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Four Chaplains Commemorative U.S. Postage Stamp

Claire A. Wolff's account of the genesis of the stamp idea

Excerpted from Glass, Sol, Four Chaplains Commemorative Stamp,
Bureau Specialist, September 1948, Vol XIX, No. 9

"The idea for this stamp was conceived and sponsored by Miss Claire A. Wolff of New York and we quote Miss Wolff's own words as to how the idea developed in her mind:

"It was Wednesday, November 27, 1947, and I was sitting in the anteroom outside the offices of Postmaster Goldman in New York.  As Public Relations Counsel for the "Interfaith in Action Committee" I had come to the Postmaster for some personal information in connection with a testimonial dinner held in his honor.

"So I sat there in the waiting-room reviewing in my mind the plans for the dinner and striving for some new creative idea or symbol that would express the work of my interfaith friends in terms the public would understand.

"I'm glad that Postmaster Goldman was very busy that morning and therefore kept me waiting a long time. What specific picture or slogan, I wondered will tell in an instant the story of "Interfaith in Action?"

"Then I remembered my friend, Irving Geist, the philanthropist, and the invaluable cotributions he had made in the Four Chaplains organization to help paraplegics. 

"THE FOUR CHAPLAINS. That was it. What better symbol of Interfaith in Action?

"Four immortal men - Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish - who gave their life jackets to soldiers aboard the sinking transport U.S.S. Dorchester, in February 1943. Four men of different faiths who locked their arm together on the slanting, slippery deck until the waters closed over them and made them immortal. 

Suddenly Postmaster Goldman was looking down at me and smiling. "I've got it." I said excitedly, "A idea for a new postage stamp. A real symbol of Interfaith in Action that people will understand." 

"Yes, indeed", said Potmaster Goldman when he had heard the idea. "Putting the Four Martyred Chaplains on a postage stamp should serve to inspire every man, woman, and child to practice inter-religious and inter-racial cooperation. The rest was efficient Post Office routine. Postmaster Goldman started the machinery working and the Four Chaplains stamp was issued on May 28th, 1948" 

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