Friday, June 17, 2011

Mark Twain Stamp to be Unveiled in Hartford

Gov. Dannel Malloy will unveil a new commemorative 44-cent "Forever" stamp, issued by the US Postal Service to honor Mark Twain, on Saturday, June 25, at 11 am -- the first day of issue and first day of sale.

The free event, to be held at The Mark Twain House & Museum at 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford, also will include Hartford Postmaster Judith Martin and honored guests. A special hand cancellation of the stamp on specially designed envelopes commemorating the event -- also known as "first day covers" -- will be available for sale to the public and stamp collectors.

"We are delighted to be able to mark the release of this important national honor for America's great author here at the home that he loved, and where he created so many wise and funny works," said Jeffrey Nichols, Executive Director of The Mark Twain House & Museum.

The Postal Service has not issued a stamp honoring Mark Twain himself since 1940 -- when the issuing agency was still called the United States Post Office.

The official release of the stamp will be from the town where Samuel L. Clemens lived as a child: Hannibal, Missouri. But the Hartford ceremony will include the unique hand cancellation from "Mark Twain House &; Museum Station," a temporary, one-day-only designation courtesy of the USPS and the Hartford Post Office. Andy Doback, a member of The Connecticut Cover Club, designed the cancellation artwork for the USPS.

The cancellation will be done on a printed envelope portraying Twain and the Mark Twain House. Anthony Dewey, also a member of The Connecticut Cover Club, created the design. The Connecticut Cover Club, an affiliate of the American First Day Cover Society, has provided generous assistance for this event.

The "unofficial" first day covers thus produced will be available for purchase for $3 after the unveiling ceremony, and then at the Mark Twain Museum Store. The stamps themselves will also be available for sale in the store.

Postal Service art director and designer Phil Jordan collaborated with artist Gregory Manchess on the Mark Twain stamp. Manchess based his portrait of Twain on a photograph taken around 1907. The stamp's background evokes several of Twain's works set along the Mississippi River of his youth.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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