To commemorate the bicentennial of the official launch of the Lewis and Clark expedition on May 14, 1804, a special 32-page prestige booklet, Lewis & Clark: The Corps of Discovery, 1804-1806 and a 37-cent Lewis & Clark Bicentennial commemorative stamp were issued on May 14, 2004 in the following cities: Astoria, Oregon; Atchison, Kansas; Great Falls, Montana; Hartford, Illinois; Ilwaco, Washington; Orofino, Idaho; Omaha, Nebraska; Pierre, South Dakota; Sioux City, Iowa; St. Charles, Missouri; Washburn, North Dakota.
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led the Corps of Discovery on a heroic expedition from the mouth of the Missouri River near St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean and back. President Thomas Jefferson had instructed them to follow the Missouri and Columbia Rivers and locate the elusive Northwest Passage.
Along the way, they explored much of the territory of "Louisiana," the vast uncharted wilderness west of the Mississippi River that the United States had recently purchased from France. They mapped rivers; collected plants and animals new to science; held councils with Indians; and kept detailed journals — books destined to become classics of both American history and American literature.
The booklet contains two semi-jumbo stamp designs in self-adhesive panes of ten. The stamps feature individual portraits of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark painted by Michael J. Deas in a style reminiscent of early nineteenth-century portraits of the two explorers. The text was written by Ron Fisher, a Lewis and Clark enthusiast who has visited many of the expedition's sites and first wrote about the Corps of Discovery in 1970. Fisher's article, "Lewis and Clark: Naturalist-Explorers," appeared in the October 1998 issue of "National Geographic."
The commemorative stamp, designed and painted by Michael J. Deas, depicts Meriwether Lewis and William Clark standing on a promontory surveying the countryside.
Ashton-Potter (USA), Ltd., printed 1 million booklets in the intaglio/offset process.
Postal Bulletin (April 15, 2004).