DAR National Headquarters
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January 20, 2005 Bren Landon
(202) 572-0563
Marian Anderson Returns to Constitution Hall on U.S. Postage Stamp

Legendary Singer Marian Anderson Returns to Constitution Hall
On U.S. Postage Stamp

WASHINGTON, DC – Operatic and concert star Marian Anderson will be commemorated on a new United States postage stamp on January 27,
2005.  The stamp honoring Anderson is the 28th in the Postal Service’s popular Black Heritage series. The first-day-of issue ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. at the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Memorial Continental Hall at Constitution Hall, O’Byrne Gallery, 17th & D Street, NW, Washington, DC.  The ceremony is free and open to the public.

A gifted vocalist, Anderson was one of the greatest classically trained singers of the 20th century and an important figure in the struggle of black Americans for racial equality. Singing a varied repertoire in her rich contralto, Anderson opened doors for other black artists.

“The beauty of Marian Anderson's voice, amplified by her courage and grace, brought attention to the eloquence of the many voices urging our nation to overcome prejudice and intolerance,” said DAR President General Presley Merritt Wagoner, who will provide the welcome address at the stamp dedication ceremony. “The Daughters of the American Revolution are proud to participate with the U.S. Postal Service in celebrating the issuance of the Marian Anderson commemorative stamp.”

Deputy Postmaster General John M. Nolan will dedicate the stamp at the ceremony. Scheduled to join him are DAR President General Wagoner; mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves; Allan Keiler, musicologist and author of the biography, Marian Anderson: A Singer’s Journey; Anderson’s nephew, Oregon Symphony music director James DePriest; and performers from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.  Renowned soprano Kathleen Battle and a representative from the University of Pennsylvania will be among the many honored guests.

“It is an honor to celebrate the life and legacy of Marian Anderson,” said Postmaster General John E. Potter. “Her powerful voice and quiet determination helped in bringing down the walls of inequality and injustice during a time of great challenge for our nation.  It was Anderson’s spectacular combination of talent and perseverance that made her such a powerful messenger for America’s civil rights movement.”

Washington, D.C., as host to the event, holds the unique distinction of being the only city in the nation where the stamp will be available on Thursday, January 27.  The stamp will be available at Post Offices and Philatelic Centers nationwide on Friday, January 28.

Marian Anderson was born February 27, 1897, in Philadelphia, Pa.  She started singing early in life and at the age of six, joined the family’s church choir.  Recognizing her talent and her need to study with professional teachers, members of her community took it upon themselves to raise the funds for her musical training.

Anderson once said, “The faith and confidence of others in me have been like shining, guiding stars.” Classical musicians of that era rose in professional stature at home by studying and performing in Europe.  Anderson made her first journey to Europe in late October 1927.  In 1930, she was awarded a fellowship that allowed her to study in Berlin.  Her time abroad was immensely important to her emotional and artistic growth, enabling her to deepen her understanding of the languages she sang, to make professional connections, and to escape many of the constraints of black life in America.

After American producer Sol Hurok heard Anderson sing in Paris, he began to represent her in the United States, where his business practices effectively made her the equal of white concert artists.  On December 30, 1935, he presented Anderson at Town Hall in New York.  The concert was a grand success and a New York Times critic hailed Anderson as “one of the great singers of our time.”

Aware of Anderson’s growing reputation, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt invited her to sing for guests at a White House dinner party in 1936.  Eleanor Roosevelt subsequently praised Anderson’s performance in a newspaper column.

Three years later, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), refused to make its Washington venue, Constitution Hall, available for Anderson’s Easter concert due to a “white artists only” policy. As a result, Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR, and on Easter Sunday, 1939, Anderson gave a historic and highly symbolic performance outdoors before 75,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial.  Her performance was broadcast via radio nationwide. Anderson subsequently performed at Constitution Hall on several occasions, including the summer of 1942 when the DAR invited her to appear at the hall for the first concert in a series of benefit performances to aid the war relief. Anderson also began her farewell American tour at DAR Constitution Hall in 1964.

Anderson became the first black singer to appear on the stage of New York’s Metropolitan Opera.  In January 1955, she sang the role of the sorceress Ulrica in Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera.”  The following year, she published a successful autobiography, My Lord, What a Morning.  She performed at an inaugural ceremony for President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s second term and for the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. 

As she neared the twilight of her career, Anderson’s activities encompassed more than music. The State Department named her a goodwill ambassador to Asia.  In 1958, she was appointed a delegate to the thirteenth session of the United Nations.

