Delivering Hope: FDR & Stamps of the Great Depression

September 9, 2009 – June 7, 2010

National Postal Museum
2 Massachusetts Ave., NE
Washington, DC

Lower Level

See on Map Floor Plan

Franklin D. Roosevelt, president during the Great Depression, used stamps to communicate with the American people. A stamp collector himself, he understood the power of visual imagery, and he changed the look of stamps to convey messages of hope, optimism, and the solidity of the federal government. This exhibition offers novel insights into FDR's personality, his relationship with Postmaster General James A. Farley, and his concern for the welfare of the American people. Highlights include:

  • FDR's stamp tools, including magnifier, perforation gauge, watermark detector, and box for albums, on loan from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, New York
  • 15 of the 20 uncut and ungummed press sheets of postage stamps purchased by Postmaster General James A. Farley and autographed to give as political favors, which led to a scandal and the special printing known as "Farley's Follies"
  • 6 original sketches by FDR for stamp designs, to be shown on a rotating basis due to the paper's fragility
  • An envelope postmarked "Honolulu, December 7, 1941," at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor