Georgia on Stamps

Christmas Stamp Released in Bethlehem, Georgia, 1967


Source: Ed Jackson

On Nov. 6, 1967, the U.S. Post Office released its annual Christmas stamp in first-day-of-issue ceremonies in Bethlehem, Ga. The stamp’s image is based on the painting “Madonna and Child with Angels,” which hangs in the National Gallery of Art. The painting was by Hans Memling, a Flemish master of the Renaissance.

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Woodrow Wilson 25, 1925


Source: Ed Jackson

Woodrow Wilson Stamp (1925)

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Eli Whitney, 1940


Source: Ed Jackson

On Oct. 7, 1940, the U.S. Post Office held first-day-of-issue ceremonies in Savannah for 1-cent commemorative stamp that shows Eli Whitney. The stamp was one of 35 stamps in the “Famous Americans” series issued that year. Whitney was one of five great American inventors honored in the series.

Born in Massachusetts in 1765, Whitney graduated from Yale College in 1792. He was subsequently hired by Catharine Greene, widow of Gen. Nathanael Green, to tutor her children at Mulberry Grove Plantation outside of Savannah. At the time, cotton was not a major agricultural crop in the South. However, in 1793, after hearing planters talking about the difficulty of separating cotton seed from the fiber, Whitney invented a machine he called a cotton gin that would do this mechanically. Suddenly, cotton, a valuable cash crop, and cotton farming quickly spread into the interior of Georgia and other southern states. This drove up the need for slave labor, which eventually contributed to a national crisis over slavery that led to the Civil War.

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Stand Watie, 1995


Source: Ed Jackson

On June 29,1995, the U.S. Post Office issued a set of 20 commemorative stamps showing 16 individuals and 4 battles of the Civil War. Official first day of issue ceremonies were held in front of the Cyclorama Center at the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. A pictorial cancellation showing a Civil War cannon was available at the ceremony. However, as the Postal Service also released the set of stamps nationwide, numerous unofficial first day of issue cancellations were possible.

One of the stamps shows Stand Watie on horseback after a raid on a Union river boat that can be seen burning in the background. On the back of the stamp is the notation:

Confederate Brig. General

Stand Watie (De-ga-do-ga)

1806-1870

Known for guerrilla tactics

tying down Union trooos.

Sole CSA Indian General

raised Cherokee regiment,

fought at Pea Ridge, captured

federal steamboat. Last

CSA General to surrender.

Stand Watie was born in the Oothcaloga Valley south of present-day Calhoun, Ga. in 1806 [some sources say Dec. 12]. He was the son of David Watie (Oo-watie) and brother of Buck Watie (who took the name of Elias Boudinot). David Watie was the brother of Major Ridge, which made the noted Cherokee leader their uncle and his son – John Ridge – their cousin. In time, the three cousins and Major Ridge came to the conclusion that keeping whites out of the Cherokee Nation in the East was hopeless. This was especially true after gold was discovered on Cherokee land in 1828 and Pres. Andrew Jackson refused to enforce the Supreme Court’s Worcester v. Georgia decision in 1832. Consequently, they became leaders of a Cherokee faction supporting removal to the West. On Dec. 29, 1835, they signed the Treaty of New Echota giving up all claims to lands in the East in return for compensation and land west of the Mississippi River. Other Cherokees led by John Ross bitterly opposed the treaty and fought removal, but the U.S. Senate ratified the treaty. Three years later, the U.S. enforced Cherokee removal in what came to be known as the Trail of Tears.

Stand Watie, Elias Boudinot and the Ridges emigrated to the Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma in 1837. In June 1839, all but Watie were assassinated by execution squads for having signed the Treaty of New Echota. Watie escaped after being warned that he was targeted. In time, he became a wealthy planter and slave owner in the Indian Territory. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Watie sided with the Confederacy and was commissioned as a colonel in July 1861. Watie raised a regiment known as the Cherokee Mounted Volunteers and fought in Arkansas and the Battle of Pea Ridge (Elk Horn Tavern). Because many Cherokees were loyal to the Union, Watie spent much of the rest of the war waging guerrilla warfare in the Indian Territory and adjacent states. In May 1864, he was promoted to brigadier general – becoming the highest ranking Indian to fight in the Civil War. On June 23, 1865, over two months after Lee’s surrender, Cherokee Stand Watie became the last Confederate general to surrender his forces. Following the war, Watie unsuccessfully tried to rebuild his fortune. He died on Sept. 9, 1871 [not 1870 as indicated on the back of the stamp] in Delaware County, Oklahoma.

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Pop Warner 2, 1997


Source: Ed Jackson

In addition to the 4 Legendary Football Coaches stamps issued jointly as a single sheet on July 25, 1997, the Postal Service issued a second version of each stamp that recognized each coach with a sheet of 20 stamps of just that coach. (The second version differs from the July 25 stamp by the inclusion of a red bar above each coach’s name.) First-day-of-issue ceremonies for the second version of each stamp were held in the state most associated with that coach. Also, the second version could only be purchased at post offices in the state where issued.

On August 8, 1997, the second version of the Pop Warner stamp was issued in first-day ceremonies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Though Warner started his coaching career at the University of Georgia, where he coached the 1895 and 1896 seasons, Warner spent most of his coaching career in Pennsylvania.

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Pop Warner 1, 1997


Source: Ed Jackson

This Pop Warner commemorative stamp was issued July 25, 1997 at the Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio as part of a 4-stamp set honoring football coaching legends. Other coaches honored in the set are Bear Bryant, Vince Lombardi, and George Halas. The four different stamps were issued together on a single sheet of 20 stamps, each stamp appearing 5 times. (A second version of each stamp was issued in August 1997.)

Glenn S. Warner was born April 5, 1871 in Springville, New York. After graduating from Cornell University, he became the football coach of the University of Georgia. He coached two seasons (1895 -96) at Georgia, with the team going undefeated in his final season.

Pop Warner died on September 7, 1954 in Palo Alto, California.

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Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, 1987


Source: Ed Jackson

On June 13, 1987, the U.S. Postal Service issued a sheet of 50 different stamps commemorating American wildlife. Many of the animals in the sheet are native to Georgia, but two – the Tiger Swallowtail butterfly and the Bobwhite – are official state symbols of Georgia. On April 4, 1988, Gov. Joe Frank Harris signed an act of the General Assembly naming the Tiger Swallowtail as Georgia’s official state butterfly to mark the opening of the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens in 1988.

This American wildlife stamps marked the third time for the U.S. to issue a sheet of 50 different stamps (the first two occasions being the sheet of 50 state flags issued in 1976 to mark the American Bicentennial and the sheet of 50 state bird and flower stamps issued in 1982).

Interestingly, although the theme of the stamps was American wildlife, official first day of issue ceremonies were held in Toronto, Canada in conjunction with opening ceremonies for CAPEX 87 International Philatelic Exhibition. Additionally, the Postal Service had special pictorial cancellations prepared for release of the stamps simultaneously at Yellowstone, Yosemite, Everglades, and seven other U.S. national parks.

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Henry O. Tanner, 1973


Source: Ed Jackson

On Sept. 10, 1973, the U.S. Postal Service issued an 8-cent commemorative stamp honoring African-American artist Henry Ossawa Tanner. The stamp was not issued in conjunction with the anniversary of any event in his life, but rather it was one of four stamps in the American Arts series issued during 1973. First day of issue ceremonies were held in Pittsburgh, Penn.

Henry O. Tanner was born June 21, 1859 in Pittsburgh, Penn. His father was a college graduate and Methodist minister. Growing up, Henry exhibited artistic talent. At age 21, he began formal training at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Tanner moved to Georgia, where he taught art at Atlanta University and also operated a photography business. Later, he studied art in Paris at the Academie Julien, where he painted one of his most famous paintings – Daniel in the Lions’ Den. Tanner traveled to the Holy Land, where he continued to paint biblical subjects. Back in the U.S., he held a series of one-man shows and continued to gain in fame for his art. Returning to Paris, he gained great fame as an artist until his death on May 25, 1937 in Paris.

