Series of 1857-61 24¢ Washington
Earliest Known Use: July 7, 1860
Quantity issued: 736,000 (estimate)
Printed by: Toppan, Carpenter & Co.
Printing Method: Flat plate
Color: Gray lilac
When the world’s first postage stamps were released, no provision was made for separating the stamps from one another. Post office clerks and stamp users merely cut these “imperforates” apart with scissors or tore them along the edge of a metal rule. A device was needed which would separate the stamps more easily and accurately.
In 1847, Irishman Henry Archer patented a machine that punched holes horizontally and vertically between rows of stamps. Now stamps could be separated without cutting. Perforations enabled stamps to adhere better to envelopes. He sold his invention to the British Treasury in 1853. That same year, Great Britain produced its first perforated stamps.
The 1857-61 issues were the first perforated U.S. stamps. Their designs were reproduced from the imperforate plates of 1851.
The 24¢ Washington stamp, along with the 30¢ and 90¢ denominations, was a new issue in this series. A number of variations occur, with portions of the design being cut away from the top, bottom, or sides.
U.S. #37 exists in lilac and gray lilac. A red lilac shade is known in unused condition only; however, noted philatelic author Lester G. Brookman argued the red lilac should be considered a trial color proof and not a stamp.
Washington Delivers First State Of The Union Address
On January 8, 1790, President George Washington delivered the very first State of the Union address at Federal Hall in New York City.
Part of the U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 3, Clause 1, states that the president “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”
While the State of the Union address is a regular and expected part of presidencies today, at the time it was an important event. The Constitution was still relatively new, and our government and citizens were learning how to interpret and live by it. So by giving this address, President Washington was fulfilling one of his duties and setting an example for Americans and future presidents alike.
The importance of his role as America’s first president was not lost on Washington. He knew that his actions would be the model for future presidents. He thought it important to clearly show the difference between a president and a king.
Washington delivered his first inaugural address on April 30, 1789. In that speech, he didn’t make any significant recommendations, but asked for everyone to cooperate to guarantee their success as a new government. Then nine months later, on January 8, 1790, Washington delivered his first Annual Message to a Joint Session Congress (more commonly known today as a State of the Union Address). In this speech, Washington was cautious to not make direct demands, to avoid appearing like a monarch. Instead, he offered specific goals while providing encouragement to his listeners.
Washington began his speech by congratulating the Senate and House on North Carolina’s recent addition to the Union. His next point, which he considered especially important, was the formation of a standing army. While the idea was somewhat controversial at the time, Washington insisted, that “providing for the common defence will merit particular regard. To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”
President Washington then shared what he considered to be some of the new nation’s greatest challenges. He suggested that Congress make further attempts to protect America in foreign affairs. Washington also brought attention to the issues of immigration, establishing a national currency and system of weights and measures, as well as post office and educational systems. His final points concerned public credit and the repayment of public debt.
Washington’s address was well received. The Senate and House both agreed to start acting on his suggestions. Several newspapers reprinted the address in its entirety and included positive comments on his ideas – and his clothes. (Washington’s every move, including his choice in clothing, was under constant scrutiny.)
Click here to read the full text of Washington’s address.