Gone With the Wind & the Books That Shaped America

Margaret Mitchell’s epic Civil War-era novel Gone With the Wind was published on this day in 1936. The only one of her works to be published in her lifetime, the book was an instant success, earning Mitchell critical recognition and remaining a national bestseller for two years.

Much to our delight, Gone With the Wind is also included in a new exhibition that opened on June 25 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The exhibition is called “Books That Shaped America,” and it aims to

spark a national conversation on books written by Americans that have influenced our lives . . . Some of the titles on display have been the source of great controversy, even derision, in U.S. history. Nevertheless, they shaped Americans’ views of the world and the world’s views of America.

Here’s what the Library of Congress has to say about Gone With the Wind:

The most popular romance novel of all time was the basis for the most popular movie of all time (in today’s dollars). Margaret Mitchell’s book, set in the South during the Civil War, won both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, and it remains popular, despite charges that its author had a blind eye regarding the horrors of slavery.

Looking more closely at the exhibition’s list of books, we are very pleased to see many whose authors have appeared on U.S. postage stamps, including three (!) authors from the 2012 stamp program: poets Gwendolyn Brooks and William Carlos Williams, and Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs. From the exhibition website:

  • Gwendolyn Brooks, A Street in Bronzeville (1945)

“A Street in Bronzeville” was Brooks’s first book of poetry. It details, in stark terms, the oppression of blacks in a Chicago neighborhood. Critics hailed the book, and in 1950 Brooks became the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. She was also appointed as U.S. Poet Laureate by the Librarian of Congress in 1985.

  • William Carlos Williams, Spring and All (1923)

A practicing physician for more than 40 years, William Carlos Williams became an experimenter, innovator and revolutionary figure in American poetry. In reaction against the rigid, rhyming format of 19th-century poets, Williams, his friend Ezra Pound and other early-20th-century poets formed the core of what became known as the “Imagist” movement. Their poetry focused on verbal pictures and moments of revealed truth, rather than a structure of consecutive events or thoughts and was expressed in free verse rather than rhyme.

  • Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes (1914)

“Tarzan of the Apes” is the first in a series of books about the popular man who was raised by and lived among the apes. With its universal themes of honesty, heroism and bravery, the series has never lost popularity. Countless Tarzan adaptations have been filmed for television and the silver screen, including an animated version currently in production.

Mark Twain, whose stamp was issued in 2011, is also included in the exhibition. “Books That Shaped America” will be on view through September 29. The Gwendolyn Brooks and William Carlos Williams stamps were issued in April 2012 as part of the Twentieth-Century Poets stamps pane and are still available. The Edgar Rice Burroughs stamps will be issued on August 17, 2012, in Tarzana, California.

Anyone want to start a stamp subjects book club?!

Gone with the Wind TM, its characters and elements are trademarks of Turner Entertainment Company and the Stephens Mitchell Trusts.

Tarzan™ Owned by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and Used by Permission.

MLB All-Star Willie Stargell & . . . Sister Sledge?

Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Willie Stargell was a unifying force, bringing together a diverse group of teammates. In fact, the 1979 Pirates were nicknamed “The Family” and adopted the Sister Sledge disco hit “We Are Family” as their unofficial anthem.

“It’s a miracle,” Sister Sledge lead singer Kathy Sledge told People magazine at the time. “We thought the song had made as much noise as it ever would. Then the Pirates came along. It shows how God can act in mysterious ways.”

Stargell is one of four players who will be honored on the Major League Baseball All-Stars stamps to be issued July 20 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. A separate ceremony for the Willie Stargell stamp will take place July 21 in Pittsburgh. Visit to pre-order stamps and philatelic products.

Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc.

Keep the Jazz of Miles Davis and Edith Piaf Alive Forever

In preparation for the joint issue with France’s La Poste, we immersed ourselves in the songs and lives of Miles Davis and Edith Piaf. But just because the First Day of Issue ceremony is over doesn’t mean the music has to be.

Now you can immortalize your love for these two international performers with . This keepsake comes with everything you need to fan the flame of your love for Davis and Piaf, including beautiful images and biographers of each artist, a pane of 20 Miles Davis and Edith Piaf (Forever®) stamps, two cards featuring the First Day of Issue cancellations from the U.S. Postal Service and La Poste, and more.

This folio is a perfect addition to any collection, and it makes a great gift, too! Quantities are limited and they’re sure to go fast, so make sure to get yours today!

Name, image and likeness of Miles Davis with permission from Miles Davis Properties, LLC.

Edith Piaf Photograph by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Miles Davis Photograph © 2011, the estate of David Gahr. All rights reserved.

Davis and Piaf Making Waves

The Miles Davis and Edith Piaf (Forever®) stamps are making history. Not only were the stamps the first joint issue with France since 1989, each stamp pane features something very special.

For the first time in U.S. Postal Service history, each of the Miles Davis and Edith Piaf stamp panes include a QR code on the back, linking users who scan the code with their cell phones to songs by, photographs of, and information about both musicians. That’s double the Davis and Piaf all for the price of a pane of 20 Forever stamps!

Have you picked up yours yet?

Name, image and likeness of Miles Davis with permission from Miles Davis Properties, LLC.

Miles Davis Stamp Celebration in Hollywood Tonight

We are very excited to announce that USPS and the Hollywood Bowl will honor Miles Davis during a stamp dedication and unveiling ceremony prior to the “A Celebration of Miles Davis” concert tonight. The ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. on the Museum Terrace. The concert begins at 8 p.m.

Attending the ceremony are:
Eduardo H. Ruiz, Los Angeles District Manager, U.S. Postal Service
Arvind Manocha, Chief Operating Officer, Los Angeles Philharmonic
Miles Davis family members Cheryl Davis, Erin Davis, and Vince Wilburn, Jr.
Bubba Jackson, award-winning KJazz 88.1 radio personality
Mark Anderson, Los Angeles Postmaster
Joshua Ledet, American Idol finalist
Gabriel Johnson, jazz artist
Henry Rollins, actor, musician, and author

The Hollywood Bowl is located at 2301 North Highland Avenue in Hollywood, California 90068.

Hope to see you there!

Name, image and likeness of Miles Davis with permission from Miles Davis Properties, LLC.