USPS Recognizes 250 Years of Shaker Design

USPS Recognizes 250 Years of Shaker Design

Shaker Design Stamps

PITTSFIELD, MA — The U.S. Postal Service today revealed the refined, timeless beauty of Shaker design with 12 new stamps, in honor of the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the first Shakers in America.

Attendees at the Shaker Hancock Village explored the collection of furniture, crafts and tools, and had the opportunity to see four of the Shaker designs used in the stamp images.

News of the stamps is being shared with the hashtag #ShakerDesignStamps.

Devoutly religious and committed to simple living, the Shakers imbued everything they made with uncommon grace — from modest oval boxes to furniture, textiles and even architecture. Their minimalist designs include no excessive ornamentation. Instead, the Shakers concentrated on the harmony of form and function, creating pieces renowned worldwide for their simplicity, utility and impeccable quality.

Founded in England in the 18th century, the Shakers were a celibate, pacifist and socially progressive offshoot of mainstream Quakerism. Calling themselves the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, they were persecuted for their beliefs and practices, most notably ecstatic dancing during worship. In 1774, a small group of Shakers immigrated to America and eventually settled near Albany, NY. By the 1840s, at their height, approximately 5,000 Shakers lived in more than a dozen, largely self-sufficient settlements from Maine to Kentucky. They arranged their communities in “families,” where men and women lived as brothers and sisters, property was held in common, and everyone aspired to create heaven on earth.

Shaker design exemplifies some of the core values of Shaker life: honesty, humility and joyful simplicity. Viewing all work as a form of worship, the Shakers found God in the details of everything they made and so they aspired to nothing short of perfection. “Do all your work as though you had a thousand years to live,” urged Shaker leader Ann Lee, “and as you would if you knew you must die tomorrow.” In stripping objects of all but their essential elements, the Shakers not only exposed the elegance inherent in even the most humble of items but also reinvented the concept of beauty itself.

With its emphasis on durability, functionality and timeless minimalism, Shaker design has had a profound effect on generations of architects, artisans and crafters. Today, Sabbathday Lake in Maine remains the only active Shaker village in the world. Other settlements operate as living history museums, where visitors can see authentic Shaker design and experience the Shaker way of life in person.

Stamp Design

The 12 Shaker Design stamps feature photographs by Michael Freeman and are arranged in three rows of four stamps each.

Row 1 (left to right)

Meeting room, Brick Dwelling, Hancock Shaker Village, Pittsfield, MA

The meeting room showcases quintessential elements of Shaker design, including built-in cupboards, a peg rail for keeping items off the floor, a long communal bench, and a cast-iron wood-burning stove.

Tannery, Shaker village of Mount Lebanon, New Lebanon, NY

Founded in 1787, Mount Lebanon served as a model and leader for all other Shaker communities. The tannery, which was built in 1834, highlights the simple symmetry of Shaker architecture.

Spinning wheel, Fruitlands Museum, Harvard, MA

Like everything the Shakers made, this spinning wheel has a simplified and unadorned form that perfectly highlights its function without sacrificing visual appeal.

Staircases, Trustees’ Office and Guest House, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg, KY

Rising three stories and bathed in light, the staircases, which were built in 1839-1841, display Shaker design at its height, their organic form offering a pleasing contrast to the straight lines of the peg rails.

Row 2 (left to right)

Dwelling house hallway, South Union Shaker Village, Auburn, KY

All Shaker dwellings had two staircases, one for men and one for women.

Silk neckerchiefs, South Union Shaker Village, Auburn, KY

The Kentucky Shakers were among the first in the United States to raise silkworms and weave silk into cloth. These brightly colored neckerchiefs were worn over the shoulders to protect clothing and preserve modesty.

Rocking chair, Canterbury Shaker Village, Canterbury, NH

Chairs like this rocker were used by community members and also sold to the “world,” as the Shakers called mainstream society. It features back slats that increase in size from the seat to the top of the chair and are bent just slightly to accommodate the sitter more comfortably.

Bentwood box detail, Hancock Shaker Village, Pittsfield

“Swallowtail” joints allowed the side of a wooden box to expand and contract without buckling or cracking. The joints were secured with copper tacks, which would not rust and discolor the wood.

Row 3 (left to right)

Heater stove, Hancock Shaker Village, Pittsfield

The Shakers discovered that a cast-iron wood-burning stove could heat a room more efficiently than a fireplace. The additional box on top, called a “super heater,” increased the surface area, allowing the stove to give off more heat with the same amount of wood. By enclosing the flames, the stove also decreased the threat of fire.

Cupboard with oval boxes, Fruitlands Museum, Harvard

Because their beliefs stressed cleanliness and order, the Shakers made abundant cupboards and cabinets to keep everyday objects organized, out of sight and free of dust.