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Stone Mountain Memorial, 1970


Source: Ed Jackson

This stamp was issued September 19, 1970, four months after formal dedication of the Stone Mountain Memorial carving on the side of Stone Mountain near Atlanta. The stamp shows Confederate president Jefferson Davis, as well as Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

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“Savannah” Steamship, 1994


Source: Ed Jackson

This 3-cent stamp commemorates the 125th anniversary of the first steam-powered ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. On May 22, 1819, the Savannah sailed from Savannah, Ga., arriving in Liverpool, England 28 days later on June 20.

The stamp was released on May 22, 1944, which also marked National Maritime Day. First day of issue ceremonies were held in Savannah. The Post Office Department also released the stamp for sale on May 22 in Kings Point, New York, home of the U.S. Mercant Marine Academy.

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William T. Sherman 1995, 1995


Source: Ed Jackson

On June 29,1995, the U.S. Post Office issued a set of 20 commemorative stamps showing 16 individuals and 4 battles of the Civil War. Official first day of issue ceremonies were held in front of the Cyclorama Center at the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. A pictorial cancellation showing a Civil War cannon was available at the ceremony. However, as the Postal Service also released the set of stamps nationwide, numerous unofficial first day of issue cancellations were possible.

One of the stamps shows Union Gen. William T. Sherman standing with a pair of field glasses and marching troops in the background. Presumably, the scene portrays Sherman during his Atlanta Campaign or the following March to the Sea. On the back of the stamp is the notation:

Union Major General

William Tecumseh Sherman

1820 - 1891

Blunt, grizzled strategist

distinguished himself at Shi-

loh and Vicksburg. Captured

Atlanta. Introduced total war-

fare in the March across GA

and through the Carolinas.

Negotiated lenient peace.

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William T. Sherman 37, 1937


Source: Ed Jackson

This stamp – honoring Union generals William T. Sherman, Ulysses S. Grant, and Philip H. Sheridan – was issued Feb. 18, 1937 in Washington DC. It was part of a ten-stamp series commemorating the U.S. Army and Navy.

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William T. Sherman 95, 1895


Source: Ed Jackson

This stamp, issued March 25, 1895, was part of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s 1894-95 issue. The engraved stamp is violet brown in color. It is of the same design as the 1893 issue, except for the addition of triangles in the upper left and right corners.

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William T. Sherman 93, 1893


Source: Ed Jackson

This stamp was issued Mar. 21, 1893. The engraved, lilac-colored stamp was printed by the American Bank Note Co.

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Sequoyah, 1980


Source: Ed Jackson

On Dec. 27, 1980, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 19-cent stamp honoring Sequoyah, inventor of the Cherokee syllabary. Official first day of issue ceremonies were held Tahlequah, Oklahoma (which was once served as capital of the Western Cherokee Nation). [Click here to view first day covers of the Sequoyah stamp.]The stamp was part of the Postal Services “Great Americans” series of definitive stamps. Other Georgians honored in that series are Abraham Baldwin, Margaret Mitchell, and Richard Russell.

Sequoyah, who also had the white name of George Guess (though he could speak no English), is believed to have been born around 1773 in the portion of the Cherokee Nation that fell in Georgia. He devised a set of written characters and symbols that could be used to represent spoken syllables in the Cherokee language. His syllabary made possible a written constitution and newspaper – the Cherokee Phoenix – for the Cherokees before their forced removal to Oklahoma in 1838 in what was known as the Trail of Tears. Realizing that removal was inevitable, Sequoyah joined a group of Cherokees that migrated to Arkansas in 1822. Sequoyah died near San Fernando, Mexico in 1843.

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Richard Russell, 1984


Source: Ed Jackson

After the death of U.S. Senator Richard Russell in 1971, some friends began initial efforts to get a U.S. stamp issued to honor Georgia’s veteran politician. The effort became much more serious in 1980, when Georgia senator Sam Nunn, 67 other members of Congress, and the Richard B. Russell Foundation formally requested that the U.S. Postal Service issue a Russell stamp.

The Postal Service, however, has a long series of rules that govern issuing new commemorative stamps. For example, except for a deceased president, the person being honored must have been dead for at least ten years. Generally, a commemorative stamp is only issued on a significant anniversary (e.g., centennial) related to the person or thing being honored. After considerable pressure, the Postal Service proposed that Russell be recognized with a stamp issued on the centennial of his birth. Supporters of a Russell stamp, however, didn’t like this idea–since that would mean a stamp could not be issued until 1997.

Meanwhile, a Richard B. Russell Commemorative Stamp Committee had been formed and was soliciting letters in favor of a Russell stamp from all over the U.S. Finally, in March 1983, Pres. Richard Nixon stepped in and asked Postmaster General William Bolger to issue a Russell stamp. In the face of overwhelming political pressure, the Postal Service announced that a Russell stamp would be issued in 1984. However, it would not officially be a “commemorative stamp” – rather it would be a “definitive” (or regular) stamp. The distinction is that commemorative stamps usually are larger, have one printing, are available only for a limited time, are issued according to special rules, and are issued in the denomination for one ounce of first-class domestic postage. Definitive stamps may honor someone, but they are smaller in size, are often available for several years, can be issued without regard for the rules for commemorative stamps, and are issued in a wide variety of denominations.

The Russell stamp would be a 10-cent issue in the “Great Americans” definitive stamp series (which also includes the Margaret Mitchell and Abraham Baldwin stamps). Originally, the Postal Service announced the Russell stamp would be issued Nov. 2, 1984 – the 87th anniversary of his birth – but that date was changed (apparently because of need for a new supply of 10-cent stamps).

On May 31, 1984, the Postal Service released the 10-cent Richard Russell stamp in his birthplace of Winder, Ga., with first day of issue ceremonies at Fort Yargo State Park. Among those attending were U.S. senators Sam Nunn and Mack Mattingly, U.S. representatives Ed Jenkins (who masterminded the campaign for the stamp) and Doug Barnard, Postmaster General William Bolger, and many other friends and admirers of Russell.

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Franklin Roosevelt and the Little White House, 1945


Source: Ed Jackson

Issued Aug. 24, 1945 at first-day-of-issue ceremonies in Warm Springs, Georgia, this stamp shows President Franklin Roosevelt and the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia. This stamp was part of a series of four stamps issued to mark his death. Born in New York in 1882, Franklin Roosevelt was a frequent visitor to Georgia during his life. After contracting polio in 1921, he came for treatment in the thermal waters of Warm Springs, Georgia. In 1932, before taking office as president, he had the Little White House built at Warm Springs to live during his visits for treatment. In fact, Roosevelt was at the Little White House when he died from a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1845.

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Jackie Robinson, 1982


Source: Ed Jackson

On Aug. 2, 1982, the U.S. Postal Service released a 20-cent stamp commemorating baseball great Jackie Robinson as the fifth in the annual Black Heritage series of stamps. First day of issue ceremonies were held at the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Robinson was born on Jan. 31, 1919 in Cairo, Georgia. When he was young, his family moved to California. At UCLA, Robinson became a multi-sport athlete – averaging over eleven yards per carry in football, leading the conference in scoring in basketball for two years, winning the NCAA long jump title in track, and becoming a champion swimmer. After spending a year playing minor league baseball in Canada, Robinson made history when he broke professional baseball’s color barrier by playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Not only did Robinson excel at the game, but was masterful at controlling his emotions in the face of opposition to his playing. But breaking the color barrier was only one of many “firsts” for Robinson. He was also the first black to win the MVP award, the first black elected to the Hall of Fame (1962), and the first professional baseball player ever to appear on an American postage stamp. Upon retiring from baseball, Robinson starred in a movie about his life, wrote several autobiographical works, and had a weekly newspaer column and radio show. In 1972, the Dodgers retired Jackie Robinson’s number. That same year, he died in Stamford, Conn. on Oct. 24.

