The Post Office Department featured Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945), the nation's thirty-first president, on the initial 6-cent stamp of the Prominent Americans Issue. Roosevelt headed the nation during two severe crises—the Great Depression and World War II.
Roosevelt entered political life in 1910 as a New York state senator. President Woodrow Wilson appointed him assistant secretary of the Navy, and he was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 1920. In the summer of 1921, when he was thirty-nine, poliomyelitis paralyzed him. He fought to regain the use of his legs, particularly through swimming, but he never walked without assistance again. At the 1924 Democratic Convention he dramatically appeared on crutches to nominate Alfred E. Smith. In 1928 Roosevelt was elected governor of New York
He was elected president in 1932, the first of four terms. Facing the depths of the Great Depression, he proposed sweeping programs, called the "New Deal," to bring recovery to business and agriculture and relief to the unemployed. He promoted many reforms, including Social Security, progressive taxation, and controls over banks and public utilities.
Roosevelt wanted to keep the United States out of the war in Europe, but when France fell and England came under siege in 1940, he began to send Britain all possible aid short of actual military involvement. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Roosevelt mobilized the nation's manpower and resources for global war.
The gray brown 6-cent sheet stamp was issued January 28, 1966, in Hyde Park, New York. The sheet stamp was produced from plates of four hundred and sold in panes of one hundred stamps with gauge 10.5 x 11 perforations. The stamp was also produced as a vertical coil and booklet panes and issued December 28, 1967, in Washington, District of Columbia. The vertical booklet pane of eight 6-cent stamps was used in combination with the horizontal 1-cent Jefferson pane of eight. The horizontal booklet pane of six 6-cent stamps was used in combination with the vertical 2-cent Frank Lloyd Wright booklet pane of six. The later booklet was sold only through vending machines, at an even one dollar, requiring both the Roosevelt and Wright panes to have slogan labels substituted for one stamp on each pane. A revised horizontal coil version that accommodated stamp-affixing machines was issued on February 28, 1968, in the District of Columbia.
The stamp was designed by Richard Lyon Clark based on a photograph of the president with Winston Churchill during the signing of the Atlantic Charter. Robert J Jones and Howard C. Mildner (vignette) and Howard F. Sharpless (lettering) engraved the stamp.
The 6-cent FDR stamp was used to pay the domestic first-class letter rate when that rate became six cents on January 7, 1968. The stamp was also used in combination with other denominations to cover existing rates.