At the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August, 1963, Anderson again sang at the Lincoln Memorial.  The following December, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Anderson won the United Nations Peace Prize in 1977 and her 75th birthday, in 1972, was marked by a gala concert at Carnegie Hall, where she received New York City’s Handel Medallion and a congressional resolution of congratulations delivered by First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Many more honors were bestowed upon Anderson including the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Springarn Medal for outstanding achievement by a black American. In 1991, she received a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Anderson died on April 8, 1993, in Portland, Ore., where she had moved to be with her nephew. The stamp art shows an oil painting by Albert Slark of Ajax, Ontario, Canada, based on a black-and-white photograph believed to have been made by Moise Benkow in Stockholm circa 1934.  Richard Sheaff of Scottsdale, Ariz., is art director and designer of the stamp.

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America’s future through better education. As one of the most inclusive genealogical societies in the country, DAR boasts 170,000 members in 3,000 chapters across the United States and internationally. Any woman 18 years or older—regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background—who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible for membership. The DAR National Headquarters complex occupies an entire city block near the White House and includes three adjoining buildings. Two of the buildings are Registered National Historic Landmarks: DAR Memorial Continental Hall houses one of the nation’s premier genealogical libraries and one of the foremost collections of pre-industrial American decorative arts; DAR Constitution Hall is Washington’s largest concert hall. For more information about the DAR, visit


For specific U.S. Postal Service media inquiries contact:
Frances Frazier                                 

Deborah Yackley

Technical Details:
Issue: Marian Anderson Commemorative Stamp
Item Number: 458000
Denomination & Type of Issue: 37-cent Commemorative
Format: Pane of 20 (1 design)
Series:                                                  Black Heritage
Issue Date & City: January 27, 2005, Washington, DC  20066
Designer: Richard Sheaff, Scottsdale, AZ
Engraver Southern Graphics Systems
Artist:                                                  Albert Slark, Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Art Director: Richard Sheaff, Scottsdale, AZ
Typographer:                                       Richard Sheaff, Scottsdale, AZ
Existing Photography:  Moisé Benkow, Stockholm, Sweden
Modeler:                                             Donald Woo
Manufacturing Process:     Gravure
Printer:                                                 Sennett Security Products (SSP)
Printed at:                                           American Packaging Corporation, Columbus, WI
Press Type:                                         Ceruti, 950
Stamps per Pane:                                  20
Print Quantity:                                     150 million stamps
Paper Type:                                        Phosphored tagged
Adhesive Type:                                    Pressure-sensitive
Processed at:                                      Unique Binders, Fredericksburg, VA
Colors:                                               Magenta, Yellow, Cyan, Black
Stamp Orientation:                             Vertical
Image Area (w x h):                          0.84 x 1.41 in./21.336 x 35.814 mm
Overall Size (w x h):                        

0.99 x 1.56 in./25.146 x 39.624 mm

Pane Size (w x h):                            5.94 x 7.25 in./150.87 x 184.15 mm
Plate Size:                                        360 stamps per revolution
Plate Numbers:                               “S” followed by four (4) single digits
Marginal Markings:                         ▪ 2004 USPS
▪ Plate numbers in four corners
▪ Plate position diagram
▪ Price 
▪ Four barcodes on back of pane
▪ Biographical text on back of stamp
Catalog Item Number(s):               458020 Block of 4 — $1.48
458030 Block of 10 — $3.70
458040 Full Pane of 20 — $7.40
458061 First Day Cover — $0.75
458076 Cultural Diary Page/Illustrated Envelope Set — $12.95
458093 Full Pane w/First Day Cover — $8.15
458096 Cultural Diary (with Pages & Stamps) — $34.95


How to Order the First-Day-Of-Issue Postmark
Customers have 30 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail.  They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, by telephone at 1-800-STAMP-24, and at the Postal Store Web site at For the Marian Anderson stamp, customers should affix the stamp to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others) and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

Marian Anderson Commemorative Postage Stamp
Curseen and Morris Distribution Center
900 Brentwood Road, NE
Washington, DC 20066-9998

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by
Feb. 28, 2005.
How to Order First Day Covers
Stamp Fulfillment Services also offers first day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first day of issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 1-800-STAMP24 or writing to:

Information Fulfillment
Dept 6270
US Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO  64121-9014

First day covers remain on sale for at least one year after the stamp’s issuance.




DAR Welcome Remarks at Stamp Ceremony
PHOTOS: Marian Anderson Stamp Dedication Ceremony
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