Sunday, February 6, 2022

Thaddeus Stevens Chronicles No. 14

 Honoring Thaddeus Stevens with a stamp

February 2022

By Donald Gallagher 

For many years in Pennsylvania and Vermont members of the Thaddeus Stevens Society have been urging the U. S. Postal Service / Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) to issue a stamp honoring “The Great Commoner.” It’s an effort we’ve helped lead for more than two decades, marshalling support for an idea first proposed by Alex Munro and the alumni of the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.

The Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee makes the decisions about who and what will be commemorated on American stamps. CSAC members are volunteers appointed by the Postmaster General. Search online [ usps csac ] to learn more about who they are and how their decisions are made.  In the "Politics" chapter of his memoir, The World Is My Home, famed Pennsylvania author James A. Michener wrote of his (often humorous) experiences serving on this Committee.

CSAC only accepts correspondence through the mail.  We must continue sending postcards, letters and petition pages to demonstrate support for a postal tribute someday. Each time the Committee turns us down, Postal Service policy directs that we've got to wait another three years before CSAC will reconsider Stevens as a future subject for a stamp. Their next vote will occur in July 2022. Extra efforts are especially needed in the coming months.

Many important figures in American history have been remembered on commemorative stamps. But there’s never been a postal tribute honoring Thaddeus Stevens.  Stevens is the one who deserves our thanks for leading the drafting, passage, and ratification of Constitutional changes marking what many historians consider to be our nation's Second Founding:

 The 13th Amendment – ending slavery in America;

 The 14th Amendment – guarantees civil rights and equal rights to all;

 The 15th Amendment  the first national assurance of broader voting rights.

Stamps tell stories. They teach important lessons. They express America's profound thanks by honoring a (sometimes forgotten) person long after they're gone. Stamps help ensure the proper recognition of important accomplishments. Carefully crafted, their images tell a story with such clarity in a square inch that it instantly inspires learning.

So who else favors honoring Stevens on a stamp? Well, there's Bob Dylan in his autobiography, Chronicles; Senators Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy, Bob Casey and Pat Toomey in their letter to the Postmaster General; other Congressional leaders that Stevens Society members have been lobbying; plus authors, historians, legal scholars, teachers, attorneys, judges, rights activists, friends and neighbors  all of whom we ask to please join us as proponents for a stamp.

The Postal Service isn't going to print stamps nobody wants. They need to be convinced a Thaddeus Stevens stamp will sell, and that thousands of us will buy them, use them and save them. Explaining that is the job of all of us who actively support efforts to get a stamp approved. It's not money that will fund our success. It's more letters, postcards and petition pages  sacks of supportive mail to the U. S. Postal Service. Remember – emails, faxes, and phone calls are not accepted, and there’s no opportunity to make personal appearances before the Committee.

Here’s what you can do. Write to the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee. Tell them why you admire Thaddeus Stevens. Explain the things he did in his lifetime that still affect our lives today. Tell why you think it's so important that others know this; then mention ways you're prepared to help promote the stamp. 

Make the Postal Service a promise that you'll use these stamps – in quantities and in creative ways, both at work and in your personal correspondence. We send an additional message each time we use commemorative postage. With a Stevens stamp you'll be illustrating a remarkable life that truly deserves to be remembered. 

It's also important for us to show that interest in Stevens’ legacy continues to grow. Not just in Vermont and Pennsylvania where support is already strong, but throughout the country.

Please ask your friends in other locales across America to write a sincere message to CSAC members. Thaddeus Stevens was a guiding spirit in his own time and remains so today, still influencing the course of American history in the 21st Century.

Write to those at the Postal Service who decide what subjects appear on America's stamps: 

      Thaddeus Stevens Stamp

      Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee

      c/o Stamp Development

      United States Postal Service

      475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300

      Washington, DC  20260-3501 

Here's a link to a half-hour PBS documentary, "American Stamps." It helps explain the process of stamp development:

If you'd like to help with the stamp campaign, or if you just want to know what more can be done, I'll gladly correspond.  Please contact me at this email address:   I can ship you (for free) as many A Stamp For Stevens postcards as you can use.  They're pre-addressed and informative, too.  Thank you for aiding these efforts in any way you can!

Don Gallagher lives in Lititz, PA.  He leads the Thaddeus Stevens Society's commemorative stamp effort. More information on the project can be found at this link: