WILKES-BARRE — They are called the “12 forever stamps” and they comprise the U.S. Postal Service’s most recent issuance, “Made in America: Building a Nation,” postage stamps that honor the courageous workers who helped build our country.
The sheet features 12 stamps in three rows of four. Eleven of the 12 stamp images were taken by photographer Lewis Hine, a chronicler of early 20th-century industry. The stamps will be issued Aug. 8.
The three rows are:
• Top row: an airplane maker, a derrick man on the Empire State Building, a millinery apprentice and a man on a hoisting ball on the Empire State Building.
• Middle row: a Linotyper in a publishing house, a welder on the Empire State Building, a coal miner and riveters on the Empire State Building. (The coal miner stamp is the only one of the 12 that does not feature a Hine photograph. The image is from the Kansas Historical Society.)
• Bottom row: a powerhouse mechanic, a railroad track walker, a textile worker and a man guiding a beam on the Empire State Building.
Ray Daiutolo, U.S. Postal Service spokesman, said there are five different sheets available. Each one contains the same stamps, but is anchored by a different photograph.
The Hine images include two Empire State Building iron workers and a General Electric worker measuring the bearings in a casting. The fourth photograph is the same image of the coal miner that appears in the stamp pane. The final photograph, taken by Margaret Bourke-White, depicts a female welder.
“In addition to the photos chosen, the naming of the sheet demonstrates that in doing these often unseen jobs, these American workers made crucial historical contributions, transforming the U.S. into an industrial giant,” Daiutolo said. “The pane showcases images of early 20th-century industrial workers. Their contributions were essential to the growth of the modern U.S.”
Daiutolo said the Postal Service’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee is tasked with evaluating the merits of all stamp proposals. Established in 1957, the committee provides the Postal Service with a “breadth of judgment and depth of experience in various areas that influence subject matter, character and beauty of postage stamps.”
He said the committee’s primary goal is to select subjects of broad national interest for recommendation to the Postmaster General that are interesting and educational. In addition to the Postal Service’s extensive line of mail use stamps, approximately 20 new subjects for commemorative stamps are recommended each year.