Ignacy Paderewski Becomes Prime Minister of Poland 

U.S. #1159 – Paderewski was the 7th honoree in the Champions of Liberty Series.

On January 18, 1919, composer-turned statesman Ignacy Paderewski was sworn in as the first Prime Minister of newly independent Poland.

Paderewski was born on November 6, 1860, in Kuryłówka, Podolia (in present-day Ukraine). Paderewski was perhaps the greatest pianist of his time, admired by all who heard him play.

U.S. #1160 was based on a painting by Polish artist Tade Styka.

In addition to piano pieces, the Polish virtuoso composed dozens of works including operas, sonatas, and symphonies. His music was so popular that he became his own competition. While fans flocked to see him perform live at one location, one of his operas would open to a sold-out crowd across town.

At the breakout of WWI, Paderewski remained staunchly patriotic to his native Poland. He maximized on his fame to raise funds to help Poland’s war victims. He called it his new “begging” role. Paderewski joined the Polish National Committee in Paris and established the Polish Relief Fund in London. Paderewski traveled the United States seeking contributions for various relief funds and charities. Paderewski also met with President Woodrow Wilson in 1918 to ensure that Polish independence was included as point 13 in his peace terms, also known as the Fourteen Points.

U.S. #1159 – Fleetwood First Day Cover.

As the war came to an end and his country’s fate was uncertain, he delivered a stirring speech that sparked the Great Poland Uprising. By the start of 1919, Poland was independent. On January 16, 1919, Paderewski was sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs and on January 18 he became the first Prime Minister of the newly independent Poland. In these roles, he attended the Paris Peace Conference and signed the Treaty of Versailles. After resigning his post in December, he became the Polish Ambassador to the League of Nations.

U.S. #1160 – Classic First Day Cover.

When Paderewski finally returned to the concert stage in 1922, he was again lauded as a “poet of the piano.” He held his first US concert after a long break at the famed Carnegie Hall. Fans also filled the 20,000-seat Madison Square Garden. But even with reestablished fame, he continued his philanthropic endeavors. He played charity concerts, established music scholarships, and graciously donated his own funds. From the start of WWII until his death, he again poured his efforts into Polish relief. The pianist continued to perform all over the world until his death at age 80 on June 29, 1941.

Click here for more from the Paderewski Association website.

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2017: A Year in Review – on Stamps!

Take a look back the major events of 2017 through stamps. And be sure to check back tomorrow for more events and stamps.


On April 16, 2017, a crowd of 662 people dressed as Charlie Chaplin assembled at the Manoir de Ban in Vevey, Switzerland. The celebration was to mark the first anniversary of the museum dedicated to Chaplin on his 128th birthday. The crowd set a world record for the largest gathering of Charlie Chaplins.


At the start of 2017, North Korea announced it was nearly ready to test its missile program. Throughout the year, they carried out a series of missile launches, which led the United Nations to impose sanctions.
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  1. Still a legendary hero of the Polish people and their fierce spirit of independence. Thank you for the timely article.

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