Women in the Postal Service and Philately

Women in the Postal Service and Philately

Rosie the Riveter pictured on the Women Support War Effort postage stampAs part of the Celebrate the Century series, the U.S. Postal Service issued this stamp featuring Rosie the Riveter on February 18, 1999.

From the depictions of prominent and remarkable women on American postage stamps to the role of women within the US postal system, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum’s website has something for everyone. A series of featured collections showcases the many and varied women celebrated on American stamps. Web visitors can learn more about the role of women in the history of America’s postal system, from famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart, to relatively unknown colonial postmaster Mary Katherine Goddard.

20 cent stamp of Eleanor Roosevelt

Women on Stamps Part One: Women’s Stamp on History

This featured collection is the first in a series focusing on the accomplishments of women featured on stamps. In Women on Stamps Part One, we acknowledge the efforts of pioneering women and early government leaders who entered previously unexplored territories – from the frontier to the Senate floor.

The American Woman- 4 cent stamp with a woman and girl

Women on Stamps Part Two: Pioneering Women

Many of the women depicted on United States postage stamps have made significant contributions to their chosen professions. In Women on Stamps: Part 2, we feature women who pioneered in the fields of health, science, education, philanthropy, aviation and athletics.

Louise Nevelson stamp

Women on Stamps Part Three: Women in Literature and the Arts

The first part of this online exhibit highlights the accomplishments of women, whether painters, sculptors, illustrators, or photographers, who have greatly contributed to the world of American art. The second part discusses women in literature. From journalists such as Ida Tarbell to novelists such as Edith Wharton, these women not only made great contributions to American literature, they also expanded opportunities for future women authors.

The Wizard of Oz- 25 cent stamp with an illustration of Dorothy and Toto

Women on Stamps Part Four: Women in the Performing Arts

This online exhibit is comprised of two sections. The first section discusses prominent female singers. From gospel music to popular hits, these women have helped shape the musical traditions of America. The second section highlights women that have contributed to the fields of theatre and dance. Whether they are Broadway dancers or iconic movie actresses, these women have had a tremendous influence on the stage and screen.

photo of Amelia Earhart with goggles

Amelia Earhart’s Solo Transatlantic Mail

On May 20-21, 1932, Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, flying between Newfoundland and Ireland. The feat ensured her not only worldwide acclaim but a place in the annals of aviation and postal history.

black and white photo of African American women during WWII

The History and Experience of African Americans in America’s Postal Service: Female African American Postal workers during WWII 

The United States Army remained segregated during World War II. A group of African American women played a significant role in maintaining troop morale during the conflict. These women belonged to the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, part of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC).

sepia photo of an African American woman holding a gun

Women in the U.S. Postal System

America’s postal system has evolved from one in which women were rarely seen or heard to one in which women are a critical part of the service. The U.S. has yet to see a female postmaster general; the 21st century finds women in many executive positions across the service.

The Maryland Journal- black and white copy of a newspaper

Mary Katherine Goddard

Mary Katherine became Baltimore’s postmaster in 1775. She held the post for 14 years. But in 1789, Postmaster General Samuel Osgood removed her from the position stating that it would require “more traveling . . . than a woman could undertake.” On November 12, 1789, over 230 citizens of the city of Baltimore presented Postmaster General Osgood with a petition demanding her reinstatement.


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