1980 15¢ Letter Writing: Letter's Preserve Memories
US #1805-06 were issued on this day in 1980.

On February 25, 1980, the USPS issued a set of stamps commemorating National Letter Writing Week.  Those stamps marked the first time that the USPS issued a sheet of stamps with three sets of vertical pairs.

In 1980, National Letter Writing Week ran from February 24 through March 1.  It was the first time the US observed Letter Writing Week in 15 years.  But they invested a great deal of time and effort into promoting it.

The USPS worked closely with the National Council of Teachers of English as well as business leaders and other prominent Americans to promote the week’s events.  Throughout the country letter writing displays were set up in museums, libraries, and other buildings of historical significance.  Libraries and bookstores also highlighted books about letters as well as letters written by famous people.

On February 25, the USPS held a special First Day of Issue Ceremony at the Library of Congress for the set of Letter Writing stamps.  These stamps represented an interesting first – the first sheet to carry sets of vertical pairs.  Each pair consisted of a small stamp reading, “P.S. Write Soon,’ accompanied by a stamp telling what letters do.  They were “Letters Preserve Memories,” “Letters Lift Spirits,” and “Letters Shape Opinions.”

1980 15¢ Letter Writing
US #1805-10 – Mint Plate Block of 36

In addition to the festivities, the USPS worked with the National Council of Teachers of English to produce the 64-page booklet, All About Letters.  The booklets were distributed to students in grades six through 12 and included instructions on writing letters for a number of situations.  It also included articles by Stevie Wonder, Darryl Stingley, and “Dear Abby” offering reasons to write letters and postcards.

1980 15¢ Letter Writing Classic First Day Cover
US #1805-10 – Classic First Day Cover

The booklet also included addresses for pen pal organizations as well as celebrities.  There were address abbreviations, explanations of the ZIP code, and a guide to postal services and products including the classes of mail, the speed of delivery of different types of mail, how to send valuables, and more.

1980 15¢ Letter Writing Colorano Silk Cachet First Day Cover
US #1805-10 – Colorano Silk Cachet First Day Cover

The legacy of National Letter Writing Week continues in several ways.  September 1 is celebrated as World Letter Writing Day, December 7 is National Letter Writing Day, and April is National Letter Writing Month.  In recent years, National Letter Writing Week has been celebrated in the second week of January.

1980 15¢ Letter Writing Set of Fleetwood First Day Covers
US #1805-10 – Set of Fleetwood First Day Covers

Click here to read the USPS book All About Letters.

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  1. I remember this well. I bought several sheets for my collection. Created a bunch of various FDCs too. They’re so unique. Two different sized stamps with a total of six different stamp designs.
    I wonder if the USPS will be doing anything in the future for Nation Email Week?

  2. I think it would be amazing to have letter writing with how-to’s promoted annually in every junior high and high school in the nation. Writing and/or receiving a letter in the mail is a dying part of a wonderful simpler life. A big part of my time spent with my grandchildren is spent showing them how to write a short letter or a note and then mail it to a friend or someone you love. They now ask about working on cards to mail while at my house! Before my youngest granddaughter learned how to read and write, she would draw or color a picture and mail it to or both of her parents while at my house for the day. She was delighted to check the mail with her parents a few days later when they got mail from her! Nothing warms your heart like a notecard received in the mail from someone who cares. Promote this practice in your children and grandchildren starting today…you will benefit in so many ways.

  3. It seems letter writing is a lost art. Some might think it has decreased due to e-mail and texting. I think it was waning long before that. I used to write letters in the past with so few – if any – who would write back.

    I think a letter is a sign that one took the time to not only write but also to compose a letter and mailed it. It would not have to be elegant but can be simple.

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