Ten Stamps ... One Special Delivery
You may have to be of a certain age, or an American history
buff, to immediately recognize the name Harold Ickes.
Ickes was responsible for implementing much of FDR’s “New Deal.” Known as “Honest Harold,” he was in charge of the
Public Works Administration. According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, “despite the expenditure of more $5billion, how-
ever, Ickes’ numerous contracts were virtually graft-proof.”
Ickes also served as Secretary of the Interior from 1933-1946.
He suggested to FDR that there should be a series of postage stamps recognizing the National Parks. In 1934, a set of ten postage stamps with denominations from 1¢ to 10¢ was issued.
Through a request brought to him by the Treasurer of the Ontario
and Western Railway Co., Ickes, in December of 1934, sent and signed a set of National Park stamps to Jane Thacker Floy Mather, Stephen T. Mather’s widow.
The correspondence and the set of stamps with the inscription “To Mrs. Stephen T. Mather with sincere regards, Harold L. Ickes” are currently in the Homestead attic.
In 1934, in the midst of the Great Depression, the National Parks had more than 6,000,000 visitors. Even then, what Stephen Mather had set in motion was already firmly part of the nation’s life and heritage.