2023 Toni Morrison
- Commemorates the life and achievements of Author Toni Morrison
- Morrison was the first African American woman to receive a Nobel Prize in literature
Category of Stamp: Commemorative
Value: First-Class Mail Rate (Forever)
First Day of Issue: March 7th, 2023
First Day City(s): Princeton, NJ
Quantity Issued (if known): 30,000,000
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method/Format: Offset, Microprint
Format: Pane of 20, self-adhesive
Reason the stamp was issued: Toni Morrison was one of the great American writers of the late 20th century, achieving both bestseller status and critical success.
About the stamp design: This stamp was designed by art director Ethel Kessler, using a photograph by Deborah Feingold.
Special design details: The photograph used for Morrison’s portrait was taken in 1997 for a Time magazine cover. During the first-day ceremony, Photographer Deborah Feingold said: “I photographed her in different outfits, while posing against different backgrounds,” Feingold said. “For even the most seasoned subjects, this process can be exhausting. But Toni remained focused and present, her expression for every frame was one of kindness. I have never taken that photoshoot for granted. And standing in front of you today, I humbly admit that this is beyond an honor.”
First Day City: The first-day ceremony was held in the Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall of Princeton University. Toni Morrison was a professor in the humanities at Princeton for nearly two decades until her retirement in 2006. The ceremony included a video message from Oprah Winfrey, and a letter from former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
History the stamp represents: Toni Morrison was an American author, editor, and professor widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. She is known for her powerful and emotionally charged novels that explore themes of race, identity, and the African American experience.
Morrison grew up in Lorain, Ohio. She developed a love for literature from an early age and was an avid reader. She attended Howard University in Washington, DC, where she studied English and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1953. She then pursued a Master's degree in English from Cornell University, where she wrote her thesis on the theme of suicide in the works of William Faulkner and Virginia Woolf.
Morrison published her first novel, The Bluest Eye, in 1970. The book received critical acclaim for its exploration of issues related to race, beauty, and self-worth. However, it was her third novel, Song of Solomon (1977), that brought her national recognition and established her as a major literary figure. The book won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was praised for its poetic language and intricate storytelling.
In addition to her novels, Morrison also wrote non-fiction works, children's books, and plays. She received numerous awards and accolades for her contributions to literature, including the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, becoming the first African American woman to receive the honor.
Toni Morrison's work had a profound impact on the literary landscape and influenced generations of writers. Her powerful narratives, rich prose, and unflinching exploration of difficult themes made her a beloved and revered figure in American literature. She passed away on August 5, 2019, leaving behind a remarkable legacy of literary achievements.