Bentwood boxes and carriers, Fruitlands Museum, Harvard

The Shakers made their iconic bentwood boxes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some were finished with a lid, while others featured a handle to make carrying items easier.

Cheese baskets, Hancock Shaker Village, Pittsfield

Dairy farming was an important aspect of life in some Shaker villages. Featuring a large, hexagonal woven pattern, cheese baskets were lined with cheesecloth in order to separate the curds and whey.

Derry Noyes served as art director and designer for the stamp pane.

Shaker Design stamps are being issued in panes of 12 as Forever stamps, which are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce price.

A video about the stamps will be posted after today’s event on the Postal Service’s Facebook and Twitter pages at facebook.com/USPS and twitter.com/usps.

Postal Products

Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products through the Postal Store at usps.com/shopstamps, by calling 844-737-7826, by mail through USA Philatelic or at Post Office locations nationwide. For officially licensed stamp products, shop the USPS Officially Licensed Collection on Amazon. Additional information on stamps, first-day-of-issue ceremonies and stamp- inspired products can be found at StampsForever.com.

Postal Regulatory Commission Continues to Probe DFA

June 17, 2024

Washington, DC – Today, the Postal Regulatory Commission requested information about continued large-scale network changes by the Postal Service despite its announced “pause” in implementing parts of the Delivering for America (DFA) plan. In addition, the Commission asked the Postal Service about the scope and nature of the pilot test described by the Postal Service regarding early DFA efforts in its May 16th response to the Commission’s Show Cause order. The Commission also requested information about the ’recently announced projection of $65 billion in ten-year losses under DFA. The questions are part of the Commission’s public inquiry into the DFA. Continue reading

PRC Releases Report Analyzing Postal Service’s FY 2023 Finances

PRC Releases Report Analyzing Postal Service’s FY 2023 Finances

Washington, DC – The Postal Regulatory Commission released today its Financial Analysis report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023. The in-depth analysis of the Postal Service’s financial performance concluded that the organization’s overall financial condition continues to worsen. In FY 2023, the Postal Service recorded a net operating loss of $2.3 billion — an increase of $1.8 billion over the previous year. When non-operating expenses are included, the overall net loss increases to $6.5 billion.

The primary highlights from the report were:

Continue reading

PMG Touts Modernization Progress in 2024 National Postal Forum Keynote

INDIANAPOLIS — In a keynote address, Postmaster General and CEO Louis DeJoy spoke to more than 4,000 attendees at the 2024 National Postal Forum in Indianapolis. He described major elements of the Delivering for America plan, the history of factors making transformation necessary, and the scale and breadth of the organizational modernization now positioning the organization, and its employees and customers for a successful future. Significant accomplishments and areas of progress include:
Continue reading

United States Postal Service and National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association Continue Contract Negotiations

The National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association issued the following press release:

ALEXANDRIA, VA— The United States Postal Service and the National Rural Letter Carriers’Association (NRLCA) have agreed to extend contract negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. Although the contract with the NRLCA expired at midnight on Monday, May 20th, the Postal Service and the NRLCA have mutually decided to extend the negotiations. Meanwhile, the 2021-2024 National Agreement remains in full force and effect.

U.S. Postal Service Provides Update on Historic Modernization Efforts

  • Postmaster General details network transformation steps for 2024 and beyond in a letter to Members of Congress. The letter can be found here.
  • Initiatives are part of Postal Service’s 10-year Delivering for America Plan to invest $40 billion in nation’s postal network
  • Network transformation will enable world-class service performance at affordable prices

WASHINGTONMay 21, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — To further clarify the implementation plans of the Postal Service Mail Processing Facility Reviews, and continued activity on Regional Processing and Distribution Centers, Sorting and Delivery Centers, and Local Processing Centers, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy transmitted a letter yesterday addressed to Senator Gary Peters, Chairman, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The letter outlines the paused implementation status of the Mail Processing Facility Reviews, as well as the ongoing 2024 activities that will continue to advance and are part of the nearly $15.3 billion in committed self-funded investments. The letter can be found here.

“Our Delivering for America Plan initiatives are breathing new life into the U.S. Postal Service. Despite evident progress, it’s clear that these efforts should have commenced more than a decade ago,” stated Postmaster General and CEO Louis DeJoy. “The need for swift and comprehensive transformation in the Postal Service is undeniable. We remain fully committed to this transformation with the goal of continuously improving service performance for the American people – all while being financially self-sustainable.”

Postal Service Announces Additional Information on 2024 Stamps

Issue dates, locations for July-October releases announced

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Postal Service announced dates and locations for stamp releases between July and the end of 2024.

