Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Spirit of ’76 Stamps

There are three stamps (U.S. #1629-31) depicting a famous painting by Archibald M. Willard. The stamps show a fife player and two drummers in the Revolutionary War. It was issued in Pasadena, California on January 1, 1976, and was commemorating the US Bicentennial. It was printed in a continuous horizontal design across three stamps. The stamps were designed by Vincent Hoffman. The USPS issued a series of stamps in the Bicentennial series and this set was part of the series. The 13-cents stamps were printed on “Bureau of Engraving and Printing seven-color Andreotti gravure press (601) as sheets of two hundred subjects, tagged, perforated 11, and distributed as panes of fifty. Mr. Zip, “MAIL EARLY IN THE DAY,” electric eye markings, and five plate numbers, one in each color used to print the sheet, are printed in the selvage.”

The painting was originally titled Yankee Doodle for an exhibit in the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876. This painting was bought in 1880 by General John Devereux, a Marblehead native, and donated to the Town of Marblehead. It is displayed in Abbot Hal in memory of all the brave men of Marblehead who died for their country. My husband and I were able to see the original painting in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Music was used in the military to communicate orders to the soldiers. The fife and drums enabled messages to be heard at long distances even during battles. Boys under 16 and men over 15 were allowed to be musicians. Drums told when to load and fire muskets or which direction to march. Fifes told when to cease fire or parley.

This would be great to use in a lesson on the Revolutionary War or how music is used in wars. 

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