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With digitalculturebooks, the University of Michigan Press publishes innovative work in new media studies and digital humanities. We began in 2006 as a partnership between MLibrary and the Press, taking advantage of the skills and expertise of staff throughout Michigan Publishing. Our primary goal is to be an incubator for new publishing models in the humanities and social sciences.

Stamping American Memory

Collectors, Citizens, and the Post
Sheila A. Brennan
Awarded the University of Michigan Press / Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) publication prize for Notable Work in the Digital Humanities
This title is open access and free to read on the web A free online version is forthcoming


In the age of digital communications, it can be difficult to imagine a time when the meaning and imagery of stamps was politically volatile. While millions of Americans collected stamps from the 1880s to the 1940s, Stamping American Memory is the first scholarly examination of stamp collecting culture and how stamps enabled citizens to engage their federal government in conversations about national life in early-twentieth-century America. By examining the civic conversations that emerged around stamp subjects and imagery, this work brings to light the role that these under- examined historical artifacts have played in carrying political messages. Sheila A. Brennan crafts a fresh synthesis that explores how the US postal service shaped Americans’ concepts of national belonging, citizenship, and race through its commemorative stamp program. Designed to be saved as souvenirs, commemoratives circulated widely and stood as miniature memorials to carefully selected snapshots from the American past that also served the political needs of small interest groups. Stamping American Memory brings together the histories of the US postal service and the federal government, collecting, and philately through the lenses of material culture and memory to make a significant contribution to our understanding of this period in American history.

“… addresses a neglected aspect of American cultural history that will appeal not only to academic scholars across disciplines and fields but also the general public, including the dedicated community of philatelists.”
—Julie Thompson Klein, Author of Interdisciplining Digital Humanities

Sheila A. Brennan is Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, and Research Associate Professor in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 240pp.
  • 35 Illustrations.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2018
  • Forthcoming
  • 978-0-472-13086-3

  • $70.00 U.S.

  • Open Access
  • 2018
  • Forthcoming
  • 978-0-472-90084-8

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