United States Postal Service Announces Additional Information on 2024 Stamps.
Stamps

Release Date

City

State

ZIP

1-cent Fringed Tulip (no ceremony)
2-cent Daffodils
3-cent Peonies
5-cent Red Tulips
10-cent Poppies and Coneflowers

July 18

Berkeley

CA

94704

Hank Aaron

July 31

Atlanta

GA

30304

Dungeons & Dragons

Aug. 1

Indianapolis

IN

46206

Pinback Buttons

Aug. 15

Hartford

CT

06101

Autumn Colors

Aug. 16

Hartford

CT

06101

First Continental Congress, 1774

Sept. 5

Philadelphia

PA

19104

Christmas Madonna and Child 2024

Sept. 14

Washington

DC

20066

Holiday Joy

Sept. 14

Washington

DC

20066

Hanukkah

Sept. 19

Washington

DC

20066

Kwanzaa

Sept. 25

Pittsburgh

PA

15290

Winter Whimsy (no ceremony)

Oct. 10

Park City

UT

84060

Dates and locations may be subject to change.

Postal Products

Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products through the Postal Store at usps.com/shopstamps, by calling 844-737-7826, by mail through USA Philatelic or at Post Office locations nationwide. For officially licensed stamp products, shop the USPS Officially Licensed Collection on Amazon. Additional information on stamps, First Day of Issue Ceremonies and stamp inspired products can be found at StampsForever.com.

Ansel Adams’ Timeless Portraits Immortalized on Stamps

Ansel Adams Stamps

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA — Today, the Postal Service shined new light on the majestic black-and-white photography of Ansel Adams with stamps celebrating his iconic work. Adams was one of America’s most renowned and influential artists. A dedication ceremony for the stamps was held at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park. News of the stamps is being shared with the hashtag #AnselAdamsStamps.

“As a masterful photographer and dedicated environmentalist, Ansel Adams allowed Americans from all corners of the nation to experience the wonders of our country in vivid detail,” said Daniel Tangherlini, a member of the USPS Board of Governors. “There have been many advances in photographic technology in recent decades, but the clarity and character of an Ansel Adams image is timeless and unsurpassed, just like you see on these stamps unveiled here today.”

As an artist, Adams sought to imbue each of his black-and-white prints with the power and wonder he felt in the presence of nature. As an activist, he influenced U.S. environmental policy by employing his photographs as lobbying tools. Many of his images of the country’s most beautiful places — including the Yosemite Valley, the Tetons and Denali — became icons of the environmental movement.

Throughout a photographic career spanning seven decades, Adams received praise and recognition for his work. The University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard and Yale universities awarded him honorary doctorates. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York held a retrospective exhibition of his photography in 1974, as did the Museum of Modern Art, in 1979. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter awarded Adams the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“Ansel’s passion for his craft, willingness to share his approach and technique, and dedication to both protecting and preserving the environment had a profound influence on how I approached my own journey as a photographer,” said Alan Ross. “It’s wonderful to see Ansel’s artistry and love for natural wonders like Yosemite embodied on U.S. postage stamps.”

The first row of stamps, left to right, features “Half Dome, Merced River, Winter, Yosemite National Park, California” (1938); “Oak Tree, Sunset City, Sierra Foothills, California” (1962); “Thundercloud, Ellery Lake, High Sierra, Sierra Nevada, California” (1934); and “Denali and Wonder Lake, Denali National Park, Alaska” (1947).

The second row, left to right, features “The Golden Gate and Bridge from Baker Beach, San Francisco, California” (c.1953); “Road and Fog, Del Monte Forest, Pebble Beach, California” (1964); “Rock and Grass, Moraine Lake, Sequoia National Park, California” (1936); and “Leaves, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington” (c.1942).

The third row, left to right, features “Monument Valley, Arizona” (1958); “Tetons and Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming” (1942); “Jeffrey Pine, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park, California” (1940); and “Mirror Lake, Mount Watkins, Spring, Yosemite National Park, California” (1935).

The fourth row, left to right, features “Maroon Bells, near Aspen, Colorado” (1951); “Aspens, Dawn, Autumn, Dolores River Canyon, Colorado” (1937); “Road After Rain, Northern California” (1960); and “Dunes, Oceano, California” (1963).

As evidenced by the striking images in this collection, Adams devoted much of his career to the advancement of photography as a fine art. He wrote and photographed extensively for the Sierra Club Bulletin, exhibited his prints at museums across the country, gave lectures on photography’s artistic merit, taught thousands of students in workshops, and helped create the first museum photography department, at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

“It’s an incredible honor for Ansel,” said Matthew Adams, his grandson. “It shows that his popularity continues 40 years after he passed. His work resonates across time. He would be excited and honored.”

Derry Noyes, an art director for USPS, designed the stamps using existing photographs. The Postal Service printed 20 million Ansel Adams stamps, which come in panes of 16. The stamps are issued as Forever stamps, which are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1 ounce price.