Sunday, August 2, 2020

1972 Sidney Lanier Stamp

This 1972 Sidney Lanier 8 cent stamp is mounted in my Heritage Collection album and it is a great looking stamp. One of the things I love the most about stamps is it brings topics and people into my world that I would probably never have known about. That is especially true with this stamp. 

I had no idea who Sidney Lanier was and now I do. That is a wonderful aspect of this hobby. I love learning new things and I love researching new things. That is why I love this hobby so much.

The stamp is a work of art, like so many of the stamps I come across. I have never come across a stamp that I didn't appreciate the beauty of. They are all truly works of art in their own right.

It was issued on February 3, 1972 (the birthday of Sidney Lanier) in Macon, GA (his birthplace). Over 137 million stamps were printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing by the Giori Press method. Its perforations are 11 and it is black, brown, and light blue in color.

Sidney Lanier was an American poet, musician, and author among many other things. He was born on February 2, 1842, in Macon, Georgia to Robert Sampson Lanier and Mary Jane Anderson who were devoutly religious. At an early age, he learned how to play the flute and it would benefit him later in life. 

In 1860 he graduated from Oglethorpe University at the top of his class. In 1861 the American Civil War started and he fought for the Confederacy in the signal corps. Later he served on a merchant's vessel as a blockade runner and captured and imprisoned in a military prison at Point Lookout, Maryland. While imprisoned in Maryland he contracted tuberculosis and suffered from the disease for the rest of his life (there was no cure at that time). 

After the war, he moved to Alabama where he played the organ for a church in Prattville and also wrote his novel "Tiger Lillies" in 1867.

That same year he also accepted a position at a school in Prattville where he taught and served as a principal. He also married Mary Day and moved back to Macon, Georgia. He had 3 sons. 

While in Macon he worked at his father's law practice. Eventually passing the bar exam in Georgia and practicing law himself for several years. During this time he wrote a number of his poems about the poor farmers in the south and traveled the United States trying to find a cure for the disease that plagued him.

It was during one of these trips in Texas that he rediscovered his love and talent for playing the flute. He accepted a position playing for the Peabody Orchestra in Baltimore, Maryland in 1873 and became quite famous and reached the position of the first flutist. 
In order to support his family financially, he started writing poems for different magazines. It was these poems that became his most famous works.

In the later years of his life, he went to work at the English Department at Johns Hopkins Unversity in Baltimore, Maryland where he published lectures and wrote a book. 

On September 7, 1881, he succumbed to complications caused by tuberculosis near Lynn, North Carolina. He was 39 years old. He was buried in Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore.

Sidney Lanier is noted as one of Georgia's greatest poets and many entities are named in his honor, from lakes to many schools.

I enjoyed reading about this man and I am thrilled to have this stamp in my collection. I hope you have too. And I urge you to read some of his poems. Many can be found here

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