The coming year of U.S. stamps will be rich in history and diversity. Next year, the United States will pay tribute to its 35 deceased presidents from George Washington to Lyndon Johnson. It will share commemorative issues with France and Sweden. And, as always, there are sure to be more issues announced before the year is out.
The massive tribute to the presidents will take the form of four miniature sheets, each consisting of nine vertical stamps. On the fourth sheet, the stamp in the center will picture the White House.
The four sheets will be issued on the opening day of Ameripex '86, the international stamp show to be held May 22 through June 1 in Rosemont, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. It is expected to be the largest stamp show ever held in North America. Two postal cards devoted to the international show and to philately are also being issued -- one calling attention to the Ameripex show and the other saluting stamp collecting in general.
The U.S. joint issue with France will come out on July 4 in New York and Paris to mark the centennial of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, which will be unveiled, refurbished and restored, on the national holiday. French artisans played an important role in the statue's restoration as well as in its design and original construction.
The joint issue with Sweden, the second philatelic cooperation between the two countries, is coming out in late January. The U.S. issue will contain two identical panes of four 22-cent stamps. The theme of the stamps from both countries will be the rewards of stamp collecting.
The first stamp of 1986, to be issued Jan. 3, will commemorate the 150th anniversary of Arkansas statehood, which it achieved with a population of only 50,000, the bare minimum for meeting the requirements for statehood. Later in the year, there will be a commemorative for the sesquicentennial of the Republic of Texas, which won its independence from Mexico in 1836.
Also coming in January is a 25-cent stamp in the Great Americans series of regular issues for Jack London, whose tales of adventure made him one of the most popular writers in the early 20th century, as well as the fifth "Love" stamp.
The Black Heritage Series continues in February with a commemorative for Sojourner Truth. Originally a slave, she became a leading advocate of civil rights and women's rights. February also offers a Great Americans stamp in memory of Hugo L. Black, justice of the Supreme Court from 1937 to 1971.
March brings another commemorative stamp booklet, this one for fish, featuring the largemouth bass, muskellunge, tuna, cod and catfish, and a Great Americans issue for William Jennings Bryan, noted orator and statesman.
Duke Ellington, the great jazz composer and bandleader, appears in April on a commemorative in the Performing Arts series. There will also be a commemorative for public hospitals linked to the 250th anniversary of New York's Bellevue Hospital Center.
In early May, a block of four stamps illustrating various ways of making lace will be issued at a convention of lace makers in Ypsilanti, Mich. June will bring a Great Americans issue for Margaret Mitchell, on the 50th anniversary of the publication of her novel "Gone With the Wind," and a block of four commemoratives for polar explorers Elisha Kent, Adolphus W. Greeley, Viljalmar Stefansson and Robert E. Peary with Mathew Alexander Henson.
In July, the Rev. Edward J. Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town, will be recognized on a Great Americans issue marking the centennial of his birth. And August will bring a Great Americans stamp for Bret Harte, who brought new dimensions to the American short story with his stories of the far West. It marks the 150th anniversary of his birth. September makes up for a lean summer with a goodly number of issues. Coinciding with the annual Greeting Card Association convention, there will be a Messages stamp booklet with 22-cent values, bearing such texts as "Get Well" accompanied by flowers. Also scheduled for September are a commemorative for poet T.S. Eliot in the Literary Arts Series, and three Great Americans issues: for Dr. Paul Dudley White, an eminent cardiologist, in conjunction with the World Congress of Cardiology; Bernard Revel, the founder of Yeshiva University in New York; and John Harvard on the 350th anniversary of the founding of Harvard University.
The Folk Arts Series will continue in October with a block of four commemoratives depicting wood figurines based on carvings in the Smithsonian.
The last stamps of 1986, as currently scheduled, will be the two Christmas stamps.