Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee

The Post Office Department’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee was established March 21, 1957, by Orders of the Postmaster General 56304 and 56305, to provide a breadth of judgment and depth of experience in various areas which influence the subject matter, character, and beauty of postage stamps. As announced in the Federal Register of Tuesday, March 26, 1957:

The Stamp Advisory Committee shall advise the Post Office Depart-ment on any matters pertaining to the subject matter, design, production and issuance of postage stamps.

The initial seven-member committee was appointed by Postmaster General Arthur E. Summerfield on March 26, 1957. Those serving were Deputy Director of the United States Information Agency Abbott Washburn; three well-known philatelists — Franklin R. Bruns, Jr., Sol Glass, and Harry L. Lindquist; and three artists — Arnold Copeland, president of Westport Artists, Inc.; Ervine Metzl, president of the Society of Illustrators; and William H. Buckley, president of the New York Art Directors Club. Franklin Bruns served as the first chairman.

The artists were enthusiasticabout the committee and the concept of using the skills of members from their groups to help design United States postage stamps. (The combined memberships of the three groups included an estimated 95 percent of all commercial artists in the country.) All three artists played an important role in improving postage stamp designs by helping the Post Office Department transition from near total reliance upon the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to commercial artists.

The first meeting of the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee was opened by Postmaster General Summerfield on April 30, 1957.

In November 1960, Postmaster General Summerfield approved the Benjamin Franklin Award, then in the form of a certificate, for members of Congress, special advisory groups, or employees making a contribution to the Post Office Department not connected with official employment. On December 15 of that year, members of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee received the first Benjamin Franklin awards in appreciation for the distinguished and outstanding public service each rendered as a member of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee.

Today the committee consists of up to 15 members appointed by the Postmaster General, who also appoints the chairman. The members share a respect for philately and are experts on history, science and technology, art, education, sports, or other subjects of public interest.

The committee meets four times a year to review suggestions for new postage stamps. Committee members receive travel expenses, and nongovernment members receive a meeting stipend. Most subjects chosen to appear on stamps and postal stationery are suggested by the public. The Postal Service receives approximately 50,000 proposals each year. Every proposal is considered.

The committee’s primary goal is to select subjects that are both interesting and educational for recommendation to the Postmaster General, who decides which stamps will be issued.

Besides recommending new subjects for commemorative stamps each year, the committee also suggests subjects for the extensive line of regular stamps. The committee considers the interests of stamp collectors as well as all citizens and looks for subjects that will stand the test of time, be consistent with public opinion, and have broad national appeal.

Ideas for stamp subjects should be addressed to:

 

Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee
c/o Stamp Development
U.S. Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300
Washington, DC 20260-350
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Subjects should be submitted at least three years in advance of the proposed date of issue to allow sufficient time for consideration and for design and production, if the subject is approved.