The 100th anniversary of the birth of Father Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town, was marked recently by a 4-cent regular issue in the Great Americans Series issued at Boys Town, Neb.
From 1917, when it was founded as a haven for homeless, abused or delinquent youths, until his death in 1948, Father Flanagan was the guiding force of Boys Town.
Edward Joseph Flanagan was born in Roscommon, Ireland, on July 13, 1886, the eighth of 11 children in a farm family. He emigrated to the United States at 18, and like his oldest brother aspired to become a Catholic priest.
He received degrees from Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md., studied at St. Joseph's Seminary in Dunwoodie, N.Y., Gregorian University in Rome and the University of Innsbruck, Austria, where he was ordained in 1912. He was assigned to be a parish priest in Omaha.
Moved by the plight of itinerant workers and drifters, he established the Workingmen's Hotel to provide cheap lodging. In 1917, with a borrowed $90, he rented a house and founded Father Flanagan's Boys Home to house five boys, three of whom had been referred by Juvenile Court. Three months later he had charge of 30 boys. The following year, he founded Boys Town 11 miles outside Omaha.
In 1935 Father Flanagan incorporated the property as the municipality of Boys Town, giving an unusual legal status to the juvenile government that he encouraged his boys to institute.
The priest became a nationally known figure as the result of two popular movies, "Boys Town" (1938) and "Men of Boys Town" (1941), which starred Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney.
At the invitation of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who was in charge of the occupation of Japan after World War II, Father Flanagan served as a consultant for youth programs in the Far East. He died in 1948 while serving on a similar mission in Germany.
The new single-color engraved stamp has been produced by intaglio in purple. It was designed by Christopher Calle of Stamford, Conn. The design is based on a pencil drawing by the artist. The stamp has been produced in post office panes of 100 with one plate number and the two customary marginal inscriptions.
Collectors of first-day-of-issue cancellations have a deadline of Aug. 13 -- orders must be postmarked by that date -- and alternative ways of ordering.
Collectors affixing stamps on their first-day covers, which must bear return addresses, should send their envelopes to Customer-Affixed Envelopes, Father Flanagan Stamp, Postmaster, Boys Town, Neb. 68010-9991. At least 18 cents' additional postage must be affixed to meet the first-class rate for letters.
Collectors preferring full processing by the Postal Service should send their covers, which must be addressed, to Father Flanagan Stamp, Postmaster, Boys Town, Neb. 68010-9992. The Postal Service will affix an 18-cent George Washington/Washington Monument coil stamp to the new 4-cent stamp to make the 22-cent first-class rate. The cost is 22 cents per envelope submitted. Personal checks are accepted, cash is not welcomed, payment by postage stamps is rejected.