3c Mothers of America Whistler's mother rotary press stamp


Smithsonian's National Postal Museum

Smithsonian's National Postal Museum

A violet 3-cent stamp was issued on May 2, 1934, as a tribute to the mothers of America. The issue was largely at the behest of the American War Mothers organization. The stamp design is an adaptation of James A. McNeill Whistler's painting 'Portrait of my Mother' (originally titled 'An Arrangement in Gray and Black'). Many artists criticized the design as a 'mutilation' of Whistler's painting, which was drastically cropped to emphasize the figure of the mother. A picture on the wall was deleted, and a vase of flowers was added, among other changes.

The stamp was issued in both rotary press and flat plate printings, with the usual small differences in dimension. The flat plate version was reissued on March 15, 1935, in an imperforate, ungummed special printing.
-Gordon T. Trotter, November 27, 2007

Scott Catalogue USA: 737

Museum ID: 1980.2493.2596

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  • Title: 3c Mothers of America Whistler's mother rotary press stamp
  • Date Created: 1934-05-02
  • Medium: paper; ink (deep violet); adhesive / engraving (rotary press printing)


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