Telling the Story of a Nation

Remembering Abraham Lincoln

1-cent Abraham Lincoln stamp
The 1-cent stamp with a representation of the "Beardless Lincoln" was issued on Lincoln's 150th Birthday, February 12, 1959.

Regarded as one of America's greatest leaders, many American artists celebrated Abraham Lincoln while he was alive and in the years following his death with numerous portraits.

Lincoln also has a connection to the postal world. In 1833 he assumed the duties of the postmaster of New Salem, Illinois, becoming the only man to serve as a postmaster and later president. Given his importance to this country and his relationship with the post, Lincoln has been featured on many postage stamps. For example, in 1959, the government released a commemorative series celebrating the 150th anniversary of the president's birth. In his remarks at the ceremony for the release of the first stamp of the series (shown at left), George M. Moore, executive assistant to the Postmaster General, emphasized Lincoln’s wisdom, ability to teach basic truths, and principled nature.

The 1-cent stamp shown at left was designed by Ervin Metzl who used a painting by George Healy to portray Lincoln. Known as the “Beardless Lincoln,” this work highlights a younger looking Lincoln desired by the Post Office Department for the stamp. Healy painted the piece from life in 1860 following the election of Lincoln to the presidency. This artist was one of the most well known portrait painters of the 19th century. Born in Boston, Healy underwent training in Paris and eventually settled in Chicago.