The Post Office Department issued the Volunteer Firemen stamp to honor the 300th anniversary of volunteer firemen service in the United States. Ceremonies took place on October 4, 1948, at Dover, Delaware.
The issue's vignette features a portrait of Peter Stuyvesant, director general of the Dutch colony New Netherland, 1647-1664. The name and wording "Organizer of the first Volunteer Firemen in America" appear below the portrait. To the left and right of the portrait are an early and a modern fire engine, respectively. In a single line across the top appears "300th Anniversary Volunteer Firemen, with the dates "1648-1948" just below the line. On the dark panel at the bottom in the same style are the attributes "Unselfish Public Service. Courage, Duty".
W.K Schrage of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing designed the stamp. A print of a painting of Peter Stuyvesant obtained from the Library of Congress served as a model for the vignette. A photograph of an early fire engine from the book "Ye Old Fire Laddies" (by Herbert Asbury) and a photograph of a modern fire engine from the July 1948 magazine entitled "N.F.P.A. Firemen," published by the Riverdale, Maryland, Volunteer Fire Department, also served as models.
At the First Day ceremony, volunteer fireman received high praise. The speaker stressed that the new, red stamp gives "recognition on behalf of the people of the United States to a group which, in all its 300 year existence, [has] personified the meaning of courage and the meaning of duty."
Steven J. Rod