Hatch Show Print designs Emancipation Proclamation postage stamp

8:28 AM, Jan 3, 2013   |    comments
Hatch Show Print designed this new postage stamp./The Tennessean
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By Brian Wilson, The Tennessean

When the U.S. Postal Service decided to release a special stamp recognizing the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, they wanted a design that would match its Civil War setting.

It turns out the presses at Hatch Show Print were exactly what the project's developers needed to create the design of the stamp, released earlier this week by the postal service.

The stamp is the first one that the 133-year-old store has worked on that will reach a national audience, said Jim Sherraden, the shop's manager. He was thrilled to help with the project because of what the stamp commemorates.

"We're proud to be part of such a momentous occasion in such a modern context," Sherraden said.

The historic store, which opened in its first location about 15 years after the Civil War ended, used some of its original wooden type to evoke the 19th century in a way a digital design could not. In a design consistent with other layouts the store has produced, the print quoted the 1863 document and cited the year it was issued and its author, President Abraham Lincoln.

"I knew about the fantastic collection of wooden prints Hatch Show Print has and reached out to them," said Antonio Alcala, the project's art director.

Alcala and Gail Anderson, the project's designer, flew to Nashville and worked with Sherraden to refine the initial concept and "Hatcherize it" with the shop's wooden type, which he said gave the stamp an accurate yet engaging look to commemorate the document that freed hundreds of thousands of slaves midway through the Civil War.

"We felt we could create a broadsheet or handout that was [as] authentic to the period as possible," he said.

The team involved in the project took three days last year to look through the store's archives to find the type that would work best with the design, something that proved key to the overwhelming support the stamp received from the U.S. Postal Service. The shop was also asked to print 5,000 posters with the design to be sold by postal workers.

"We don't usually get a lot of time to work on that intimate of a level," said Celene Aubry, who worked with Sherradan on the project for Hatch Show Print. "They got a stamp that was unique and authentic to the time."

The Emancipation Proclamation stamp is one of three new Civil Rights stamps that will be issued in 2013. This print, plus the stamps featuring Rosa Parks and the March on Washington, allow the U.S. Postal Service to connect the past and the present, Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman said in a release.

"Stamps often tap into our culture and help us remember the events and people who have had an impact on American history," he said. "The Emancipation Proclamation was a powerful symbol of President Lincoln's determination to end the war, to end slavery and to reconstruct the economy of the country without slave labor."

Sheets of the limited-edition stamps and posters are available online at www.usps.com/shop.

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