Arago: Exhibits


Honoring Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin, one of the most prominent Founding Fathers, has been the subject of many portraits and sculpted busts. Postage stamp designers have relied on these artistic depictions when commemorating Benjamin Franklin. As America’s most prominent Renaissance man, Franklin filled many roles and held many official positions throughout his life. Most importantly to the postal history of the United States, Franklin was the first Postmaster General under the Continental Congress. At the dedication ceremony for the stamp celebrating the 250th anniversary of Franklin’s birth, Albert Robertson, the Assistant Postmaster General, emphasized the importance of Franklin to the development of the Post Office Department. His long relationship with the post is one of many reasons for his commemoration on postage stamps.

Benjamin Franklin portrait

This oil painting of Benjamin Franklin was produced in 1898 by Lloyd Branson. Branson copied a Joseph Siffred Duplessis life portrait of Franklin to produce his painting, which is now housed at the National Postal Museum.

United States Master Collection, Scott 56P

The 1-cent Franklin stamp was designed by James Macdonough of the National Bank Note Company. The image of Franklin depicted on the stamp was adapted from a Jean-Antoine Houdon bust of Franklin executed by the artist in 1778.