A portrait of John Dewey (1859–1952) is featured on the 30-cent stamp of the Prominent American Series. An American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer, Dewey is recognized as one the founders of the philosophical school of thought known as “pragmatism.” He is renowned for his progressive educational theories, which stressed experience and problem solving.
Dewey received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1884, taught at the University of Michigan for a decade, and then joined the faculty at the University of Chicago, where he established and directed the laboratory school. His experience with the lab school provided the opportunity to apply his developing ideas about learning and teaching. He resigned in 1904 after a disagreement with the staff. The Department of Philosophy at Columbia University immediately welcomed him, and he spent the remainder of his career at Columbia. He wrote an extensive body of texts on psychology, human nature and conduct, habit in human behavior, democracy, aesthetics, religion, as well as an examination of fascism.
The 30-cent red lilac Dewey stamp was issued on October 21, 1968, in his birthplace, Burlington, Vermont. The sheet stamp was printed from plates of four hundred and sold in panes of one hundred stamps with gauge 10.5 x 11 perforations. The stamp was designed by Richard Clark based on one of Dr. Dewey’s favorite photographs. Edward P. Archer engraved the vignette, and William R. Burnell engraved the lettering. This was the first time John Dewey had appeared on a U.S. postage stamp.
The 30-cent stamp paid the special delivery and the certified mail fees and later the special handling fee. The stamp was also used as multiples and with other denominations to pay existing postal rates and fees.