Arago: Exhibits


The Man Needed For The Times

From Postmaster To President: Celebrating Lincoln's 200th Birthday Through Stamps & Postal History

Created By

Alexander T. Haimann

Collections Specialist

Smithsonian National Postal Museum

Clifford R. Haimann

Research Intern

Smithsonian National Postal Museum

At the First Day Ceremony for the release of the Prominent Americans Issue Abraham Lincoln postage stamp, Assistant Postmaster General Richard Murphy stated, “It has been the fortunate destiny of the United States that when the gravity of the times demand great men for leadership, great men appear on the stageā€¦The appearance of Abraham Lincoln as our sixteenth president is certainly the best example of this truism.”

The founding fathers of the United States chartered our nation, its laws and its essential governing institutions. President Abraham Lincoln guided the nation through a civil war and kept the work of the founding fathers from falling apart.

Lincoln’s political career illuminates a dedicated public servant with four terms in the Illinois House of Representatives, one term in the US House of Representatives, and finally serving as the sixteenth president of the United States. However, Lincoln’s first civil service position began at the age of twenty-four as the postmaster of the New Salem, Illinois, post office. He was appointed to this position on May 7, 1833. The following year he won election to the Illinois House of Representatives. In 1836, Lincoln won reelection to the State House and with the closing of the New Salem Post Office, ended his tenure as Postmaster. With his inauguration on March 4, 1861, Lincoln became the only president of the United States to have previously served as a town postmaster.

To honor the sixteenth president of the United States in the bicentennial year of his birth, the National Postal Museum celebrates important events in Lincoln's life and his service to the country during one of its darkest hours by featuring Lincoln related stamps and postal history objects.

By "clicking" on individual objects in this Arago featured collection, you can learn more about the objects, "zoom in" to see incredible detail, and view associated object images.

NPM - 4c Abraham Lincoln horizontal coil single

The 4-cent Abraham Lincoln postage stamp, part of the Prominent Americans definitive issue, was released to the public November 19, 1965. (Scott 1282)