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Otis Redding, 1993


Source: Ed Jackson

This stamp was issued June 16, 1993 as part of a set of seven 29-cent commemorative stamps honoring music legends from the fields of rock & roll and rhythm & blues. In addition to Redding, featured in the set were stamps recognizing Elvis Presley, Bill Halley, Clyde McPhatter, Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly, and Dinah Washington. The set of stamps was printed as a souvenir sheet of 35 stamps and in booklets of 20 stamps.

The stamps were released with first day of issue ceremonies at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio at noon on June 16th. Three hours later, a second first day of issue ceremony was held on the pier at Santa Monica, Calif., with Dick Clark master of ceremonies. Subsequently, encore first day of issue ceremonies were held in Macon, Ga. (Redding’s birth place), as well as other cities of significance to the individual musicians. Also, the Postal Service released the set of stamps nationwide on the first day of issue.

Otis Redding was born in Dawson, Ga. on Sept. 9, 1941, though he was raised in Macon. Among his hit songs were “Respect,” “Try a Little Tenderness,” “[Sittin’ on] The Dock of the Bay,” and the 1966 album, “Dictionary of Soul.” Redding’s career ended in a Dec. 10, 1967 plane crash near Madison, Wisconsin.

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Ma Rainey, 1994


Source: Ed Jackson

This stamp was issued September 17, 1994 with first-day-of-issue ceremonies in Greenville, Mississippi. It is part of a 8-stamp set of stamps honoring great American jazz and blues singers.

Gertrude Pridgett Rainey, who as Ma Rainey was known as the “Mother of the Blues,” was born April 26, 1886 in Columbus, Georgia. She died December 22, 1939 in Rome, Georgia.

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Pulaski Postal Card, 1979


Source: Ed Jackson

The Postal Service issued this postal card on September 11, 1979 with first-day-of-issue ceremonies in Savannah. The design shows Count Pulaski on horseback at the siege of Savannah in 1779. Sometimes called the father of American cavalry, Pulaski came to Georgia in the fall of 1779. His land forces, joined by the French Navy, unsuccessfully attempted to dislodge British forces holding Savannah. On September 9, Pulaski was mortally wounded, and he died two days later.

This was the second time that Pulaski has been honored on an American stamp or postal card, the first being a 1931 commemorative stamp.

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Casimir Pulaski, 1931


Source: Ed Jackson

On Jan. 16, 1931, the U.S. Post Office Department issued this commemorative stamp honoring Polish patriot Casimir Pulaski, who fought with American forces during the American Revolution. The stamp was first released in Savannah, where he died, as well as in eleven American cities with large Polish populations.

The 2-cent stamp was released to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of Casimir Pulaski, who was mortally wounded in the siege of Savannah. However, as Pulaski died on Sept. 11, 1779, the stamp came over a year after the sesquicentennial of his death. However, on the bicentennial of Pulaski’s death in 1979, the Postal Service released a postal card showing him on horseback .

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POW-MIA, 1995


Source: Ed Jackson

On May 29, 1995, the U.S. Postal Service held first day of issue ceremonies in Washington, D.C. for a new 32-cent stamp commemorating American POWs and MIAs from all wars since 1777. Several groups had lobbied hard for this stamp and proposed other sites for its release. One such groups was the “Friends of Andersonville,” a volunteer organization that supports the Andersonville National Historic Site and Cemetery, as well serving as a vocal advocate in successfully lobbying Congress for locating a new National POW Museum at the National Park Service site.

The Friends of Andersonville thought they had a compelling case for bringing the first day of issue ceremonies for the POW-MIA stamp to the future home of the new National POW Museum (which was later dedicated on April 9, 1998). President Clinton, however, wanted to be involved in the stamp’s 1995 Memorial Day release, so the Postal Service decided to hold official first day ceremonies at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

As a concession to the various groups and sites that lobbied for official first day of issue ceremonies, the Postal Service decided to have a memorial Day national release of the stamp, leaving veterans organizations and others free to plan their own ceremonies. The only problem was that Memorial Day is a national holiday for federal employees, which meant few post offices would be open to sell the stamp.

At this point, Andersonville postmaster James Atkins obtained permission to keep his post office open on Memorial Day. To mark the POW-MIA stamp’s release, Atkins also secured expedited approval for a special pictorial cancel that showed a drawing of the National POW Museum.

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Peach, 1995


Source: Ed Jackson

On July 8, 1995, the U.S. Postal Service released two new stamps – one showing two peaches and one showing a pear – with first day of issue ceremonies held at the American Topical Association’s 1995 show in Reno, Nev. The stamps were issued as self-adhesives in booklet and coil formats, as well as regular gum in booklet format. The stamps were not commemorating peaches and pears; rather, they are what the Postal Service terms “definitive stamps” – that is, they are regular stamps printed in great quantities, available for long periods of time, and are designed to carry the mail rather than commemorate something. In this case, the peach and pear images were used to reflects an Americana theme.

Although the peach stamp had no specific connection to Georgia, three months before the stamp’s release, Gov. Zell Miller signed legislation designating the peach as the official state fruit of Georgia.

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Atlanta Olympics Sheet, 1996


Source: Ed Jackson

On May 2, 1996, the U.S. Postal Service held first day of issue ceremonies in Washington D.C. for a new sheet of 20 32-cent stamps commemorating the Atlanta’s 1996 Summer Olympics. The ceremonies were originally scheduled to have been held in Atlanta, but at the last minute the Postal Service switched the official release site to Washington D.C. Because many people had planned to attend the Atlanta ceremonies, the Postal Service allowed the Peachtree Center post office in downtown Atlanta to also sell the Olympic stamps on May 2.

Olympic sports featured on stamps in the sheet (along with the descriptive text that appears on the back of the stamp) are:

Men’s Cycling - Sprint cycling was one of the original events in the 1896 Games. It combines speed and strategy on a banked track. A women’s event was added in 1988.

Women’s Diving - Platform diving is performed from a board 10 meters above the water. The most difficult dive is the back 1 1/2 somersault with 4 1/2 twists. The U.S. has won over half the medals awarded in both men’s and women’s events.

Women’s Running - There are 8 women’s running events, from 100 meters to the marathon (26 miles, 385 yards). Until 1964, the longest race was only 200 meters.

Men’s Canoeing - Whitewater, or slalom, events were added temporarily in 1972 and permanently in 1988. Flatwater canoeing has been part of the Games since 1936.

Decathlon - The decathlon consists of 10 events. On the first day, athletes compete in the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, and 400-meter run. On the second day, they perform the 110-meter hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and 1500-meter run.

Women’s Soccer - Although men’s soccer has been a part of the Games since 1900, a women’s tournament will be held for the first time in 1996. Eight teams will take part.

Men’s Shot Put - The shot put has been included in all Games since 1896. A shot is a 16-pound ball of iron or brass. The United States has won 15 of 22 gold medals.

Women’s Sailboarding - The first sailboarding contest was included in the 1984 Los Angeles Games. A separate women’s event was added in 1992.

Women’s Gymnastics - Women gymnasts compete in an all-around event, a team event, floor exercises, balance beam, uneven bars, and vault. Contestants must be at least 15 years old by the end of 1996.

Freestyle Wrestling - Wrestling has 10 weight divisions. It is the only sport with a maximum weight limit; wrestlers must be less than 286 pounds. The United States has earned more medals than any other nation.

Women’s Softball - Softball will make its first appearance in the 1996 Games. The United States team is the world champion and one of the teams favored to win a medal.

Women’s Swimming - The women’s 400-meter freestyle event was first held in 1920; the 800-meter event was added in 1968. American women have won 15 of 24 gold medals in these events.

Men’s Sprinting Events - The 100 meters and 400 meters were part of the first Games in 1896. In the 100, 200, and 400 meters and the two sprint relays, the United States has won two-thirds of the gold medals.

