Stamps Commemorating Nursing

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    Registered Nurse discusses stamps portraying nurses, nursing profession and nursing history. Includes links to websites displaying stamps.

    While rummaging in my parents basement after my mothers death, I ran across a scrapbook of stamps with a loving note from Mom " these are for Karen".

    In it was a set of four 1961 nursing stamps:

    Scott Catalogue# 1190
    Issued on Dec 28, 1961

    The stamp features a student nurse lighting a candle, symbolic of passing the flame from Florence Nightingale. December 28th, 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of the United States Postal Service's (USPS) issuing this iconic nursing stamp. Did you know that 100,000 were first printed --but demand swelled to a printing of 100 million.

    This has sparked my interest in Philately: stamp collecting.

    The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) began permitting consumers to design their own stamps in 2004, and added businesses in May 2006. Custom stamps are now sold through four vendors:, Endicia, Zazzle and Pitney Bowes and have a bar code to validate their authenticity. Visit Zazzles collection of nursing stamps.

    The USPS twelve criteria for new stamps and postal stationery state that "events of historical significance shall be considered for commemoration only on anniversaries in multiples of 50 years." For many years, this included the restriction that "no postal item will be issued sooner than five years after the individual's death," with an exception provided for stamps memorializing recently deceased U.S. Presidents.

    In September 2011, the postal service changed that policy to increase sagging revenues. Stamps would allow images of celebrated living persons, chosen by a
    Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee in response to suggestions submitted by the public via surface mail and social networks on the Internet (no email!). They also began issuing all new stamps for First-Class postage as Forever stamps: denominations are no longer included on them.

    The Scott catalog of postage stamps, published by Amos Publishing Co., is updated annually and lists all the stamps of the entire world. There are other stamp catalog's on the market, some are country specific.

    See who else is portrayed in stamps: Women Subjects on United States Postage Stamps

    The American Association for the History of Nursing, Inc. has one of the most extensive online exhibits of stamps honoring nurses with International, US and First Day Covers listed.

    Here is a sneak peak:

    1961 Columbian stamp honors Manuelita de la Cruz, Red Cross nurse who drowned while on duty during floods of 1955.

    This 1948 stamp honors Clara Barton, founder and first president of the American Red Cross.

    First Day Cover

    The Collectable Stamps Gallery website features many health care stamps:

    Commemorated and Honored on Authentic Postage Stamps

    Australia paid tribute to the profession of nursing with the release of this mint stamp on September 21, 1955. The design depicts Florence Nightingale and a modern nurse; the issue date coincided with the centenary of Florence Nightingale's work in the Crimea and of the founding of modern nursing.

    The American College of Nurse Midwives has modern stamps promoting their profession.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 9, '15
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    About NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN Moderator

    NRSKarenRN is a passionate collector of tea cups, Christmas ornaments, Gurley candles and now nursing stamps. Always seen with a needlepoint project in downtime.

    Joined: Oct '00; Posts: 27,478; Likes: 13,685
    Utilization Review, prior Intake Mgr Home Care; from PA , US
    Specialty: 40 year(s) of experience in Home Care, Vents, Telemetry, Home infusion

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  3. by   GitanoRN
    first of all, accept my sincere condolences. unquestionably, karen, you have stumbled upon a priceless treasure not in the monetary sense of the word, but in the history of our beloved nursing. may you cherish such gift for years to come and thank you for sharing your treasure with us...wishing you a great & bless weekend.... mahalo & aloha~
  4. by   NRSKarenRN
    i'll continue my hunt to find nursing related stamps and post them here.

    scott no. 223

    from kevins stamp albumn

    student nurse issued by ryukyu islands on december 24, 1971 for the 25th anniversary of nurses' training,

    many unique at stamp community family
    nurse stamps--have any?
    check all 6 pages.

    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on May 1, '14
  5. by   NRSKarenRN

    china 2012-9 100th anniversary of international nursing stamp

    wwii third reich red cross

    england rcn website: international nursing stamps

    florence nightingale

    cecilia makiwane, pioneering african nurse born in 1880


    famous women on stamps

    sophie mannerheim (1863-1928)
    a famous nurse known as pioneer of modern nursing in finland

    new zealand: medicine on stamps

    [color=#804000]new zealand 1990 nurse grace neill.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on May 1, '14
  6. by   Mulan
    How sweet of your mom.
  7. by   PacoUSA
    We need a male nurse stamp ... just sayin'
  8. by   NRSKarenRN
    Quote from Paco69
    We need a male nurse stamp ... just sayin'
    TOTALLY agree with you Paco.

    I've looked at over 100 stamp sites, Walt Whitman is only male I could find

    His "nursing experience" was assisting sick and injured during Civil War.

    Zazzle's Nurse Custom Stamps has

    Finally found "Portrait of a young male nurse"

    How many are up for a letter writing campaign to get improved portrayal's of men in nursing?
  9. by   caliotter3
    My Dad collected stamps. I remember the Scott's catalog and better yet, I remember seeing these American nursing stamps as a child! Both, in his albums, and in use. Wow, how time flies. These are nice. Thanks for sharing Karen.
  10. by   FranEMTnurse
    Thank you for all of these Karen. They are priceless. Nurses should be honored. IMHO, they are he heroes of the medical field, and have even protected the licenses of physicians time and time again.
  11. by   SuzieeQ
    These are wonderful keepsakes
  12. by   amygarside
    What you have found are oozing with memories and sentimental value. Thank you for sharing your story and keepsakes with us.