1936 1¢ John Paul Jones and John Barry
US #790 was issued on this day in 1936.

On December 15, 1936, the first of 10 stamps in the Army/Navy Set was issued.

The idea for a set of stamps honoring America’s military heroes wasn’t a new one.  Years earlier, President Theodore Roosevelt had suggested such a series of stamps, but nothing was done during his term.

Click on any of these images to find more conditions and First Day Covers for your collection.

Then, Franklin Roosevelt was elected president in 1932.  An avid stamp collector since childhood, he pushed for the creation of more stamps and often submitted his own design and topic suggestions.  Among those suggestions was the Army and Navy Commemorative Series.  It honors notable military leaders from the Revolutionary War through the Spanish American War.  Five stamps honor the Army and five honor the Navy.

1936 1¢ Washington & Green
US #785
1936 1¢ John Paul Jones and John Barry
US #790

The first stamps in the series were issued on December 15, 1936.  US #785 pictures George Washington, Nathanael Greene, and Washington’s home, Mount Vernon.  Also issued on that day, #790 pictures Navy heroes John Paul Jones, John Barry, and their ships the Bonhomme Richard and the Lexington.

1937 2¢ Jackson & Scott
US #786
1937 2¢ Decatur & MacDonough
US #791

The second pair of stamps was issued one month later, on January 15, 1937.  The Army stamp pictures Andrew Jackson, Winfield Scott, and Jackson’s home, the Hermitage.  The Navy issue pictures Stephen Decatur and Thomas MacDonough with a contemporary warship.

1937 3¢ Sherman, Grant and Sheridan
US #787
1937 3¢ Farragut & Porter
US #792

The third set of stamps was issued on February 18, 1937.  The Army stamp honors three Civil War generals – William T. Sherman, Ulysses S. Grant, and Philip Sheridan.  The Navy stamp pictures adopted brothers David Farragut and David Porter.  It also lists each man’s most notable ship – the USS Hartford and the USS Powhatan, and pictures a warship from the era.

1937 4¢ Lee and Jackson
US #788
1937 4¢ Sampson, Dewey, and Schley
US #793

The fourth set was issued on March 23, 1937.  The Army stamp was the most controversial in the series as it pictured Confederate generals Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Lee’s birthplace, Strafford Hall.  When it was first announced, a rumor had spread that the stamp would also picture Jefferson Davis.  After it was issued, Southerners protested the stamp because Lee only had two stars (instead of three), even though it was a simple mistake because of a design change.  The Navy stamp issued on that day pictured three heroes of the Spanish-American War – Admirals William Sampson, George Dewey, and Winfield Schley.

1937 5¢ West Point
US #789
US #794

Issued on May 26, 1937, the fifth set was quite different from all the earlier issues. They were the only stamps in the set to not honor specific military men, rather, they honored each branch’s respective military academy.  They were also the first stamps in the set not issued in Washington, DC.  They were issued at each academy.  The Army stamp pictures the US Military Academy at West Point and includes the school motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.”  The other stamp honors the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  It pictures the school seal and two midshipmen – one in the uniform from the school’s early days, and one from the time the stamp was issued.

Want the complete set of Army-Navy stamps?  Click here to order.

Discover what else happened on This Day in History.

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  1. A wonderful prospective on our early military heroes. I had to revisit my albums with a new appreciation of our stamp history lessons. Thank you, Mystic Stamp.

  2. I just wanted to say I admire your intelligence and your Company’s collective insights of history. Very good I give we you an A + on your work . Keep it up. Best Regards. Brian Barnett

  3. Kind of ironic that stamps honoring Lee and Jackson would be issued by the United States Postal Service since they fought to dismember the United States.

    1. FDR was an astute statesman who won the hearts and minds of Southerners by putting Lee and Stonewall on a stamp. Maybe, FDR knew that war was coming with the Nazis, and he would need all the wild eyed Southern boys and Texans he could find.

      1. Or perhaps it was an echo of the spirit of reconciliation which began when Lincoln, after Appomattox, ordered the band outside the White House to play “Dixie”. It’s an idea completely foreign to our present culture.

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