The one-cent Trans-Mississippi Exposition Issue depicts Jacques Marquette on the Mississippi. In fact the young French priest (attached to a Jesuit mission in Canada) and other members of his small exploration party who crossed Lake Superior headed towards the Mississippi in spring 1674 would never discover the great river. Instead the cabin along the Chicago River in which they passed the winter of 1674-75 would eventually become the site for the city of Chicago. By spring 1675, Marquette (then in his mid-twenties) was dead of an unknown illness.
A painting by William Lamprecht that hung in Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was chosen as the model for the one-cent stamp. Bureau of Engraving and Printing officials paid only three dollars to have it professionally photographed. The resulting 9 x 10-inch image was used by the Bureau vignette engraver, G. F. C. Smillie, to engrave the stamp design.
The 1-cent Marquette stamp was most often used to pay the one-cent card rate. It was also commonly used with other denominations to fulfill large-weight and foreign destination rates. A total of 70,993,400 stamps of the 1-cent Marquette were printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.