(P-0004) (C-0268) Above are two more Stamp Day postal items from the past. The first is a rare souvenir post card featuring the State of Iowa Exposition Building on the grounds of the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. The other is a postal cover from Iowa Day at the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962. It’s special Stamp Days like this that get stamp collectors really excited! Now, allow me tell you about the epitome of Stamp Days for an old Iowa historian like myself…
On any normal Tuesday in mid-August – not too many people would be found wandering the streets of West Branch, Iowa. In 2020, the population of this little farm community that sits on the border line between Johnson and Cedar Counties was 2,357. And, I’m guessing on August 10, 1965, that number was closer to 1,200 people. But – 8/10/65 wasn’t any normal Tuesday in August. No! It was…
Yes, 22,000 people came from all over the country on this hot day in August 1965 to celebrate the First Day of Issue for the new 5-cent United States Post Office commemorative postage stamp honoring the 31st President of the United States – Herbert C. Hoover.
President Hoover had passed away in October (1964) and with August 10, 1965 being his 91st birthday, that’s the day the Post Office chose to gather people in his hometown to introduce their new 5-cent postage stamp to the public.
(L-0055) (L-0056) Yes, I was there in West Branch that day with my Mom, Dixie Boller, and my two grandmothers, Edie Boyer & Olive Boller (see pic above). Oh yeah, and I should also mention that former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Vice President Richard M. Nixon were both there that day as well. And just to clarify – they were the main speakers at the event – not me!
August 10th was a real scorcher with temperatures reaching into the 90’s – yet thousands of us lined the streets of West Branch that morning as the “official” Presidential motorcade came into town. I remember, so well, when President Eisenhower’s limousine turned the corner next to us. Ike peered out the window, smiled right at us and waved at my Grandma Edie and me as we were waving back from the crowd. For a young 14-year stamp collector from Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Hoover Stamp Day was one amazing event! And look – it made the papers the next day!
(L-0089) (C-0151) (P-0155) (S-0044) (S-0068) These stamps, postcards and covers celebrate the memory of our 31st President, a great humanitarian and civil servant. Read more about Iowa’s own President Hoover here.
(C-0286) This historic postal cover (below) was put together by the Washington Stamp Exchange in August of 1965 – placing seven other US postage stamps with the Hoover commemorative – all with themes surrounding Herbert Hoover’s life (see letter).
(S-0046) (C-0152) (C-0153) (C-0154) Herbert Hoover featured on the 1986 AMERIPEX-86 Presidential Series Souvenir Sheets. Not since 1938 had a series of U.S. stamps been devoted entirely to past U.S. Presidents. And with this series, another postal “first” occurred when four “mini sheets” were issued by the U.S. Postal Service. Each sheet incorporated nine 22-cent commemorative stamps. Each of 35 stamps honors a deceased U.S. President, and the 36th stamp depicts the White House. These were the very first “mini-sheets” ever issued by the United States. And in addition to a President’s portrait, each stamp bears a facsimile of the President’s signature, plus, the years he served in office.
Today the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum in West Branch includes the Hoover Birthplace Cottage and the gravesites of President Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover.