1984 30¢ Great Americans: Frank C. Laubach
US #1864 was issued on Laubach’s 100th birthday.

Missionary Frank Charles Laubach was born on September 2, 1884, in Benton, Pennsylvania.

Laubach attended Princeton University and Union Theological Seminary before earning a PhD from Columbia University in 1915.  That same year, he and his wife traveled to the Philippines to serve as Congregational missionaries with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

1984 20¢ Nation of Readers
US #2106 – Laubach dedicated his life to teaching people how to read.

While working in the Philippines, Laubach was troubled by the poverty, injustice, and illiteracy he saw, which he believed were barriers to peace.   In particular, Laubach was most concerned with illiteracy and made it his life’s work to help people learn to read.  In 1930 he developed an alphabet for the Maranaw people of Mindanao, Philippines.  He would then spend the next 40 years visiting more than 100 countries creating literacy primers (books) for 312 languages.  During this time he worked with different missions, private agencies, governments, USAID, the Peace Corps, and UNESCO.

1984 30¢ Frank C. Laubach Colorano Silk Cachet First Day Cover
US #1864 – Colorano Silk Cachet First Day Cover

One of Laubach’s most significant contributions was his “Each One Teach One” program.  While he didn’t invent the phrase (it dates back to before the Civil War), he used it to encourage every adult that learned the language to then volunteer their time to teach others.  Over the years, this program has helped about 60 million people learn to read in their native language.

1974 10¢ Dove of Peace Weather Vane
US #1552 – Laubach believed the path to world peace was through literacy.

During his career, Laubach created the World Literacy Committee and helped found the Committee on World Literacy and Christian Literature of the National Council of Churches.  He also founded World Literacy, Inc. and Laubach Literacy, Inc.  Laubach is often considered to be the founder of the worldwide literacy movement.  He spent his later years traveling the world speaking about illiteracy and its connection to poverty and world peace.  He died on June 11, 1970.

1984 20c Dr Frank Laubach First Day Maximum Card
Item #M84-38 – First Day Maximum Card

The Frank Laubach stamp issued in 1984 as part of the Great Americans Series is the only US stamp honoring an American missionary.

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One Comment

  1. It was a great honor to plan and coordinate the Frank Laubach 1st Day of Issue Event held in September 1984 in Benton PA.

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