January 2017 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Literary Stamps 2017

Snowy Day.jpgGood news for philatelists with bibliophilic tendencies or bibliophiles with philatelic tendencies: The USPS reports that it will issue literary-themed stamps in the coming year. The first is a set of four Forever stamps celebrating the Caldecott-winning children's classic, The Snowy Day (1962). Written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats, whose centennial was celebrated last year, The Snowy Day was one of the first major picturebooks to feature an African-American child.

A campaign has long been afoot to put Keats' groundbreaking character on a stamp. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York advocated for it last March, saying, "Ezra Jack Keats showed us that art can be a powerful form of expression and through his picture books he motivated a generation of children to develop an appreciation for literature."

Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamps (seen above) with Keats' original art.

The USPS will also release this new stamp in celebration of the bicentennial of Henry David Thoreau--who famously wrote in Walden, "For my part, I could easily do without the post-office."

Screen Shot 2017-01-08 at 9.42.35 PM.pngAn earlier stamp of Thoreau was issued in 1967 (price 5 cents) with artwork by Leonard Baskin. Art director Greg Breeding designed the 2017 Thoreau stamp with original art by Sam Weber, who used the 1856 Maxham daguerreotype of Thoreau as a starting point; his take on the naturalist is decidedly warmer than Baskin's.   

Weber's painting of Flannery O'Connor graced the 2015 stamp honoring her.

Images via USPS.