William Jennings Bryan is appearing on a newly issued $2 regular issue in the Great Americans Series.

His role in voicing the aspirations and frustrations of farmers and workers, storekeepers and clerks, who felt oppressed by the moneyed interests of the East around the turn of the century, had a profound effect on the nation's history. He served from 1913 to 1915 as Woodrow Wilson's secretary of state and helped win acceptance for the Federal Reserve Act, the popular election of senators and the federal income tax.

He was also one of America's great also-rans. He was defeated for the presidency three times, losing to Republicans William McKinley in 1896 and 1900 and William Howard Taft in 1908. Bryan was a champion of lost causes and espoused them faithfully, not changing with the times. A number of his ideas were taken over, with modification, by the Republicans. He once quipped he was the only man in America who could rule the nation by losing the presidency.

Bryan was born in the small town of Salem, Ill., in 1860, attended Illinois College and Union College of Law. He practiced law in Nebraska, served in Congress and ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 1894. He also served as editor in chief of the Omaha World Herald.

The new definitive, the highest denomination in the Great Americans Series to date, is replacing the $2 Kerosene Lamp definitive put out in 1978.

Designed by Tom Broad of Chevy Chase, the new issue has been proendcol duced by intaglio in a single color, purple.

There is one plate number per post office pane of 100 stamps and two standard marginal inscriptions for the copyright and ZIP Code.

Collectors of first-day-of-issue cancellations have the customary 30-day grace period from the day of issue to place their orders, which must be postmarked no later than April 18, and two ways of ordering.

Collectors affixing stamps themselves on their first-day covers, which must bear return addresses, should send them for cancellation to Customer-Affixed Envelopes, William Jennings Bryan Stamp, Postmaster, Salem, Ill. 62881-9991.

Collectors preferring full processing by the Postal Service should send their covers, which must be addressed to William Jennings Bryan Stamp, Postmaster, Salem, Ill. 62881-9992. The cost is $2 per stamp affixed on an envelope. Personal checks are accepted, cash is not welcomed, payment by postage stamps is rejected.