Women in the Postal Service and Philately

Topical Reference Page
Nurse Clara Maass in profile, "She gave her life"

Clara Maass stamp, 1976

From the depictions of prominent and remarkable women on American postage stamps to the role of women within the US postal system, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum’s website has something for everyone. A series of featured collections showcases the many and varied women celebrated on American stamps. Web visitors can learn more about the role of women in the history of America’s postal system, from famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart, to relatively unknown colonial postmaster Mary Katherine Goddard.

Amelia Earhart flight suit
Exhibition
The Museum's collection includes a flight suit owned and worn by Amelia Earhart. This tour explores the suit's physical features and their ties to her philatelic and flying passions.
Object Spotlight

On May 20-21, 1932, Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, flying between Newfoundland and Ireland. The feat ensured her not only worldwide acclaim but a place in the annals of aviation history. May 2007 marked the 75th anniversary of this milestone flight, which set speed and women’s distance records. On the flight Earhart carried fifty pieces of “unofficial” mail (the flight was not authorized by the post office), each postmarked before and after landing, cacheted, numbered, and autographed to document the historic event.

Catherine Lemmon Manning
Catherine Lemmon Manning (1881-1957), the first woman outside the sciences to achieve the title “Assistant Curator” at the Smithsonian, tended the National Philatelic Collection for nearly thirty years.
The Maryland Journal front page
Research Article
Left to manage the daily operations of the family's print shop while her brother was away drumming up support for his Constitutional Post, Mary Katherine Goddard published The Maryland Journal, numerous almanacs and broadsides. 
postage stamp featuring an illustration of Amelia Earhart standing with a plane in the background
Take a look at pilot Amelia Earhart’s compelling story. Educators explore Earhart’s life and accomplishments through museum objects and a children’s book.
A Forever stamp with illustration of Celia Cruz singing
Learn about the inspirational life of Celia Cruz, an Afro-Cuban singer whose talent and charisma helped to popularize salsa music in the United States.
Stamp featuring a portrait of Rachel Carson
Explore the life of celebrated environmentalist Rachel Carson with the National Postal Museum and Smithsonian Gardens.
Ruth Asawa and a sheet of stamps showing her artwork
Learn about the fascinating life of Ruth Asawa, a Japanese American artist whose sculptures are featured on a set of postage stamps issued by the USPS in August 2020.

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