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Press Release - No. F -64-74, March, 1964

Postage Stamps of the U.S.A: John Muir

The U.S. Post Office Department will honor the late John Muir, famous U.S. naturalist, through the issuance of a special five-cent stamp. Mr. Muir was one the of the first Americans to realize that forests should be protected by government decree. Release of the stamp will take place April 29, 1964, at Martinez, California, where the conservationist spent the last years of his life.

The design of the stamp features a head shot of Mr. Muir. Giant redwood trees are in the background and to the left. A small figure representing Mr. Muir, shown in a ray of sunlight, is at the bottom right. At the top is the designation "John Muir." to the right running vertically is the word "Conservationist." At the bottom is the denomination and the inscription "United States Postage."

Rudolph Wendelin, an artist with the U.S. Forest Service, is the designer of the stamp. The portrait and vignette were engraved by Matthew D. Fenton. Kenneth C. Wiram did the lettering and numeral. The stamps have been printed on the Giori presss in brown and two shades of green in an amount of 125 million.

Born in Scotland in 1838, John Muir came to Wisconsin with his family in 1849 to live in a small settlement near Portage.

When he was 22 he entered the University of Wisconsin. He spent four years there, helping to support himself by teaching and working on a farm in the summers. He wrote about these years in "Story of My Boyhood and Youth," a book that has become a classic of American autobiography.

After he left college in 1864, he began the travels that continued during the greater part of his life. He tramped through the country from Wisconsin to Florida and California. He discovered the Alaskan Glacier which was later named the Muir Glacier and traveled with scientific expeditions to the Arctic and Asia.

Acutely aware of the need to conserve forest areas, he persuaded President Theodore Roosevelt to support an act of Congress which set aside 148 million acres (60 million hectares) of forest reserves. It was largely through John Muir's influence that Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park were established in California.

Mr. Muir's contribution to forest conservation was memorialized in 1908 when a California redwood forest in the Coast Range was given to the United States and named Muir Woods.

In 1962 the University of Wisconsin completed a high level overlook in John Muir Park, on Lake Mendota, to serve as a laboratory for studying plants and animals.

His books, magazine articles and poetry make him one of America's best known naturalists. He died in 1914.

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