The 20-cent commemorative stamp celebrating the theme "A Nation of Readers" was issued October 16, 1984, in Washington, DC. The First Day Ceremony took place in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress.

Over 50,000 new books were released in 1984 alone, and paid circulation of US daily newspapers at the time stood at more than 60 million. The expansion of leisure time, the shortened workweek, and the population shift from major cities to suburbs altered Americans' reading habits. It has been estimated that the average American spends eleven hours each week reading books, magazines, newspapers and other materials.

Bradbury Thompson of Riverside, Connecticut, based the design of this stamp on a photograph by Mathew Brady which shows Abraham Lincoln reading to his son Thomas (Tad). Thompson was also the stamp's typographer. Art director was Jack Williams; modeler was Esther Porter; engravers were Thomas Hipschen (vignette) and Dennis Brown (lettering & numerals). The intaglio process was used. The stamps were issued in panes of fifty.

Postal Bulletin (September 13, 1984).

Copyright United States Postal Service. All rights reserved.

Scott Catalogue USA: 2106

Museum ID: 1999.2004.377


  • Title: 20c A Nation of Readers stamp
  • Creator: United States Postal Service
  • Date Created: 1984-10-16
  • Subject Keywords: Lincoln, reading
  • Medium: paper; ink (brown, maroon); adhesive / engraving

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps