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James Oglethorpe Commemorative Stamp
In 1932, Oglethorpe University president Thornwell Jacobs purchased a contemporary portrait of Georgia's founder in London. He brought the painting back to Atlanta, where it has since hung in the president's office. In 1933, the U.S. Post Office featured an engraved version of the newly acquired portrait on a commemorative stamp issued to mark the 200th anniversary of the founding of Georgia (actually the arrival of the first colonists).
First day of issue ceremonies were held in Savannah. Special souvenir envelopes were sold by the Jaycees for creating first day covers. However, the release came before the Post Office began preparing special "first day of issue" cancellations, so the ordinary cancel for Feb. 12, 1933 was used. Interestingly, Jaycees in other cities around the state had adapted the cachet used in Savannah for souvenir "second day of issue" cancellations. Oglethorpe University also had a special second day of issue ceremony.
Georgia founder James Oglethorpe was born in London on Dec. 22, 1696. Growing up in nearby Surrey, he attend Oxford before performing military service on the continent in the campaign against the Turks. Oglethorpe returned to his hometown of Godalming, where in 1722 he was elected to represent the voters of nearby Haslemere in Parliament. In 1729, Oglethorpe chaired a committee that investigated the condition of London's prisons. During the investigation he became aware of the plight of jailed debtors, which led to launch a movement to create a new British colony in America to send England's worthy poor. After many delays, King George II finally signed a charter for the new colony of Georgia -- though by now imperial and economic considerations had joined charity as a reason for the colony's creation. In Nov. 1732, Oglethorpe sailed with 114 colonists bound for the new colony. They finally sailed up the Savannah River to Yamacraw Bluff on Feb. 1, 1733 (Feb. 12 New Style). Here, they began the settlement of Savannah. After defeating a Spanish invasion on St. Simons Island in 1742, Oglethorpe returned to England never to return. There, he married and lived over four decades, dying on June 30, 1785.
For more information on James Oglethorpe, click here.
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