US Stamps

Born June 14: John McCormack

Jun 13, 2016, 11 PM
Irish-American tenor John McCormack, honored in 1984 on a 20¢ commemorative in the Performing Arts series.

By Michael Baadke

A joint issue of the United States and Ireland on June 6, 1984, honored Irish-American tenor John McCormack.

John Francis McCormack was born June 14, 1884, in Athlone, Ireland, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1919.

After a very brief stint as a postal clerk, McCormack joined the Palestrina Choir of the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin. His operatic debut came in London in 1907, and he performed with the Manhattan Opera Company in 1909, and the Boston Opera Company beginning in 1910.

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His fame grew as did his repertoire, and he performed in concerts around the world and found success in the relatively new media of commercial recordings. He was made a papal count in 1928, and embarked on a farewell tour in 1938.

Returning to his native land, McCormack died in Dublin on Sept. 16, 1945.

The 20¢ U.S. stamp honoring him (Scott 2090) is a vertical commemorative in the Performing Arts series. The U.S. and Irish stamps share similar designs consisting of a large portrait by American artist Jim Sharpe, and a smaller scene by Irish artist Ron Mercer of McCormack as Edgardo di Ravenswood in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor.