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Poster stamp celebrating the sesquicentennial of the Bill of Rights

Object | Accession Number: 2018.233.25

Poster stamp from the Council Against Intolerance (CAIA) celebrating the sesquicentennial of the Bill of Rights of the United States in 1941. Poster stamps were collectable stamps, slightly larger than postage stamps, with designs similar to posters. Although they were not valid for postage, poster stamps could be affixed to letters and envelopes as a means for fundraising, propaganda, and educational purposes. The stamp features an image of George Washington, Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, and first President of the United States. Washington’s image was considered a patriotic national symbol of the Revolutionary Era, and was commonly used on ephemera celebrating anniversaries and achievements from that time. On December 15, 1941, a nationwide celebration was held to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, which codified the public’s rights and civil liberties in relation to the government. Happening just a week after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the event helped to reinvigorate a disheartened nation. The celebration was broadcast throughout the country. It featured a play starring several prominent actors and actresses, a performance of the Star-Spangled Banner by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and a capstone speech by President Franklin Roosevelt. The event was organized by the CAIA, a New York-based group founded by James Waterman Wise in the 1938. The CAIA staged public gatherings, radio shows, and created teacher’s manuals and books that preached against intolerance and prejudice, arguing it was un-American, and would undermine national unity in a time of war.

Defend our Bill of Rights
commemoration:  1791 December 15
publication/distribution:  1938-1941 December 15
distribution: United States
War Propaganda
Object Type
Poster stamps (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Forrest James Robinson, Jr.
Record last modified: 2023-03-02 09:36:13
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