Postal Updates

Former New Deal logo shown on Ticonderoga, N.Y., cancel

May 17, 2020, 8 AM
Depression-era artist Frederick Massa’s post office mural in Ticonderoga, N.Y., hits an 80-year milestone, which is celebrated with this May 9 pictorial postmark.

Postmark Pursuit by Molly Goad

The postmark pictured here highlights a 1940 post office mural by New York artist Frederick Massa.

The cancel includes a hybrid image of an eagle and a paint palette. The patriotic design served as the logo for the Federal Art Project, a New Deal program that ran from 1935 to 1943 employing out-of-work artists.

Born in 1909 in the Bronx, N.Y., Massa painted murals for the Brooklyn Public Library and the Fort Ticonderoga, N.Y., post office during the Depression. The library mural has since been destroyed, but the latter is celebrating 80 years in 2020.

The artwork is an oil-on-canvas piece called Exhortation of Ethan Allen.

In an article in the February 2012 Postal History Journal, Linda Osborne and Robin Nowc described Massa’s mural: “The heroic scene depicts Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys just before they captured Fort Ticonderoga from the British. The figure at left center is Benedict Arnold, who held a commission from the Massachusetts Committee of Safety to command an expedition against the Fort. The Green Mountain Boys had refused to follow Arnold, but Allen and Arnold worked out a shared command compromise. The moment depicted by the mural is the dawn speech of May 10, 1775 (probably apocryphal, but claimed in Allen’s account of the affair), exhorting the Boys to attack.”

The Ticonderoga, N.Y., post office was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 and is still in operation today.

To obtain the postmark, address your request to: 80th ANNIVERSARY Station, Postmaster, 169 Champlain Ave., Ticonderoga, NY 12883-9998, May 9.

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