HOW ARE INDIVIDUALS CHOSEN TO APPEAR ON U.S. STAMPS?
United States Postage Stamp
United States adhesive postage stamps were first officially issued in 1847, picturing the inventor and statesman Benjamin Franklin (on the five-cent stamp) and first president George Washington (on the ten-cent stamp). Portraits of presidents and others who have made significant contributions to American life have since been featured on United States stamp issues; portraits of living people, however, are forbidden. Stamp subjects (with the exception of United States presidents) have to have been deceased for ten years. Postage stamps issued by the United States Postal Service commemorate individuals, events, and achievements that have shaped the political and social history of America.
The United States Postal Service is proud of its role in portraying the American experience to a world audience through its postage stamps. Almost all subjects chosen to appear on United States stamp issues are suggested by the public, which submits proposals on thousands of different topics. Established in 1957 to provide the Postal Service with a "breadth of judgment and depth of experience in various areas that influence subject matter, character, and beauty of postage stamps," the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee was formed for the purpose of evaluating the merits of each proposal.
The primary goal of the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee is to select subjects that are both interesting and educational for recommendation to the Postmaster General, who then decides which stamps will be issued. Besides recommending 25 to 40 new subjects for commemorative stamps each year, the Committee also recommends subjects for the extensive line of regular stamps. When recommending subjects, the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee thinks of stamp collectors as well as all citizens and looks for stamp subjects that will stand the test of time, be consistent with public sentiment, and have broad national appeal.
Committee members are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the
Postmaster General. Committee membership ranges from 12 to 15 members. The
members have a wide range of educational, artistic, historical, and professional
expertise. Proposals are submitted at least three years before the proposed
date of issue to allow sufficient time for consideration and design production,
if approved. The members of the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee also
review and provide guidance on artwork and designs for United States postage
Stamp on Black History Home Page Menu