Arago: Annapolis Tercentenary Issue

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Annapolis Tercentenary Issue

"From May 22nd to May 27th of the year, Annapolis, Maryland, will celebrate its 300th Anniversary. As part of the program, a bill was passed in the 80th Congress to authorize an Annapolis Tercentenary Commemorative Stamp. A similar bill (S. Joint Res. 22) has likewise passed the Senate this session and that, together with (House Bill 969), introduced by Congressman Sasscer, are now pending before the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee."

Millard E. Tydings, the senator from Maryland, sent this message to Postmaster General Donaldson on February 28, 1949, approximately three months before the event, advising, "A special committee has been appointed to present a design [to the Post Office Department] . . . and now has the matter under way . . . ." But with Donaldson's March 15 response, the responsibility for determining the design seems to have shifted. He wrote, "I have . . . given instructions for procuring suitable subject matter."

Six days later, A. W. Hall, director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, submitted a model of the 3-cent stamp for Third Assistant Postmaster General Joseph Lawler's approval. That same day, a response was drafted by the Committee on Design for Annapolis Tercentenary Stamp asking for two minor changes to the design: the committee would like "First Settlement - PROVIDENCE" removed, and the phrase "Original Settlement" substituted. The reason for this change was that the term 'Providence' had completely gone out of use, and the Original Settlement was on the east side of the Severn River rather than on the west. Also, "remove the lee-board from the ship and, of course, complete the rail. Further research has shown that few of the British ships of this century carried the lee-board." The letter goes on, "Although nothing has been said officially about the color, the Committee still feels that aquamarine would be proper . . . ." The letter was signed by Col. Earl W. Thomson of the U. S. Naval Academy and William A. Strohm, postmaster of Annapolis.

The changes were incorporated by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and it sent a revised model for approval the next day.

The design, a map of the Annapolis area showing the water route from the Chesapeake Bay to the Severn River, bears icons significant to the history of its settlement (the masted ship and long boat carrying Puritans ashore to the original settlement) and natural resources (trees, hills, crab and rock fish). "Numerous old maps of the Virginia-Maryland Area and of the Chesapeake-Severn area were consulted during the designing of this stamp. Among them were Captayne John Smith's maps of 1606, 1612 and 1616; Herman's map of Virginia and Maryland, commissioned by Lord Baltimore, and dated 1670; Ogilby's Nova Terrae Mariae tabula of 1671, which had been corrected from an earlier map of 1635; two old ground plots of the City of Annapolis dated 1718 and 1743; and the Marquis de Lafayette's map of his Severn encampment of 1781." Note that the Annapolis Tercentenary Committee acknowledged the role of "Assoc. Prof. Louis Bolander, Librarian of the Naval Academy, for assistance in research preparatory to design."

The stamp was issued on May 23, 1949, at the Annapolis Post Office.

Dimensions: 0.84 x 1.44 inches

Rotary press, electric-eye perforated

Pane of 50 subjects


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