Men’s Rowing - There will be 14 rowing events contested at the 1996 Games; 8 for men and 6 for women. For the first time, lightweight events will be included for men under 160 lbs. and for women under 130 lbs.

Beach Volleyball - Beach Volleyball, played with two-person teams, will be added to the Games program for the first time in 1996. There will be both men’s and women’s events.

Men’s Basketball - Since basketball first made its appearance in 1936, the United States has won 92 games and lost only 2. Professionals from the NBA were allowed to compete for the first time in 1992.

Equestrian - Equestrian is one of the only two sports in which women compete against men. The jumping event was first included in the 1900 Games. The sport was opened to women in 1952.

Men’s Gymnastics - Male gymnasts compete in 6 events; horizontal bar, parallel bars, vault, pommel horse, rings, and floor exercises. There are also an all-around event and a team event.

Men’s Swimming - The backstroke event was first included in the Games of 1900. There are now two events; the 100 meters, which is two lengths of the pool, and the 200 meters, which is four lengths.

Men’s Hurdles - The 110-meter hurdles event has been included in all Games since 1896. The United States has earned 48 medals. No other nation has won more than 5.

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U.S. Flag With Olympic Rings, 1991


Source: Ed Jackson

On April 21, 1991, the U.S. Postal Service issued a booklet of 10 29-cent stamps showing the U.S. flag above the Olympic Rings. First day of issue ceremonies were held in Atlanta on the final day of the city’s Dogwood Festival to mark Atlanta’s selection to host the 1996 Summer Olympics. Among the invited guests speaking at the first day ceremony were Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson and four-time gold medal Olympic discus hurler Al Oerter. Additionally, former Olympic winners from Georgia were introduced to the crowd.

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Centennial Olympic Games, 1996


Source: Ed Jackson

In late 1995, the U.S. Postal Service announced plans to issue a stamp to commemorate the centennial of the modern-era Olympic Games. The stamp would be in addition to a sheet of 20 different stamps commemorating different Olympic sports, an accompanying set of 20 different postal cards containing the same images, and a 1996 Paralympic Games stamped envelope – all issued May 2, 1996.

The design chosen to mark the Olympics’ centennial was Myron’s classic Discobolus statue. The original bronze statue of a discus thrower disappeared long ago, but Roman artists later made several copies in marble. The copy on which this stamp is based is housed at the Italian National Museum in Rome.

Myron, who lived in 5th-century B.C. Greece, was a well-known member of a new school of Greek art that incorporated motion into free-standing statues. In this case, Myron has caught a discus thrower at the peak of his backswing, poised for eternity just before spinning his body in powerful rotations to give the discus even greater speed at the moment of release. History does not record whether Discobolus recognized a particular Olympic athlete, but Myron is known to have produced other statues honoring specific heroes. In any event, it has evolved into a powerful symbol of the spirit of Olympic athletic competition – particular considering the fact that both the statue and the modern-day Olympic Games originated in Athens, Greece.

With the advent of the modern-day Olympics in 1896, host-country Greece issued a set of 12 Olympic stamps. Two of the issues featured the statue of Discobolus. The next country to utilize Myron’s famous work was Belgium, which in conjunction with hosting the 1920 Olympics, issued a semi-postal series of three stamps – one of which featured Discobolus. Interestingly, the surtax on the stamp went not to defray the cost of the Olympics but instead to benefit Belgian soldiers wounded in World War I.

So far, Discobolus has appeared on four U.S. stamps. In 1932, the U.S. hosted both the Winter and Summer Olympics. To mark the occasion, the U.S. issued its first Olympics commemorative stamps–one in January for the Winter Olympics and two in June to mark the Summer Olympics. Of the latter stamps, one was a 5-cent blue stamp showing the Discobolus statue.

Discobolus appeared a second time in 1948 on a stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of the American Turners, a society for the advancement of physical education and recreation that was popular in the first half of the 20th century. The statue was featured a third time on a 1965 stamp marking the centennial of the American Sokol Organization, an affiliate of an international gymnastic society.

The 1996 Olympic centennial stamp marked the fourth U.S. issue to incorporate Discobolus. Interestingly, pre-release publicity photographs of the stamp showed it to use a photograph of the statue, which creates a noticeably different appearance than the engraved version of the stamp actually issued. The 32-cent stamp was issued in sheets of 20 stamps.

First day of issue ceremonies for the Discobolus stamp were held on the seventh floor of Atlanta’s Merchandise Mart in conjunction with OLYMPHILEX ‘96 (Olympic Philatelic Exhibition 1996). What began as an international stamp exhibit and show sponsored by the International Olympic Committee, the quadrennial event held in conjunction with the Summer Olympic Games has expanded to include coins, pins, and other Olympic collectibles and memorabilia. A large crowd was present for the July 19 ceremonies unveiling the stamp, especially each members of the audience was given a souvenir program that contained the stamp and a first day of issue cancellation. Among the special guests honored by the Postal Service at the ceremonies was Lexington, Georgia’s Nancy Zielinski Clark, who was chairman of OLYMPHILEX ‘96.

After the ceremony at which the stamp was unveiled, the Olympic Centennial stamp went on sale at a large U.S. Postal Service booth nearby. Here, anyone could purchase the stamp and get the official first day of issue cancellation – available only at this booth. Also, OLYMPHILEX ‘96 had a special postal cancel for each day of the show, and collectors could get the July 19 show cancel – which became an unofficial first day of issue cancel for the Olympic Centennial stamp. Another unofficial Junly 19 first day cancel was the special “Olympic Family” cancel applied at Atlanta’s Marriott Marquis hotel. Australian and U.S. postal authorities also cooperated for a special cancel at the Fox Theatre. In addition to the variety of July 19 cancels, numerous covers with cachets (thematic designs printed or drawn on the left side of the envelope) were prepared to create special – and sometimes unique – souvenirs of the release of the Olympic Centennial stamp.

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Olympic Baseball, 1992


Source: Ed Jackson

On April 3, 1992, the U.S. Postal Service held first day of issue ceremonies in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium for the release of a new stamp commemorating the addition of baseball as a medal sport in the Summer Olympics. The selection of Atlanta’s stadium for release of the stamp was in recognition of the fact that this stadium that would be the venue for baseball competition in the 1996 Summer Olympics. A second reason the Postal Service gave for releasing the stamp in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was the fact that the Braves had been in the 1991 World Series, and part of the series was played in this stadium.

The ceremony was closed to the public but was broadcast nationwide via satellite.

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James Oglethorpe Postal Card, 1983


Source: Ed Jackson

In 1983, Georgia commemorated its Semiquincentenary – or 250th anniversary – with a year long celebration. The major event of the year occurred in Savannah on Feb. 12, with a day of parades, speeches, and other events recalling the founding of Georgia.

As part of its recognition of Georgia’s Semiquincentenary, the U.S. Postal Service issued a new 13-cent postal card featuring a painting of James Oglethorpe’s meeting with Tomochichi. First day of issue ceremonies were held outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which is located on the Savannah River.

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James Oglethorpe, 1933


Source: Ed Jackson

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.

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Margaret Mitchell, 1986


Source: Ed Jackson

On June 30, 1986 the U.S. Post Office issued a 1-cent stamp showing Atlanta author and reporter Margaret Mitchell. First day of issue ceremonies were held in Atlanta’s Omni International Hotel.

The date of the stamp’s release marked the 50th anniversary of the day her epic novel, Gone With the Wind, went on sale. So in that sense, the stamp commemorates Mitchell. On the other hand, according to the Postal Service, the Mitchell issue is a “definitive” – not commemorative – stamp. Traditionally, definitive stamps have been the workhorse of the postal system. They are available in a variety of denominations, are printed in great quantities, are available over long periods of time, and are almost always smaller in size than commemorative stamps. Commemorative stamps usually are printed only once, are available only for a limited time, and usually printed in the denomination that applies to one ounce of first-class mail.

The Margaret Mitchell was the 31st stamp in the Great Americans series (which also includes the Sequoyah, Abraham Baldwin, and Richard Russell stamps).

