Yosemite National Park: One of Our Grandest Things

This 2006 stamp features a photograph of the Gates of the Valley in Yosemite.

Monday marks the 122nd anniversary of Yosemite National Park. Established on October 1, 1890, the park encompasses 747,956 acres in the Sierra Nevada. With the impressive Yosemite Valley as its centerpiece, it includes a breathtaking range of geographical features, such as waterfalls, lakes, glaciers, expansive meadows, groves of giant sequoias, and granite monoliths such as El Capitan and Half Dome.

The U.S. Postal Service has a long history of honoring America’s national parks. This is no surprise when you consider that parks and postage stamps tell intertwining stories and frequently share a common goal—to preserve what Walt Whitman called “the grandest things” for the benefit of future generations.

In 2010, the U.S. Postal Service joined with the National Park Service to create The Grandest Things: Our National Parks in Words, Images, and Stamps.

This lavish 116-page hardcover book (which is still available online!) recounts the history of our national parks with gorgeous photographs and nine mint stamps—including the Old Faithful, Yellowstone stamp from 1972! The book has plenty of space for collecting and storing other related stamps, while giving a tour of more than 75 parks, monuments, and memorials.

It also includes historic quotations and documents, as well as philatelic history insights. Did you know, for example, that Postmaster General James Farley sometimes gave ungummed and unperforated stamp sheets to friends . . . like Franklin D. Roosevelt? In 1935, after collectors and others complained to Congress, these sheets (including stamps in honor of national parks) were made available to the public.

Perfect for stamp fans and park fans alike, The Grandest Things will make a delightful, and quite unexpected, gift this holiday season!