US Stamps

A mysterious autograph on a U.S. 1927 Burgoyne stamp

May 31, 2024, 9 AM
John Haynes Holmes signed this 1927 United States 2¢ Burgoyne Campaign commemorative, but why? He does not seem to have a connection to the stamp.

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

Seeing an autograph on a stamp or a cover prompts the question: Who was this person, and what connection do they have with the stamp?

An individual named John Haynes Holmes signed the 1927 2¢ stamp (Scott 644) picturing The Surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga by John Trumbull shown above. Called the Burgoyne Campaign stamp, it commemorated the 150th anniversaries of the Revolutionary War battles at Bennington, Oriskany, Fort Stanwix and Saratoga.

Looking at lists of designers, engravers and advocates for the stamp did not reveal any connection to Holmes. But through an internet search, I discovered that John Haynes Holmes (1879-1964) was a Unitarian minister in New York City, a pacifist and a co-founder of the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

This tells us the who but leaves the why unanswered. Holmes would seem to me an unlikely candidate to be involved in commemorating anything related to the Revolutionary War.

If any Linn’s reader can make the connection, please contact me, John Hotchner, at, or Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125.

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