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Mississippi Territory, 1948


Source: Ed Jackson

On April 7 1948, the U.S. Post Office held first-day-of-issue ceremonies in Natchez, Miss. for a 3-cent commemorative stamp on the 150th anniversary of passage of an act of Congress creating the Mississippi Territory. Actually, the 1798 legislation provided for representatives of the U.S. and Georgia to meet to negotiate ceding Georgia’s western territories to the U.S. – which did not occur until 1802. Nevertheless, Pres. John Adams went ahead and appointed Winthrop Sargent as the Mississippi Territory’s first governor and designated Natchez as its capital. Though Sargent proved unpopular and was removed by Pres. Jefferson in 1801, it is his image that appears on the Mississippi Territory sesquicentennial stamp. Of importance to Georgia is that all this took place on lands still claimed by Georgia.

The map on the stamp is somewhat misleading, as the boundries of the Mississippi Territory specified in the 1798 act included all land from the mouth of Yazoo River on the Mississippi River eastward to the Chattahoochee River as the northern boundary and the 31st parallel between the Mississippi and Chattahoochee rivers as the southern boundary. On the stamp, however, only the portion of the territory that falls in the boundaries of the state of Mississippi is shaded, as are two additional territories that were added to what would become a state in 1817.

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Milledgeville Postmark, 1993


Source: Ed Jackson

On July 30, 1993, the U.S. Postal Service released a block of four 29-cent stamps to mark the grand opening of the Smithsonian Institution’s new National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C.

One of the stamps has a easily overlooked tie to Georgia – a round May 3 cancellation from Milledgeville, Ga. Although the postmark appears to cancel three stamps, it actually is the type of cancel used before the introduction of postage stamps in 1847. The stamp also shows four stamps – (from left to right) a 1902 2-cent locomotive stamp from the Pan-American Exposition series, an 1860 90-cent George Washington stamp, a 1923 24-cent airmail stamp (in this case the famous “Inverted Jenny” error), and a 1930 65-cent airmail stamp in the Graf Zeppelin series.

The stamp also portrays the opening excerpt of a California gold rush miner’s letter to a cousin and a barcode [to reflect modern automatic sorting of mail].

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Moina Michael, 1948


Source: Ed Jackson

On Nov. 9, 1948, the U.S. Post Office held first-day-of-issue ceremonies in Athens, Ga. for a 3-cent commemorative stamp honoring Moina Michael. The stamp’s release came on the 30th anniversary of the day she conceived of the idea of selling poppies to help care for disabled soldiers and their families.

Born in the Walton County community of Good Hope on Aug. 15, 1869, she attended Lucy Cobb Institute and the Georgia State Teachers College–both in Athens–and Columbia University. On Nov. 9, 1918–two days before the armistice was signed ending World War I–Michael was reading the Ladies Home Journal and saw a poem entitled “We Shall Not Sleep” (which was later called “In Flanders Fields”) written by Col. John McCrae:

WE SHALL NOT SLEEP

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly.

Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Moved by what she read, Michael took a pen and wrote the following poem in response:

WE SHALL KEEP THE FAITH

Oh! You who sleep in “Flanders Fields,”
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And, holding high, we keep the Faith
With all who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

Thus was born the idea of selling memorial poppies to assist disabled veterans and their families. The movement caught on, and for the rest of her life Michael was known as the “Poppy Lady.” During her life she received many awards and recognitions. She died in Athens on May 10, 1944. Four years later, the Post Office issued a commemorative stamp in her memory. In 1969, the Georgia General Assembly designated the stretch of U.S. highway 78 between Athens and Monroe as the Moina Michael Highway.

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Johnny Mercer, 1996


Source: Ed Jackson

Johnny Mercer Stamp

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Crawford Long, 1940


Source: Ed Jackson

On April 8, 1940, the U.S. Post Office released a 2-cent commemorative stamp honoring Georgia physician Dr. Crawford Long. First day of issue ceremonies were held in Jefferson, Ga., where Long performed the first surgery, on March 30, 1842, while the patient was under anesthesia. The date of issue did not fall on any significant anniversary associated with Long’s life (as is usually the case when a commemorative stamp is released). Rather, the stamp was part of a 35-stamp “Famous Americans” series of stamps issued in 1940, and the Post Office had simply selected April 8 for the release of two stamps in that series.

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Sidney Lanier, 1972


Source: Ed Jackson

On February 3, 1972, the U.S. Postal Service issued an 8-cent commemorative stamp honoring Georgia poet Sidney Lanier on the 130th anniversary of his birth. First day of issue ceremonies were held in Macon, where Lanier was born.

Sidney Lanier was born in Macon, Ga. on Feb. 3, 1842. He graduated from Oglethorpe University in 1860, serving as a tutor there until the outbreak of the Civil War. In the spring of 1861, Lanier joined the Macon Volunteers. He was captured in 1864 and imprisoned in a Union prison in Maryland, where he contacted a lung disease. After the war, Lanier had a series of jobs, during which time he began writing novels and poems. His best works were written in 1869 and afterwards. Some, such as “Thar’s More in the Man Than Thar Is in the Land,” were written in rural Georgia dialect, while others such as “The Marshes of Glynn” were more serious in nature. As his health continued to deteriorate, Lanier traveled to the mountains of North Carolina, where he died of tuberculosis in Lynn, N.C. on Sept. 7, 1881.

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Martin Luther King Jr., 1979


Source: Ed Jackson

Issued Jan. 13, 1979 at first day of issue ceremonies in Atlanta, Georgia, this stamp shows black civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and a civil rights march.This stamp was the second in the Postal Service’s annual Black Heritage series. Born in Atlanta on Jan. 15, 1929, King became a minister like his father before him. He served as pastor of a Montgomery, Ala., where he organize a boycott of the city’s segregated bus system. In 1957, King helped create the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and in the 1960s became a key figure in the American civil rights movement. His efforts led to him being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. King was assassinated in Memphis in 1968. According to Postal Service rules, except for a President, no person can be commemorated on a U.S. stamp until ten years after their death. Following the passage of the necessary ten years, the stamp was issued three days before King’s birthday.

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Bobby Jones, 1981


Source: Ed Jackson

Bobby Jones Stamp (1981)

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Joseph E. Johnston, 1995


Source: Ed Jackson

On June 29,1995, the U.S. Post Office issued a set of 20 commemorative stamps showing 16 individuals and 4 battles of the Civil War. Official first day of issue ceremonies were held in front of the Cyclorama Center at the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. A pictorial cancellation showing a Civil War cannon was available at the ceremony. However, as the Postal Service also released the set of stamps nationwide, numerous unofficial first day of issue cancellations were possible.

One of the stamps shows Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston. According to the artist, the scene shows Johnston with an open map as he stands on Kennesaw Mountain, where his troops had just turned back Sherman’s superior force.

Although he was a native Virginian, Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston played a major role in Georgia’s Civil War history. Johnston commanded the army opposing Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign. Faced with an overwhelming superiority in men and supplies for Sherman, Johnston skillfully managed to delay Sherman’s advance. Confronting the enemy only when he could gain a tactical advantage, Johnston managed to inflict twice as many casualties as he sustained. Nevertheless Sherman’s army continued its inexorable advance. Confederate Pres. Weary of Johnston’s defensive stance Confederate Pres. Jefferson Davis finally replaced him with John Bell Hood as Sherman’s army neared Atlanta. Hood recklessly attacked and loss as many men in six weeks as Johnston had for the whole campaign. After Sherman had completed his March to the Sea, Johnston was again given command of the remnants of the Confederate forces in the Carolinas and Georgia. Again he avoided disastrous confrontations, but was ultimately forced to surrender to Sherman at Durham Station, N. C. on April 26, 1865. Because Georgia was under Johnston’s jurisdiction, his surrender marked the end of the Civil War for Georgia – a date that would become Confederate Memorial Day in Georgia. After the war Johnston penned a notable analysis of the war in his memoirs. He and Sherman had earned each other’s respect; ironically Johnston died from complications to a cold he had caught while serving as a pallbearer at Sherman’s funeral.

