US Stamps

The little girl in the 1943 Christmas seal

Jan 23, 2024, 11 AM

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

Living people on Christmas seals? Going back over some old issues of Seal News, the quarterly publication of the Christmas Seal and Charity Stamp Society, an article from the Fourth Quarter 2001 issue jumped out at me.

This article by Randall Kirsch features a letter he received from LeNae Lederer, in which she asks if he has 1943 Christmas seals for sale. Why? Because she believed she was the model for the little girl with a doll featured in the lower right corner of the seal (Scott WX112), shown in Figure 1.

She backed up the claim with the cover of the Sunday magazine section from the Milwaukee Journal, dated Dec. 5, 1943. Illustrated here in Figure 2, it shows the original picture by Robert Durnke and ties her to it by name.

The photo is labeled “The Christmas Seal Comes to Life.” “Lanae [LeNae] Kurtz, 7, a pupil at Jefferson school, hugs her doll and becomes the little girl pictured on the stamp whose annual sale provides support for the Wisconsin Anti-Tuberculosis Association in its work.”

One problem is that Lederer at age 7 does not look much like the girl on the Christmas seal. Also, Green’s Catalog of the Tuberculosis Seals of the World, Part I: U.S. National Christmas Seals says …

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