The Postal Service issued four 32-cent Songwriters commemorative stamps on September 11, 1996, in New York City. These stamps were the first additions to the Postal Service's 1996 Legends of American Music Series. This series began in 1993 and features all generations of American music, including folk, classical, opera, and gospel.
The Songwriters stamps, designed by Gregg Rudd of Fairfield, Connecticut, feature photos of songwriters Hoagy Carmichael, Dorothy Fields, Harold Arlen, and Johnny Mercer. These photos give the feel of animated snapshots, not static photographs, and also have a white background that differentiates this series from the other American Music Series stamps. Hoagy Carmichael, Dorothy Fields, Harold Arlen, and Johnny Mercer, all born between 1899 and 1909, were the leading representatives of a generation of songwriters whose works are distinctively American. They were the earliest songwriter group to reach a mass audience through a revolution in communications technologies, such as phonograph recordings, radio broadcasts, and sound films, as opposed to sheet music. Some of the most notable songs by this group include "Star Dust" (Carmichael), "Lazybones" (Mercer), "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" (Fields), and "Get Happy" (Arlen).
Ashton-Potter (USA), Ltd., printed the stamps, in panes of twenty, using the offset process.
Postal Bulletin (August 15, 1996).