By Charles Snee
Katharine Graham, the formidable owner and president of the Washington Post Co. who for nearly 30 years was publisher of the organization’s flagship newspaper, the Washington Postwill be celebrated on a new United States forever stamp in the Distinguished Americans Definitive Series.
The undenominated permanent stamp (78¢) will be issued on June 14 in Washington, DC, where the To post at its head office. The inscription “Two Once” at the top right indicates that the stamp will satisfy the 2-ounce first-class letter rate, regardless of future rate increases.
According to the U.S. Postal Service, the stamp features artist Lynn Staley’s oil portrait of Graham based on a 1970s photograph. Derry Noyes served as both designer and art director of the stamp.
The inscription “Publisher” in capital letters is printed in white from the upper left corner. “Katharine Graham” is inscribed in red in the lower margin below the portrait.
An official first-day ceremony for the 2-ounce Katharine Graham stamp is scheduled for 6 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time at the James Madison Memorial Building, Mumford Room (Sixth Floor), 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, DC The Madison Memorial Building is part of the Library of Congress.
The ceremony is free and open to the public. Those wishing to attend are encouraged to register online at usps.com/katharinegraham.
Donald Moak, a member of the Postal Service Board of Governors, will serve as the dedication manager.
Katharine Meyer Graham was born on June 16, 1917 into a wealthy family. His father, Eugene Meyer, acquired the Washington Post for $825,000 at a bankruptcy auction in 1933. He published the paper until 1946.
In 1940 Katharine Meyer married Phil Graham, who eventually succeeded her father-in-law as publisher of the To post. Graham committed suicide in 1963, which suddenly put Katharine in charge of what would become one of the most influential newspapers in the country.
Her early years as editor of To post were difficult. At a time when women held less than 20 percent of newspaper jobs, there were few female role models for Graham, according to her biography on the To postthe website www.washingtonpost.com.
According to the biography, Graham described “an occasion when the man in charge of a meeting walked around the room, asking each male attendee his opinion on the subject at hand. When he got to Graham, he stopped and just acted like she wasn’t there.
She became a force to be reckoned with when she decided to release the Pentagon documentsthe Department of Defense’s controversial history of US involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967.
The existence of the Pentagon documents was first publicly revealed on the front page of the June 13, 1971 edition of The New York Times.
“Let’s go, let’s post,” Graham said, when she gave permission to To post editor Ben Bradlee to publish the Pentagon documents.
The events surrounding this momentous decision are chronicled in the 2017 film The post officewith Meryl Streep as Graham and Tom Hanks as Bradlee.
the To post also rose to prominence for his “tenacious investigative reporting of the Democratic National Committee headquarters break-in at the Watergate Hotel in 1972, which led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon in 1974”, has declared the postal service.
During her tenure as head of the Washington Post Co., Graham became the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company.
Graham resigned as editor of the To post in 1991. She received a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for her memoir, personal story.
Graham died on July 17, 2001 in Boise, Idaho. She was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.
The new Katharine Graham stamp is identified by the Postal Service as the 17th issue in the Distinguished Americans stamp series which began in 2000 with the General Joseph W. Stilwell 10¢ stamp (Scott 3420).
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