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United States Bicentennial Postcard Series

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The United States Bicentennial was a series of celebrations commemorating the American Revolution and historical events leading up to the United States becoming an independent nation. It culminated with the 200th anniversary of the 1776 adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4. Patriotic Bicentennial themes appeared on all sorts of things including advertising, souvenirs, collectibles, crafts, decorations, product packaging, postage stamps, and postcards.

Some Bicentennial postcards seem to have been published in fairly large quantities, while others were more limited and aimed more at specific localities or collectors. Bicentennial postcards include both local views and more general patriotic series. This article is about some of the series of postcards that were issued to celebrate the 1976 Bicentennial. The individual cards in these series are listed on a checklist here.

Both the Ladies Auxiliary to the V.F.W. and the Pennsylvania American Legion issued books of bicentennial postcards in the same size and format. Each book has two 5-3/4" X 4-3/16" postcards of each postcard design. Each page consists of a postcard and a stub separated by a perforation. The postcard can be removed for use, leaving the stub in the book. The stub has a small image with the same design as the postcard and a description of the image. The books were sent to members of the organizations with requests for donations.

I am showing the cover and the first postcard in each book, and a card that was removed from the VFW book and used. Both books have Betsy Ross pictures that are the same except for the borders. The Ladies Auxiliary to the V.F.W. book includes some other relatively unknown women who played a role in history: Anne Townsand Lawrence, Sybil Ludington, and Penelope Barker. Anne Townsand Lawrence is shown as the first U.S. Postmistress, but she is not named as one of the first women postmasters by the U. S. Postal Service.

The Ladies Auxiliary to the V.F.W. of the U.S. book has 12 different designs. The first card in the book, shown below, has the Liberty Bell and flag superimposed on the newspaper that carried the original report of the Declaration of Independence.


The American Legion book has 10 different designs. The one shown below has small framed images of Paul Revere, Minute men, Boston Tea Party, Valley Forge, Declaration of Independence and the Liberty Bell.


Wyco Colour Productions published an Heirloom Collector Series of Americn Bicentennial Commemorative Cards. These were numbered with a "76" and letters of the alphabet. I have postcards with letters ranging from A to X, but not a complete series. Several different styles were used for the designs on these postcards. Examples are #76-C with a graphic design, #76-E with a photo of the "Declaration of Independence Drafting Committee," and 76-V with a painting of Washington reviewing troops at Valley Forge. I have one design featuring the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall that was produced both in 3-1/2"X5-1/2" size (#76-K) and 4"X6" size (#576-K).


Mike Roberts produced American Revolution Bicentennial series in both 3-1/2" X 5-1/2" and 4" X 6" sizes. I don't have a complete series in either size. I don't know whether all of the designs were produced in both sizes, but I know that many of the designs were. Most of the designs have historical paintings as at least part of the design. The backs of the cards have an American eagle logo. Examples are the standard size card with four paintings of the war at sea and the continental size card with the Declaration of Independence.


Old Forge Publishing Co. (Coventy, R. I.) published 10 drawings of Revolutionary War scenes signed Archambault-Lomax on 4-3/4" X 6-1/2" postcards. The one shown here is the raising of the Liberty Flag during the Batttle of Sullivan's Island in Charleston, S.C. harbor June 28, 1776.


An unnamed series by Plastichrome by Colourpicture has works of art surrounded by a "ribbon" border. These postcards are 5-1/4" X 6-3/4" and have rounded corners. This one here is titled "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere 1775."


A Battle of Bunker Hill series by Bromley & Company has 6 drawings of scenes of the battle. The Battle of Bunker Hill took place on June 17, 1775 during the Siege of Boston early in the American Revolutionary War. This one showing British troops charging in perfect line up toward the redoubt is BM389.


A Bicentennial Series of Four designs adapted from the art of Rose O'Neil shows Kewpies acting out typical patriotic themes such as "The Spirit of '76."


Castle Press Publications (Washington, N.J.) published a set printed in two colors. I have three with a red band along the bottom of a horizontal card, and one vertical card in a different style labeled "Card No. 10." The card with the silhouette of a printing press is No. 6.


A small series of four cards printed in blue and red on lightweight stock is signed by Don Brown. These were published by B&C, Basking Ridge, N.J.


Mary Jayne's Railroad Specialties issued four Bicentennial Sets of 14 railroad postcards. The postcards showed locomotives (and a few other cars) that were painted to celebrate the Bicentennial. The Soo Line Railroad's "1776" is one of the locomotives included in the third set. The red, white, and blue paint scheme included a rendering of the first official flag of the United States.


A set of 18 OKPEX Bicentennial Postcards was issued to promote Oklahoma's Bicentennial Stamp Exhibition that was held Oct. 1-2-3, 1976 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The postcards illustrated U.S. postage stamps related to the American Revolution. Number 1 in the set is a stamp commemorating the 150th anniversary of the 1775 Battle of Lexington-Concord. The design of this stamp was based on a painting by Sandham portraying the first volley fired to begin the American Revolution.


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