Series of 1931 17¢ Woodrow Wilson
Issue Date: July 25, 1931
First City: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Quantity Issued: Unknown
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforation: 10 ½ x 11
The photograph that was used as the center design (vignette) for U.S. #697 was provided to the Bureau by Woodrow Wilson’s widow, Edith. It was taken during his second term in office and was said to be one of his favorite pictures of himself.
When Wilson was first honored on a U.S. stamp in 1925, many expected it would be for a 13¢ denomination stamp, as Wilson was known for considering 13 to be his “lucky number.” However, the 17¢ stamp filled a more immediate need, and Wilson’s image was placed at that denomination in both 1925, and again in 1931 on U.S. #697.
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)
Memorialized on U.S. #697, Woodrow Wilson was born December 29, 1856, in Staunton, Virginia. One of Wilson’s earliest memories was of a man standing at his family’s front gate, saying, “Mr. Lincoln’s elected. There’ll be war!”
The devastation of the Civil War delayed his formal education until he was nine. Wilson graduated from New Jersey’s prestigious Princeton University in 1879, and then attended the University of Virginia’s law school. He practiced law in Atlanta, Georgia, but opted for a career in education. Wilson served as President of Princeton University from 1902-10, and gained national recognition as an educational and social reformer at Princeton.
The Democratic Party took notice, and Wilson was persuaded to run for governor of New Jersey in 1910. In that capacity, he continued his progressive politics. Two years later, he was the Democratic nominee for President. A bad split in the Republican Party helped Wilson win an electoral landslide. In 1916, the election results were so close that Wilson went to bed thinking he had lost. However, the next day he discovered he had won by a narrow margin.
Historians regard Wilson as one of America’s most successful Presidents. He led the nation through World War I and enacted many successful legislative reforms. Under his leadership, tariffs were lowered, the Federal Trade Commission was created, and the 18th (banning alcohol) and 19th (women’s suffrage) Amendments to the U.S. Constitution became law. President Wilson also helped to negotiate the conclusion of the first World War and worked on the Treaty of Versailles.
Wilson was successful as a scholar, teacher, university president, political leader, and statesman. He is also remembered for his integrity, sense of responsibility and great honesty. Wilson spent the last years of his presidency supporting the League of Nations. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1920, for his efforts in securing peace and supporting the League of Nations.
First National Daylight Savings Time In The U.S.
On March 31, 1918, daylight savings time went into effect for the first time in the United States.
Long before modern societies adopted daylight savings time, ancient civilizations based their activities around the Sun. The Romans used water clocks with scales that changed for different times of the year.
As early as 1784 Benjamin Franklin promoted the idea of adjusting schedules to coincide with the Sun’s light. In his 1784 satirical essay, “An Economical Project for the Diminishing the Cost of Light,” Franklin jokingly suggested that the people of Paris could use less candles if they woke up earlier.
The first official proposal for something similar to daylight savings time came in 1895. New Zealand scientist George Vernon Hudson proposed that clocks shift two hours forward in October and two hours backward in March. While there was some support for this idea, it never materialized.
A decade later, British builder William Willett had his own idea. He suggested that clocks be moved ahead 20 minutes on the four Sundays in April, and then switch back the same way in September. Willett’s proposal eventually reached Parliament but was never made into law.
In America, President William Howard Taft encouraged the passage of a June 1909 bill for his home city of Cincinnati, Ohio, to become the first city in America to adopt daylight savings time. On May 1, 1910, clocks in the city were set ahead one hour and would then fall back one hour on October 1.
Then in 1916, as the world was embroiled in war, many nations recognized the need to save fuel for electricity. Germany and Austria were the first to adopt a daylight savings program when they moved their clocks ahead one hour at 11:00 p.m. on April 30, 1916. Several other nations quickly followed suit that year and the year after.
Pennsylvania industrialist Robert Garland was visiting the United Kingdom and learned of this concept, which was then known as “fast time.” He returned to America and proposed its adoption. President Woodrow Wilson approved the idea and it was signed into law on March 19, 1918. America first entered daylight savings time later that month, on March 31, 1918. America observed daylight savings time for seven months that year and the next. But with the war over, it grew unpopular and was repealed. Many other nations also abandoned daylight savings time after the war, though Canada, the United Kingdom, and France continued to use it, as well as a few American cities.
As America entered another war in the 1940s, the idea of daylight savings time reemerged. President Franklin Roosevelt signed legislation instituting year-round daylight savings time, also called “War Time,” beginning in February 1942. This remained in effect until the war ended in 1945.
For 20 years there were no more laws concerning daylight savings, which created significant confusion, particularly for travellers and broadcasters. Then Congress passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966. This law stated that daylight savings time would begin on the last Sunday of April and end the last Sunday of October, though states could pass an ordinance to be exempt from it. In the decades since there have been changes to the law, so that now in America daylight savings time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.
Click here to read the first two American daylight savings time acts.