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James Weldon Johnson, 1988


Source: Ed Jackson

On Feb. 2, 1988, the U.S. Postal Service released a 22-cent commemorative stamp honoring African-American lawyer, lyricist, U.S. diplomat, civil rights activist, novelist, poet, and educator James Weldon Johnson. First day of issue ceremonies were held in Nashville, Tenn. at Fisk University, where Johnson had taught creative literature from 1930 until his death in June 1938. The stamp’s issuance came in the 50th anniversary year of Johnson’s death, but the release date was moved from June to February to mark Black History Month. It was the eleventh issue in the Postal Service’s Black Heritage series.

The stamp shows Johnson along with the beginning of the song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which many consider the black national anthem. This was one of over 200 songs that Johnson and his brother composed in the early 1900s.

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Honeybee, 1988


Source: Ed Jackson

On Sept. 2, 1988, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 25-cent Honeybee stamp. The definitive stamp was issued in coils (rolls) of 100 and 3,000 stamps. First day of issue ceremonies were held in Omaha, Nebraska – a site that had no particular significance to the honeybee. The Postal Service chose the location and date of the stamp’s release to coincide with the Omaha Stamp Show.

The honeybee is important nationally, performing 90 percent of the pollination of fruits, vegetables, and seed crops. Honeybees also are responsible nationwide for the production of some 20 million pounds of honey. To give an idea of the magnitude of the bee’s industry, it has been calculated that it takes over 550 bees visiting more than 2.5 million flowers to produce a single pound of honey.

On April 18, 1975, Gov. George Busbee signed a joint resolution of the Georgia General Assembly designating the honeybee as Georgia’s official state insect.

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Joel Chandler Harris, 1948


Source: Ed Jackson

On Dec. 9, 1948, the U.S. Post Office held first-day-of-issue ceremonies in Eatonton, Georgiaa for a 3-cent commemorative stamp honoring Georgia author Joel Chandler Harris. The stamp’s release came on the centennial of Harris’ birth in Eatonton.

As a young man, Harris worked as a reporter and writer for several different Georgia newspapers before coming to the Atlanta Constitution in 1876. Here, he worked under Henry Grady and became famous for his fictional Uncle Remus tales. Harris continued with the Constitution until his retirement in 1900. He died at his Atlanta home–Wren’s Nest–on July 2, 1908.

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Oliver Hardy, 1991


Source: Ed Jackson

This stamp was issued Aug. 29, 1991 to recognize the famous movie comedy duo of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. First-day-of-issue ceremonies were held in Hollywood, California. Oliver Hardy (1892-1957) was born in Harlem, Georgia.

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Gone With the Wind Film, 1990


Source: Ed Jackson

This 25-cent stamp was issued March 23, 1990 in Hollywood, California as part of a set of four stamps commemorating classic films (the others being The Wizard of Oz, Beau Geste, and Stagecoach) released in 1939 and winners or nominees of Academy Awards in 1940. First day of issue ceremonies were held three days before the 1990 Academy Awards presentation, marking the 50th anniversary of Gone With the Wind’s receiving nine Oscars at the 1940 ceremonies, including best picture, best actress (Vivian Leigh), best supporting actress (Hattie McDaniel), and best director (Victor Fleming). The movie version of Margaret Mitchell’s epic novel had also been nominated for five other Oscars–including best actor (Clark Gable) and best supporting actress (Olivia de Havilland).

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Juliette Gordon Low, 1948


Source: Ed Jackson

On Oct. 29, 1948, the U.S. Post Office held first-day-of-issue ceremonies in Savannah for a 3-cent commemorative stamp honoring Juliette Gordon Low. The stamp’s release came two days before what would have been Low’s 88th birthday.

Juliette Magill Gordon was born in Savannah on Oct. 31, 1860. During the Civil War, her father fought with Confederacy while the rest of the family stayed in Savannah. With the approach of Sherman in Dec. 1864, they left the city for Chicago. Nicknamed Daisy, Juliette attended private schools in Virginia and New York City. In 1886, she married William Low, a wealthy Englishman, and moved to England, where she studied art and associated with upper-class society. After her husband died in 1905, Juliette traveled to far away places, wrote poetry, studied sculpture, and looked for her purpose in life. In 1911, she met Robert Baden-Powell, who had recently started the Boy Scouts. Powell’s sister had created a sister organization–the Girl Guides–and Low started one of the first troops in Scotland.

Low returned to Savannah and decided to start an American counterpart to the Girl Guides. On March 12, 1912, she held the first meeting of what would become known as the Girl Scouts in Savannah. The idea of a scouting organization for girls spread quickly, and by 1915, the Girl Scouts had incorporated nationally. Low died on Jan. 17, 1927 in Savannah.

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Georgia’s Ratification of the U.S. Constitution, 1988


Source: Ed Jackson

On January 2, 1788, Georgia became the fourth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. To mark the 200th anniversary of that event, the U.S. Postal Service released this commemorative stamp on January 6, 1988. First day of issue ceremonies were held in the rotunda of Georgia’s state capitol, with a special postmark created for canceling the stamp at a Post Service booth in the capitol. The 22-cent stamp showed the Atlanta skyline faintly in the background, with Georgia’s state tree – the live oak – in the foreground. The stamp’s designer was Greg Harlin, a Georgia native then living in Maryland.

Georgia’s stamp was one of thirteen issued from 1987 to 1990 by the Postal Service as part of its commemoration of the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. In most cases, stamps were issued on the 200th anniversary of a state’s ratification, but in five states the stamp was issued on a date other than the anniversary of its ratification. In the case of Georgia, January 2 fell on a Saturday, and Georgia’s governor Joe Frank Harris could not participate in the first day ceremonies for the stamp until January 6.

Interestingly, the Postal Service identified the theme of the series of thirteen stamps as the “Statehood Bicentennial” series, and it described the Jan. 6 stamp as the “Georgia Statehood” stamp. Apparently, USPS staff were under the impression that statehood came when a state ratified the Constitution. An even greater historical error occurred in the official USPS souvenir program, which included this statement: “Georgia earned the honored status of statehood in 1788, when, as one of the original 13 colonies, it ratified the newborn U.S. Constitution and became the first southern state.” However, this historical explanation of the stamp overlooks the fact the thirteen American colonies (excluding East Florida and West Florida, which did not break away from Britain) declared themselves “free and independent states” in 1776 as part of the Declaration of Independence. Each former colony adopted a new state constitution and government, and throughout the Revolution acted and considered themselves as states. Later, it was states – not colonies – that ratified the Articles of Confederation, and even later, the U.S. Constitution.

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Georgia State Flag, 1976


Source: Ed Jackson

As part of its year-long commemoration of the bicentennial of the American Revolution, the U. S. Postal Service issued a sheet of 50 13-cent stamps depicting the flags of the 50 different states. The first 13 stamps represented the 13 original states and were arranged in order of each state’s ratification of the Constitution. The remaining 37 stamps were arranged in the order of their admission to the Union. This set of state flag stamps marked the first time the U.S. had ever issued a sheet containing 50 different stamps.

First day of issue ceremonies were held on Feb. 23, 1776 in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with mid-winter meeting of the National Governor’s Conference. Stamps canceled at special USPS stations at the conference received the official “First Day of Issue” cancellation. Additionally, at 11:00 a.m., the Postal Service released the sheet of flag stamps nationwide, with ceremonies and special cancellations in each state capital.

Interestingly, the release of the state flag stamps came ten days after the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Georgia state flag shown on the stamp.

