US #5249 - "Jingle Bells"
2017 49c Christmas Carols
Value: 49¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate- Forever
Issued: October 5, 2017
First Day City: New York, NY
Type of Stamp: Special
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Format: Double Sided Booklet of 20
Quantity Printed: 11,250,000 stamps
This merry little carol has found its way into all our hearts with the beautiful imagery of a snowy romance with a couple on a sleigh ride. Originally published as “One Horse Open Sleigh,” “Jingle Bells” has become America’s most well-known and commonly sung Christmas carol. The original song was written by James Lord Pierpont in the fall of 1857.
There is a huge debate on the birthplace of “One Horse Open Sleigh” between Medford, Massachusetts, and Savannah, Georgia. Medford claims that Pierpont had written the song in 1850 using the sleigh races on Salem Street as his inspiration. After moving to Georgia, Pierpont copyrighted the song in 1857 while working at a church. Savannah believes that since he was working as an organist at the Unitarian church, he had written the song there.
Ace Collins, the author of Stories Behind the Best Loved Songs of Christmas, found a newspaper article from the 1940s that mentions “One Horse Open Sleigh” for a Thanksgiving church service in Medford. This means Medford may be right. However, he states, “although it may have been written in Medford, Savannah was the one that made it popular. For even a town that has no snow they were still enchanted by this carol.”