Arago: 50th Anniversary Social Security Act Issue

50th Anniversary Social Security Act Issue

The 22-Cent commemorative stamp marking the 50th anniversary of the Social Security Act of 1935 was issued August 14, 1985, in Baltimore, Maryland. The dedication ceremony was held at the Social Security Administration's national headquarters there. The stamp went on sale nationwide the following business day.

The first form of social insurance in the United States came into existence in 1908 with a law providing workers' compensation for some federal employees. Several states adopted workers' compensation laws in 1911, but no social security laws were passed until the Social Security Act of 1935. The Act and later amendments have, since then, centered on expanding the coverage and increasing the size of the benefits.

The stamp design was based on the Social Security card held by millions of Americans. The stamp design, rendered in two shades of blue, prominently featured the card's familiar twin columns. Pictured in the center of the stamp were silhouetted figures of three children and four adults, representing the broad spectrum of Americans benefiting from Social Security legislation.

The stamp was designed by Robert Brangwyne of Boston, Massachusetts. Art director and typographer was Richard Sheaff of Needham Heights, Massachusetts; modeler was Richard C. Sennett. The gravure process was used. The stamps were issued in panes of fifty.


Postal Bulletin (July 11, 1985).

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