Huntington Station, NY — The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) honored the 200th anniversary of the birth of Walt Whitman with a new stamp in its Literary Arts series, commemorating the life, work and words of the poet some revere as the “Father of Modern American Poetry,” at his Long Island birthplace.
Whitman’s poetry was modern in “the topics and themes explored — freedom, human dignity, and democracy,” said Cara Greene, USPS vice president, controller. Greene dedicated the 85-cent stamp, which is intended for domestic First-Class Mail weighing up to 3 ounces. “Whitman was more than a giant in American literature,” said Greene. “He was a remarkable human being who helped nurse thousands of the Civil War’s sick and dying soldiers.”
Greene was joined to unveil the stamp by Cynthia Shor, Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site executive director; Jeffrey Gould, Walt Whitman Birthplace Association trustee; Erik Kulleseid, New York State Parks Commissioner; Darrel Blaine Ford, Whitman personator; and David Reynolds, Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp, featuring a portrait of Whitman by Sam Weber, based on a photograph taken by Frank Pearsall in 1869. A lilac bush and hermit thrush in the stamp’s background recall the poem, “When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom’d,” written after President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.
Whitman’s name lines the bottom of the stamp. “USA” is printed horizontally in the top left corner. The stamp’s denomination, “THREE OUNCE,” is indicated at far right, down the side.
News of the stamps can be shared using the hashtag #WaltWhitmanStamps.
Information on ordering first-day-of-issue postmarks and covers is at usps.com/shop under “Collectors.”