American Credo Series

U.S. #1139 was issued on this day in 1960 in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

On January 20, 1960, the US Post Office Department issued the first stamp in the American Credo Series.

The Post Office Department created the American Credo Series to “re-emphasize the ideals upon which America was founded and to honor those great Americans who wrote or uttered the credos.” The stamps were designed to resemble colonial currency. Also, symbols that relate to the statement are used in the designs, as well as a likeness of the author’s signature. One hundred distinguished Americans chose the individual principles.

“Observe good faith and justice towards all nations”

US #1139 was the first of the American Credo Series stamps to be issued. It pictures the scales of justice and was first released at Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Virginia. The stamp includes a line from George Washington’s farewell speech in 1796. Washington’s 1796 farewell speech served as the foundation for a substantial portion of American domestic and foreign policy.

U.S. #1140 was issued on March 31, 1960.

“Fear to do ill, and you need fear nought else”

US #1140 was issued in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Ben Franklin made his home as one of America’s Founding Fathers. The stamp shares one of the sayings for which Franklin became famous, taken from his pamphlet, Poor Richard’s Almanack.

U.S. #1141 was issued on May 18, 1960.

“I have sworn… Hostility against every form of TYRANNY over the minds of men.”

The third stamp, US #1141, was issued in Charlottesville, Virginia. The quote was taken from the Collected Writings (Volume 10) of Thomas Jefferson. The original quote was part of an 1800 letter from Jefferson to Benjamin Rush. In addition to the quote and Jefferson’s signature, the stamp also pictures a hand holding a flaming sword.

U.S. #1142 was issued on September 14, 1960.

“And this be our Motto, in GOD is our TRUST.”

US #1142 was issued in Baltimore, Maryland, on the anniversary and at the location where Francis Scott Key wrote the “Defense of Fort McHenry.” The poem, once set to a tune popular at the time called “To Anacreon in Heaven,” became the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and our nation’s national anthem. The popular form of the anthem only features the first stanza. Key’s lyrics included four stanzas, with the highlighted quotation appearing at the end of the song: “And this be our motto: ‘In God we trust’ / And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave / O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

U.S. #1143 was issued on November 19, 1960.

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”

The fifth stamp in the series, US #1143, was issued on the anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The quote on the stamp was taken from an April 1859 letter Lincoln wrote to Henry L. Pierce, about having to decline an invitation to attend a festival in Boston in honor of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. Lincoln’s letter remarked upon the development of the two-party political system in America and Jefferson’s role as the head of one of them. Lincoln further explored the ideas of freedom and responsibility, and how it applied to the slavery issue that was dividing the nation. The line before the quote above stated, “This is a world of compensation, and he who would be no slave must consent to have no slave.”

U.S. #1144 was issued on January 11, 1961.

“Give me liberty or give me death.”

The final stamp in the series, US #1144, was issued on January 11, 1961, in Richmond, Virginia. Henry is best known for his 1775 speech to the House of Burgesses in which he urged the legislature to take military action against the British. The deeply divided house was close to deciding against committing troops when Henry rose to speak. He ended his speech with his most famous words, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” The speech is credited with convincing Virginians to join the Revolutionary War.

U.S. #1139-44 – Click this image to get all of the Credo stamps in one set, on one cover, or as a set of covers.

Click here to see what else happened on This Day in History.


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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 October 24, 2017, Albert Einstein’s “Theory of Happiness” note sold for $1.56 million. Einstein penned the note in 1922 for a Tokyo bellboy, either because he refused to accept a tip, or Einstein didn’t have the small change. He told the bellboy if he was lucky, it might be worth more than spare change one day. The note said, “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”


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In June 2017, President Trump announced that the US would withdraw itself from the Paris Climate Agreement as soon as possible, which be 2019. Trump explained that the agreement would “undermine the US economy” and put the country at a “permanent disadvantage.” The move sparked widespread complaints both in the US and internationally. However, many American companies insisted they would continue to stick the provisions of the agreement even if the US does withdraw.
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  1. I didn’t even know what “credo”was! I think the US post office ought to commemorate stamps today like this. Use quotes from our many cultures in this country. Recognize all of us as acceptable- inviting compassion for Freedom of religion, speech, race, sex, color, etc.

  2. I believe that the Thomas Jefferson quote stamp was issued in Charlottesville, VIRGINIA, not Pennsylvania.

  3. I really enjoyed the information and events leading to and following the historic details in “This Day in History”. I especially like the Famous quotations and writings that were expounded upon. This was one of the best 15 minutes of my day!

  4. I notice you can download a PDF file of the main stamp from each “This Day In History” but not from most of the ‘this also happened articles’. Sometime I’m more interested in the ‘this also happened articles and would also like to be able to download a PDF file of those articles. If all the articles had downloadable PDF’s I’d sure appreciate that feature. I’ve tried some work arounds like copy and pasting the articles in MS Word but the formatting is all wrong.

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