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[Detail] Suffragettes procession after release from prison.

Designing a Suffrage Stamp

Postal services around the globe, including the U.S. Postal Service, issue commemorative stamps that honor people or events in history. In both 1970 and 1995, the U.S. Postal Service issued stamps marking the anniversary of women’s gaining the vote. Organizations also create “stamps” that can be used to decorate envelopes and carry a message to recipients of the mail. Today these stamps are sometimes called “Cinderella stamps.”  Such a stamp was created by the suffrage movement and saved in the Miller notebooks.

According to the U.S. Postal Service, “Stamp designing is an unusual art form requiring exacting skill in portraying a subject within very small dimensions.” Study a number of the recent issues from the U.S. Postal Service, available in the Stamp Release Archive. Analyze the design, using such questions as the following:

  • How is color used on the stamps?
  • Where is text placed? Which fonts are used?
  • What do the graphics show? How much detail do the graphics have? Are they static? If not, how is motion conveyed?
  • Where are the graphics placed? How are they proportioned with respect to the overall size of the stamp?

Use what you have learned by examining these archived stamps to create a stamp, four-stamp block, or sheet of 20 stamps commemorating the women’s suffrage movement. Use what you have learned by exploring the Miller NAWSA Suffrage Scrapbooks, 1897-1911 to decide what or whom you will show on the stamps.