Signed, Sealed, Delivered…With a Library Stamp

You’ve seen athletes, presidents and celebrities featured on stamps. But did you know that influential people in library history have been featured on stamps in the US and across the world? Here are just some of those people that have been featured on US stamps:

1847: Benjamin Franklin – Ben Franklin was involved in a little bit of everything in Pennsylvania and early US history; he was a true Renaissance man. In addition to being an author, statesman and inventor, he was a librarian for the Library Company of Philadelphia. Ben Franklin helped collect books from his circle of friends to create The Library Company which, according to its web site, “is America’s first successful lending library and cultural institution.” Look for more information about the Library Company of Philadelphia in a November blog to celebrate the Company’s anniversary.

1938: Thomas Jefferson – Jefferson was the third president of the United States. He also cataloged and classified materials for the University of Virginia Library, as well as for his own library. Jefferson’s own library was later used as the foundation of the Library of Congress’ collection.

1960: Andrew Carnegie – According to, Carnegie is often referred to as “The Patron Saint of Libraries.” He donated over $56 million to construct more than 2,509 libraries, including Hamburg, Pa.’s community library. The cornerstone of Hamburg’s library was laid in 1903. The library’s web site says that it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988, and that it is Berks County’s “longest continuing library.” Learn more about Andrew Carnegie in a November blog post commemorating his birthday.

1986: In September 1986, the U.S. featured John Harvard on a stamp. Harvard was a clergyman who donated his 400 volume library to the New College in Cambridge, Mass. The New College later became Harvard College.

Here are some other important people in library history that have been featured on stamps in other countries:

1957: D. Figarola Caneda was featured on a Cuban stamp in October 1957. He was the first director of the National Library of Cuba, now the Jose Martí National Library.

1959: In September 1959, Ecuador featured Alfredo Baquerizo Moreno on a stamp. Moreno was Ecuador’s president, and the director of the Guayaquil’s public library in 1890.

1985: Norway placed Carl Deichman on a stamp in October 1985. Deichman was the founder of the Norway public library system, and his stamp was issued on the library system’s 200th anniversary.

1992: Dr. Shiri Shiyali Ramarita Ranganathan was honored by being featured on a stamp in India in December 1992. She was an internationally famous librarian who developed the Five Laws of Librarianship. According to an article by Richard A. Leiter that was published in the Law Library Journal, her laws have helped form the foundation of librarianship, and people are now trying to apply them to the digital age of libraries. Her laws are:

*Books are for use.
*Every reader his or her book.
*Every book its reader.
*Save the time of the reader.
*The library is a growing organism.

These are just a handful of the influential people in library history that have been featured on stamps. For a more complete list, visit


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