2:00 p.m. Sunday, March 26, 2017
U.S. Stamps that Provoked Controversy

The Sioux City Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center/Betty Strong Encounter Center will present “U.S. Stamps that Provoked Controversy” with Bob Ferguson at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 26. Admission will be free; a reception will follow.

In his illustrated presentation, the Lincoln, Neb., scholar will draw from more 5,000 stamp images to show how certain U.S. stamps became embroiled in controversy.

“This topic has broad audience appeal for the general public and for stamp collectors,” says Ferguson.

Controversy swirled in 1962 when the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp that memorialized United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold who died in a plane crash. The selection of colors and printing technique made it possible for some stamps to be accidentally printed with part of the design upside down, says Ferguson.

“When these ‘inverts’ were discovered, the Postmaster General made a decision that fueled opposition from collectors and the public,” says Ferguson.

In 1970, objections were raised with the release of a stamp depicting the Stone Mountain, Ga., sculpture of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson. “Northerners saw a historical connection between Stone Mountain and the Ku Klux Klan,” says Ferguson. “The stamp almost rekindled the Civil War.”

The audience will learn how individuals attempted to profit from contemporary events celebrated on stamps. “I’ll discuss, in detail, how envelopes with Space Achievement stamps surreptitiously went to the Moon with Apollo 15 astronauts and the fallout from that decision.

Many more examples of stamp designs and subjects that created waves during the last 100 years will contribute to an entertaining and educational afternoon. 

Ferguson has a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Master’s degree in Education from University of Rochester, N.Y. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia; taught high school social studies; and recently retired as the Program Assistant for Humanities Nebraska. He has been a stamp collector for many years.