Over the years, Iowa has produced a lot of very fine people. Regular, down-to-earth kind of folks who go on to make a pretty big name for themselves. The complete list is too long, of course, to offer, but we can share those unique women and men with strong Iowa roots, individuals the USPS have honored with postage stamps over the years.
Grant Wood (1891 – 1942) – Artist.
(S-0054) (C-0188) (C-0186) (S-0049) (C-0165) Once a high school art teacher at McKinley in Cedar Rapids, Grant Wood is recognized as one of the most important representatives of the artistic style of regionalism, which flourished in America in the 1930s. The majority of Wood’s paintings focused on the people and rural countryside typically seen in Iowa.
Carrie C. Catt (1859 – 1947) – Woman’s Suffrage.
Glenn Miller – Big Band Leader.
(C-0190) 1996- Glenn Miller – Big Band Leaders Series. Composer, band leader, arranger, and trombonist, Glenn Miller was, and remains, one of America’s most popular musical figures. Born in Clarinda, Iowa in 1904, Miller’s band played a mix of smooth, danceable ballads and crisp, driving swing numbers. At the start of World War II, Miller joined the U.S. Army Air Force. He attained the rank of captain and then major, as leader of the Air Force band in Europe. While flying from England to Paris in 1944, his plane disappeared and was never recovered. Miller’s hit records include “In the Mood,” “Little Brown Jug,” “Sunrise Serenade,” and “Moonlight Serenade” – the band’s theme song.
George Washington Carver (1864 – 1943) – Scientist.
George Washington Carver (1864-1943) was an agricultural scientist and inventor who developed hundreds of products using peanuts, sweet potatoes and soybeans. Born into slavery a year before it was outlawed, Carver left home at a young age to pursue education and continued that training in Iowa – Simpson College in Indianola (1890-1891), agricultural science (Iowa State University -1894) and was the first black faculty member at ISU (1894-1896) earning a master’s degree. He would go on to teach and conduct research at Tuskegee University (1896-1943).
William Frederick (Buffalo Bill) Cody (1846 – 1917) – Showman.
(C-0193) Buffalo Bill Cody – Great American Series. William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody was an American soldier, a bison hunter, and showman. He was born on February 26, 1846, on a farm outside Le Claire, Iowa, but lived for several years in his father’s hometown of Toronto, Canada before the family returned to the Midwest, settling in the Kansas Territory. Cody started working at the age of eleven, after his father’s death, and became a rider for the Pony Express at age 15. During the Civil War, he served the Union from 1863 to the end of the war in 1865. Later he served as a civilian scout for the US Army during the Indian Wars, receiving the Medal of Honor in 1872.
(S-0056) Buffalo Bill Cody – Legends of the West Series. One of the most famous and well-known figures of the American Old West, Buffalo Bill’s legend began to spread when he was only 23. Shortly thereafter he started performing in shows that displayed cowboy themes and episodes from the frontier and Indian Wars. He founded Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in 1883, taking his large company on tours in the United States and, beginning in 1887, in Great Britain and continental Europe.
John Wayne (1907 – 1979) – Actor.
(S-0060) John Wayne – Legends of Hollywood Series. Born in Winterset, Iowa on May 26, 1907, John Wayne was a leading Hollywood star for nearly half a century. Born Marion Robert Morrison, Wayne’s first starring role was in the 1930 film The Big Trail, Hollywood’s first epic Western sound motion picture. Nine years later, Wayne became a major star with the film Stagecoach. Wayne played the male lead role in 142 of 153 films, setting an industry record. As Hollywood’s most outspoken conservative Republican, Wayne was asked to run for President in 1968. He declined because he didn’t believe an actor could be elected to the highest office. Wayne was awarded an Academy Award for his role in the 1968 hit True Grit. President Jimmy Carter awarded the legendary actor the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980. This John Wayne stamp is the tenth issue of the Legends of Hollywood Series.
Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004) – Radio Broadcaster, Actor, President of the U.S.
(L-0026) Ronald Wilson Reagan, 40th president of the United States (1981-1989), became a highly influential voice of modern conservatism. Prior to his presidency, he was a Hollywood actor and union leader before serving as the 33rd governor of California (1967-1975). Reagan was a Midwesterner at heart, born in central Illinois (Tampico) on Feb. 6, 1911, Reagan graduated from Eureka College in 1932, when jobs were tight because of the Depression. Luck was with Reagan when he landed a broadcasting job at Davenport’s radio station WOC, which needed an announcer to broadcast University of Iowa football games. Reagan’s first assignment – for $5 and bus fare – was the Hawkeye’s Homecoming game in Iowa City against Minnesota (1932).
In the spring of 1933, partly because he had covered the Drake Relays so skillfully, Reagan was chosen to become chief sports announcer for WOC’s sister station, WHO in Des Moines. “Dutch” (a childhood nickname because of his “Dutch boy” haircut) gained national media exposure covering Iowa Football and recreating Chicago Cubs baseball games from the WHO studio in Des Moines via telegraph. During one game between the Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals, with the score tied 0-0 in the 9th inning, the telegraph went dead. Reagan smoothly improvised a fictional play-by-play (in which hitters on both teams gained a superhuman ability to foul off pitches) until the wire was restored!
(S-0057) (S-0058) (S-0059) Ronald Reagan – 100th Anniversary (1911-2011).