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Georgia State Bird and Flower, 1982


Source: Ed Jackson

On April 14, 1982, the U.S. Postal Service issued a sheet of 50 stamps commemorating the state bird and flower of each state. This marked the second time for the U.S. to issue a sheet of 50 different stamps (the first occasion being the sheet of 50 state flags issued in 1976 to mark the American Bicentennial)

National first day of issue ceremonies for the sheet were held in Washington, D.C. Additionally, special first day ceremonies were held in each state capital. Those attending could obtain a special postmark with a special postmark created for canceling the stamp at a Post Service booth in the capitol.

The Cherokee Rose was declared to be the official state floral emblem of Georgia by a joint resolution of the General Assembly approved on Aug. 18, 1916.

On April 6, 1935, Gov. Eugene Talmadge by executive proclamation declared the Brown Thrasher as Georgia’s state bird. However, the state attorney general later issued an official opinion ruling that designating state symbols was a legislative power. Thereafter, the General Assembly approved a joint resolution on March 20, 1970, declaring the Brown Thrasher Georgia’s official state bird.

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Walter F. George, 1960


Source: Ed Jackson

On Nov. 5, 1960, the U.S. Post Office issued a 4-cent stamp honoring the late Walter F. George. First-day-of-release ceremonies were held in his hometown of Vienna, Georgia. Interestingly, the stamp’s release did not come on either the anniversary of his birth or death. Also, the release came just three years and 3 months after George’s death. The Postal Service has since adopted rules that with the exception of a deceased president, no person can be shown on a stamp until at least ten years after their death.

Walter F. George was born in Webster County, Georgia on Jan. 29, 1878. In 1901, he obtained a law degree from Mercer University and began practicing law in Vienna, Georgia. In 1907, he became a superior court prosecutor, then judge, followed by election to the Georgia Court of Appeals and to the Georgia Supreme Court. In 1922, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served six terms. In 1957, he became Pres. Eisenhower’s special representative to NATO as well as foreign policy advisor to the president. George died on Aug. 4, 1957 in hometown of Vienna.

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The “General”, 1994


Source: Ed Jackson

On July 28, the U.S. Postal Service released a new booklet of 29-cent stamps that featured five different famous steam locomotives. First day of issue ceremonies were held in Charma, New Mexico, location of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, the longest and highest narrow-gauge railroad currently operating in the U.S.

The five locomotives in the set are the General, the Jupiter, Eddy’s No. 242, Ely’s No. 10, and Buchanan’s No. 999. Of these, the oldest and most recognized is the General. The stamp shows a polished version of the locomotive, along with the caption “Hudson’s General” and “1855, 1870.” Actually, a more accurate caption would read “Rogers’ General,” because it was the famous locomotive builder Thomas Rogers who designed the General. William Hudson was the shop superintendent at the locomotive works of Rogers, Ketchum & Grosvenor in Paterson, New Jersey.

The General was built for Georgia’s Western & Atlantic Railroad, which connected the future site of Atlanta with Chattanooga. It was on this rail line that the General was involved in what became known as “The Great Locomotive Chase” in April 1862.

Since 1972, the General has been housed at the Kennesaw Civil War Museum. There, on July 29, 1994, special second-day-of-issue ceremonies for the new General stamp were staged in cooperation with the U.S. Postal Service. Among those on hand for the celebration was then-museum director Cathy Fletcher, the driving force behind the Postal Service’s decision to honor the General with a stamp.

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Daniel Chester French, 1940


Source: Ed Jackson

On Sept. 16, 1940, the U.S. Post Office Department released a 5 cent commemorative stamp honoring noted sculptor Daniel Chester French. First day of issue ceremonies were held in Stockbridge, Mass. The stamp was part of a 35-stamp “Famous Americans” series of stamps issued in 1940, and French was one of five great American artists honored in the series.

Born April 20, 1850, in Exeter, New Hampshire, French studied sculpture briefly in Italy, though he primarily learned the art form on his own. His first major work was the statue of the Minuteman, created for the centennial observance of the Battle of Concord in 1875. Some credit “Death Staying the Hand of the Sculptor” in Boston as his most accomplished piece. French sculpted two works that have a Georgia tie. The first was his bronze statue of James Edward Oglethorpe located in Savannah’s Chippewa Square and unveiled Nov. 23, 1910. A few years later, French completed his most famous work–the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Lincoln monument’s Georgia tie was not the subject but rather the fact that French carved the renowned work from Georgia marble.

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Bobwhite, 1987


Source: Ed Jackson

On June 13, 1987, the U.S. Postal Service issued a sheet of 50 different stamps commemorating American wildlife. Many of the animals in the sheet are native to Georgia, but two – the Bobwhite and the Tiger Swallowtail butterfly – are official state symbols of Georgia. On March 20, 1970, Gov. Lester Maddox signed a joint resolution of the General Assembly naming the Brown Thrasher as Georgia’s official state bird and the Bobwhite Quail as the official state game bird. According to that resolution, “Whereas, Georgia has long been hailed as the “Quail Capitol [sic] of the World”, and it seems to be only fitting and proper that the Bobwhite Quail (of the genus colinis) be given the recognition it is due.”

This marked the third time for the U.S. to issue a sheet of 50 different stamps (the first two occasions being the sheet of 50 state flags issued in 1976 to mark the American Bicentennial and the sheet of 50 state bird and flower stamps issued in 1982).

Interestingly, although the theme of the stamps was American wildlife, official first day of issue ceremonies were held in Toronto, Canada in conjunction with opening ceremonies for CAPEX 87 International Philatelic Exhibition. Additionally, the Postal Service had special pictorial cancellations prepared for release of the stamps simultaneously at Yellowstone, Yosemite, Everglades, and seven other U.S. national parks.

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John Fremont, 1998


Source: Ed Jackson

On June 18,1998, the U.S. Postal Service reissued the 1898 John Fremont stamp along with eight other stamps originally issued a century earlier to commemorate the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition. The 5-cent stamp in the set shows John C. Fremont holding an American flag atop the summit of a mountain, along with the caption “Fremont on Rocky Mountains.” The sheet of nine stamps was released with first day of issue ceremonies at the American STamp Dealers Association Postage Stamp Show in Anaheim, California.

Click here to view the original 1898 stamp and biographical information on Fremont.

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John Fremont, 1898


Source: Ed Jackson

On June 17,1898, the U.S. Post Office issued a set of nine commemorative stamps to mark the Trans-Mississippi Exposition, held from June 1 to November 1 that year in Omaha, Nebraska. Originally, the stamps were supposed to have been printed in two colors, but because of the need to print revenue stamps to finance the Spanish-American War, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing decided to print in single colors.

The 5-cent stamp in the set shows John C. Fremont holding an American flag atop the summit of a mountain, along with the caption “Fremont on Rocky Mountains.” The engraved stamp was printed in dark blue.

The explorer and U.S. soldier was born in Savannah, Ga. Educated at Charleston College, Fremont surveyed the Carolina mountains as an officer in the Army Topographical Corps. In the 1840s and early ’50s, he explored the West. In 1856, Fremont became the first presidential candidate of the new Republican Party. He carried 11 states but lost the election. During the Civil War, Fremont served as a Union Army officer. Later, he served as governor of the Arizona Territory. Fremont died on July 13, 1890 in New York City at age 76.

In addition to the 1898 stamp, Fremont has been portrayed on a 29-cent stamp as one of 20 different subjects on the 1994 “Legends of the West” sheet of stamps. He also was shown in the 1998 reissue of the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition series – in which each stamp was printed in two colors as originally intended.

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Franklinia Alatamaha Plant, 1969


Source: Ed Jackson

This 6-cent stamp was issued August 23, 1969 in Seattle, Washington as part of a set of four stamps showing famous plants associated with the four regions of the country. First day of issue were ceremonies were held in conjunction with the opening of the 11th International Botanical Congress in Seattle.

The plant chosen to represent the South was the Franklinia alatamaha, a small flowering tree discovered by John and [http://www.mounet.com/~jdye/bartram.html](William Bartram) in 1765 close to the mouth of Georgia’s Altamaha River near Darien. [In those days, the Altamaha was sometimes misspelled as “Alatamaha” – hence the name chosen by the Bartrams.] The Bartrams carried some of the plants and seeds back to Philadelphia, where they named it Franklinia altamaha in honor of their friend Benjamin Franklin and the Georgia river where it was discovered. Fortunately, the Bartrams propagated the plant, for when they returned to Georgia after the American Revolution, they could find no surviving examples. Indeed, the Franklinia has long been extinct in the wild, and all Franklinias today trace from the plants and seeds taken from Georgia in 1765.

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Five Civilized Tribes, 1948


Source: Ed Jackson

Five Civilized Tribes Stamp

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Rebecca Everingham Riverboat, 1996


Source: Ed Jackson

Rebecca Everingham Riverboat Stamp

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W.E.B. Du Bois, 1992, 1998


Source: Ed Jackson

On Jan. 31, 1992, a 29-cent stamp was released honoring educator, author, and civil right pioneer W.E.B. Du Bois. The stamp was the 15th in the Postal Service’s annual Black Heritage Series. First day of issue ceremonies were held at Clark Atlanta University because Du Bois spent nearly a quarter century teaching at Atlanta University.

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Mass. on Feb. 23, 1868. He earned a bachelors degree at Fisk University (1888) before entering Harvard where he earned a bachelors (1890), masters (1891), and doctorate (1895). Du Bois then studied in Berlin before teaching at Wilberforce College and then Atlanta University, where he served as a professor of economics and history (1897-1910).

In 1905, Du Bois helped organize the Niagara Movement, and four years later was co-founder of the NAACP. Between 1910 and 1934, Du Bois edited the NAACP’s journal, The Crisis, and served as the organization’s director of publicity and research. He also wrote such books as The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study (1899), Atlanta University Studies (1897), Souls of Black Folk (1903), and Black Reconstruction (1935). In 1934, Du Bois resigned from the NAACP and returned to Atlanta University where he served as head of the department of sociology until 1944.

Although Du Bois was a major leader in the early civil rights movement in America, ultimately he became disillusioned with prospects for equality of blacks. In his later years, he embraced socialism, and in 1961 joined the Community Party U.S.A. That same year, he and his wife moved to Ghana, where he became a citizen of that county. At age 95, Du Bois died in Ghana on Aug. 27, 1963.

For more on the life of W.E.B. Du Bois, click http://members.tripod.com/~DuBois/index.htm.

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William Crawford, 1940-54


Source: Ed Jackson

In 1940, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing issued a series of “revenue stamps” for use by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. These were not intended for use as postage but rather were applied by I.R.S. agents to legal and financial documents that were subject to federal taxation.

The stamps were all engraved, carmine in color, and portrayed former U.S. Secretaries of the Treasury. The 10-cent denomination shown above featured Georgian William H. Crawford, who Pres. James Madison appointed as U.S. Treasury Secretary in 1815. [For more information on Crawford, see the Sept. 15 entry of “This Day in Georgia History”.] Another Georgian and former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury – Howell Cobb – was featured on the $60 denomination in this set of stamps.

To prevent reuse, the revenue stamps were reissued each year with an overprint indicating the year. The smaller denominations (1 cent through $20) were issued annually from 1940 to 1954, with the above example part of the 1947 series.

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Jacqueline Cochran, 1996


Source: Ed Jackson

On March 9, 1996, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 50-cent stamp commemorating Jacqueline Cochran, the first woman to fly faster than the speed of sound. The stamp depicts Cochran after winning the 1938 Bendix Trophy air race from Los Angeles to Cleveland in just over 8 hours. First day of issue ceremonies were held at Indian Palms Resort, former site of Cochran’s ranch, in Indio, California. The stamp’s 50-cent denomination met the rate then in effect for international post cards mailed from the U.S.

Little is known about Cochran’s life. She was born in Florida sometime between 1905 and 1910. Orphaned at an early age, she moved to Georgia, where she lived in poverty with a foster family. Despite only getting to attend public schools for two years, Cochran was determined to better herself. She began working as a beautician, and in time she bought a beauty shop in Florida. Led by her ambitions, Cochran moved to New York, where she became a hair stylist at Saks Fifth Avenue. Before long, she owned her own prestigious salon and married a New York millionaire.

In 1932, Cochran’s husband suggested that she learn to fly as a way of using her time more efficiently. In less than three weeks from her first lesson, she had her pilot’s license. Two years later, Cochran formed a highly successful cosmetics company, though aviation by now had become her first love. During the Second World War, Cochran founded and headed the Women’s Air Force Service program – a distinction for which she was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in 1945. Test pilot Chuck Yeager took a personal interest in Cochran, and under his guidance she flew an F-86 Sabre jet in California, at an average speed of 652.337 miles per hour – becoming the first woman to break the sound barrier. Continuing her business interests, Cochran was named Associated Press Woman of the Year in Business in 1963. In 1969, the U.S. Air Force awarded her its Distinguished Flying Cross. At the time of her death in 1980, Cochran held more speed, altitude, and distance records than any pilot, male or female, in the world.

Although she only spent her early years in Georgia, Jackie Cochran has been recognized for her pioneering role by induction into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame.

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Howell Cobb, 1940-58


Source: Ed Jackson

In 1940, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing issued a series of “revenue stamps” for use by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. These were not intended for use as postage but rather were applied by I.R.S. agents to legal and financial documents that were subject to federal taxation.

The stamps were all engraved, carmine in color, and portrayed former U.S. Secretaries of the Treasury. The $60 denomination shown above featured Georgian Howell Cobb, who Pres. James Buchanan appointed as U.S. Treasury Secretary in 1857. [For more information on Cobb, see the Sept. 9 entry of “This Day in Georgia History”.] Another Georgian and former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury – William Crawford – was featured on the 10-cent denomination in this set of stamps.

To prevent reuse, the revenue stamps were reissued each year with an overprint indicating the year. The larger denominations (including the Cobb stamp shown above) were issued annually from 1940 to 1958, with the above example part of the initial 1940 series.

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Largemouth Bass, 1986


Source: Ed Jackson

This stamp, which shows Georgia’s official state fish, was part of a booklet of five different fish stamps issued March 21, 1986.

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Amethyst, 1974


Source: Ed Jackson

On June 13, 1974, the U.S. Postal Service issued a sheet of four different Mineral Heritage stamps commemorating amethyst, petrified wood, rhodochrosite, and tourmaline, each recognized by a separate stamp.

Amethyst is crystallized quartz with a purple hue that is popular for use in jewelry. On March 18, 1976, Gov. George Busbee signed a joint resolution of the General Assembly designating quartz, in both the amethyst and clear forms, as Georgia’s official state gem.

National first day of issue ceremonies for the four stamps were held in Lincoln, Nebraska as part of the opening of the 1974 National Gem and Mineral Show.

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Abraham Baldwin, 1985


Source: Ed Jackson
On Jan. 25, 1985, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 7-cent postage stamp honoring educator and politician Abraham Baldwin. The stamp was released in first day of issue ceremonies on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens. In 1985, the University of Georgia celebrated the bicentennial of it chartering by the Georgia legislature in 1785 -- making it the oldest state-chartered university in the country. As part of the anniversary, University of Georgia officials had hoped to get the U.S. Postal Service to release a stamp to mark the bicentennial. However, at the time, the Postal Service had a policy of not issuing stamps to commemorate anniversaries of the founding of towns, counties, or colleges or universities (because of the great number of requests that would otherwise occur). As a compromise, the Postal Service offered to recognize Abraham Baldwin, who wrote the university's charter and also was a signer of the U.S. Constitution. Technically, the 7-cent Baldwin issue was not a commemorative stamp. Rather, it was one of 54 stamps in the Great Americans series of regular postage stamps of many different denominations. Generally, commemorative stamps are printed only once, are larger than regular stamps, have the denomination needed for first-class mail, and are only available for a limited time. Regular stamps--known officially as "definitive" stamps--can be reprinted as often as necessary, have many different denominations, and are available for an extended period.

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