Since the Postal Service announced on September 26 that living people will now have the opportunity to appear on stamps, we have closely monitored the living and recently deceased nominations pouring in through social media outlets. So far, the suggestions represent a wide array of public and lesser-known figures—from sports stars to scientists, pop culture icons to unsung military heroes—who have influenced pockets of the country in their own ways.
Reading through the nominees, we noticed several notable names appeared who already have their own stamps. Here are a few people who perhaps you never knew reached U.S. postage fame.
Albert Einstein (1979–1955)
German-born physicist and scholar, Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize in 1921 for the discovery of the laws of the photoelectric effect, developed the special theory of relativity, and created the equation E=mc². His immense intelligence and contributions to science have made his name synonymous with genius.
This stamp was issued in 1979.
John Wayne (1907–1979)
Born Marion Robert Morrison, John Wayne played many memorable roles during his 50–year career, but he is perhaps best known for characters exhibiting the rugged individualism associated with the American cowboy. He won an Academy Award for his role as Rooster Cogburn, the one-eyed marshal in True Grit (1969).
This stamp was issued in 2004 as part of the Legends of Hollywood series.
Malcolm X (1925–1965)
Powerful Muslim minister and noted civil rights leader, Malcolm X made great strides for the advancement of African Americans. Born Malcolm Little, he was also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and notorious for his harsh indictments of white America for its crimes against black Americans.
This stamp was issued in 1999 as part of the Black Heritage series.
Elvis Presley (1935–1977)
Perhaps one of the most recognizable American cultural icons, Elvis’ fame has lived on long past his death. His musical influence spans generations, creating deeply devoted fans around the world. From stage to screen, Elvis was a natural performer, truly deserving of his title as the King of Rock & Roll.
This stamp was issued in 1993, among four other Rock & Roll/Rhythm & Blues stamps, as part of the Legends of American Music series. In 1992, the Postal Service polled the public on which of Elvis’ many faces should be used for his stamp.
Bob Hope (1903–2003)
Well-known for his many television appearances, Bob Hope also found success on the live stage, in radio shows, and in motion pictures. A man who devoted his life to making people laugh, he became one of the most honored and beloved performers of the 20th century.
This stamp was issued in 2009.
Lucille Ball (1911–1989)
Prominent star of stage, screen, radio, and especially television, Lucille Ball is best loved for her portrayal of that wacky redhead Lucy Ricardo in the 1950s TV series I Love Lucy. A true master at comedic timing and entertaining an audience, Ball lived up to her name as America’s “Queen of Comedy.”
This stamp was issued in 2001, as part of the Legends of Hollywood series.
Ayn Rand (1905–1982)
Russian-American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, Ayn Rand is best known for her two novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, both of which glorify individualism. Her love for America and New York was surpassed only by her philosophical interests, leading her to create her own philosophical system called Objectivism.
This stamp was issued in 1999, as part of the Literary Arts series.
Clara Barton (1821–1912)
Working as a nurse, teacher, women’s and civil rights activist, and humanitarian, Clara Barton is best remembered for founding the American Red Cross. Her tireless aid to Union soldiers throughout the Civil War informed her interest in better organization of medical relief in times of emergency in order to save more lives. The effects of her work are still felt today by millions of people worldwide.
This stamp was issued in 1995, as part of a Civil War pane of stamps.
Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee
c/o Stamp Development
U.S. Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300
Washington, DC 20260-3501
We love to read about who inspires everyday Americans and can’t wait to see who will be the first living person on a U.S. stamp.
Name, image and likeness of John Wayne licensed by Wayne Enterprises, Newport Beach CA. All Rights Reserved.
Bob Hope® Hope Enterprises, Inc.
Image of Lucille Ball is used with permission of Desilu, too, LLC.