newspaper. He was also active in politics, having served briefly as a congressman from New York, and having run for President in 1872 against Ulysses S. Grant.
He is probably best remembered for an editorial article he wrote in 1865, promoting Western expansion as part of the American ideal of Manifest Destiny. His words were " ... go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country".
The American Civil War was fought over disagreements in two ideologies .... State sovereignty, in complying with laws established by the federal government, and slavery, in particular, the expansion of slavery into new Western territories.
The war was fought between the secessionist Confederate States (the South or the Confederacy) and the United States (the North or the Union) from 1861 through 1865.
The Confederate States of America (CSA) was never recognized as a sovereign nation by any foreign government. After the surrender of the Army of Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee, in 1865, the government of the Confederate States of America quickly collapsed.
The American Civil War resulted in over 600,000 casualties, destroyed the economic infrastructure of the Southern states, and resulted in the passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery.
To commemorate the centenary of this monumental event in American history, the U.S. Post Office Department issued a special stamp each year, between 1961 and 1965, to commemorate a significant military engagement of that war. They will all be described below.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above was issued on April 12, 1961 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Sumter.
The first military engagement of the Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery batteries opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Bay. On April 14, 1861, the U.S. Army commander of Fort Sumter agreed to evacuate the fort, resulting in a Confederate victory.
The occupation of the fort did little for the Confederacy, as the U.S. Navy blockaded all the Southern ports for the entire war, shutting down any hopes, by the Confederate States government, of establishing any foreign trade.
The 4 C. denomination stamp shown above was issued on April 7, 1962 to commemorate the Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing.
A Union Army, under the command of Major General Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) had moved down the Tennessee River and was encamped at Pittsburg Landing. A Confederate Army, under the command of General Albert Sidney Johnston (1803-1862) and General P. G. T. Beauregard (1818-1893) launched a surprise attack on April 7, 1862.
The battle ended on April 8, 1862, with a Union victory, but the carnage was enormous. The Union Army suffered 13,047 casualties, and the Confederate Army suffered 10,699 casualties. Confederate General Johnston was wounded and bled to death during the battle, giving him the distinction of being the only General on either side to be killed during the American Civil War.
Early in the war, General Grant had envisioned that one great battle would bring the war to a close. He was mistaken, and the Battle of Shiloh was an indicator that there would be much more carnage yet to come.
The 5 C. denomination stamp shown above was issued on July 1, 1963 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
The most decisive battle of the American Civil War was fought near the little farm town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania between July 1 and July 3, 1863. The Union Army of the Potomac (93,921 men) was commanded by Major General George Meade (1815-1872), and the Confederate Army of Virginia (71,699 men) was commanded by General Robert E. Lee. General Lee's objective was to invade the North, engage the Union Army, and to destroy it.
The three day battle was ultimately a Union victory, but it resulted in 23,055 Union Army casualties and 23,231 Confederate Army casualties, the heaviest losses of any battle during the American Civil War. After the battle, the Confederate Army retreated back to Virginia, and they would never forage into Union territory again.
The 5 C. denomination stamp shown above was issued on May 5, 1964 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of The Wilderness.
The Battle of the Wilderness, fought in Spotsylvania County and Orange County, Virginia, was the first battle of Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 campaign against General Robert E. Lee's Army of Virginia.
The battle was inconclusive, but it did result in 17,666 Union Army casualties and 11,033 Confederate Army casualties. This was the beginning of the war of attrition against Lee's army, which General Grant would relentlessly wage through the end of the war. Grant disengaged his army from the battle, and then continued on his campaign to capture the Confederate Capitol, Richmond, Virgina.
The 5 C. denomination stamp shown above was issued on April 9, 1965 to commemorate the Surrender of the Army of Virginia at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia.
By April 1865, what remained of the Army of Virginia was entrenched, in defensive posture, around the Confederate Capitol of Richmond, Virginia. With insufficient supplies, the shortage of food and clothing for the army, and General Grant's relentless shelling of the city, General Lee realized that the situation was hopeless.
There was a brief battle on the morning of April 9, 1865, resulting in a decisive Union victory. General Robert E. Lee then mounted his horse, and rode under a flag of truce to the home of Wilmer McLean in Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. There, he formerly surrendered to General-of-the-Army Ulysses S. Grant.
The fighting went on for a short time in other parts of the Confederacy, but for all intents and purposes, the Army of Virginia had surrendered, the Confederate Capitol had been captured, and the government of the Confederate States of America ceased to exist.
The American Civil War was over!
President Abraham Lincoln instructed General Grant to pardon the soldiers of the Army of Virginia and to send them all home. Lincoln's intent was reconciliation with and charity towards the people of the South, during their re-integration into the Union.
With the assassination of President Lincoln later that month though, it didn't work out that way. The new President and the U. S. Government adopted a much harsher attitude towards the people of the South, during the Reconstruction Era from 1865 to 1877.