U.S. Stamp Will Honor Film Genius – By A. H. Weiler (The New York Times – 1975)

U.S. Stamp Will Honor Film Genius

By A. H. Weiler

The New York Times – Jan. 23, 1975

Lillian Gish, who was featured in many D. W. Griffith films, yesterday unveiled an enlarged reproduction of a commemorative stamp honoring the director in a brief ceremony that drew a number of film figures to the Museum of Modern Art.

The 10‐cent stamp showing the craggy ‐ faced director, who died in 1948 at the age of 73, and a hand‐cranked camera used in filming his silent movies, will be available to the public later this year.

united-states-circa-1975-stamp-printed-in-usa-shows-dw-griffith-circa-1975-
United States 1975 stamp printed in USA – D.W. Griffith

Trim and attractive in a salmon‐colored suede coat and matching hat, Miss Gish, a stir of the 1915 classic “The Birth of a Nation,” said “I’m grateful to the people, who, for years, have enjoyed the art of the film, and to our Government for making it possible to honor the man who made it all possible, the father of the movies.”

Anita Loos and Lillian Gish - Griffith Stamp ceremony
Anita Loos and Lillian Gish – Griffith Stamp ceremony

After the unveiling, Miss Gish explained that she had been “working on this for some five years while I was lecturing around the country. I always asked audiences if they appreciated Mr. Griffith’s contributions to the movies and also asked them to write to Washington about it. Well, thousands did and, finally, with help of Mary Margaret Jameson, an adviser to the Postal Service, it happened. I couldn’t be happier.”

1980 Lillian Gish and Anita Loos - Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries
1980 Lillian Gish and Anita Loos – Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Another of those at the ceremony was Anita Loos, who as a teen‐ager suggested the story for the 1912 Griffith film “The New ‘York Hat” featuring an equally young Mary Pickford. “I really have nothing but love and adoration for him,” she said. “He started all of us.”

Blanche Sweet, who predated Miss Loos in the Griffith company that worked at the Biograph Studio on East 14th Street, noted that she was “12 years old in 1909 when he made ‘A Corner in Wheat’ and,” she said, laughing, “nobody noticed me. But Mr. Griffith did. He was wonderful then and continued to be just great for all of us.”

Harold J. Nigro, who represented the Postal Service, said that the Griffith stamp was one of three in an “American Arts set” to be issued this year. The others will honor Benjamin West, the painter of the Revolutionary period, and Paul Laurence Dunbar, the black poet.

D.W. Griffith Honored By Issue of 10c Stamp

The New York Times – May 29, 1975

LOS ANGELES, May 28—The United States Postal Service yesterday dedicated the commemorative 10‐cent D. W. Griffith stamp in memory of the Hollywood film maker who was born 100 years ago. The ceremonies were held at the American Film Institute in Beverly Hills, in keeping with a Postal Service tradition of holding such events at the subject’s birthplace or a locale he made famous.

Lillian Gish - Herald-Examiner Collection 75 stamp ceremony
Lillian Gish – Herald-Examiner Collection 75 stamp ceremony

Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston were among those on hand to honor the creator of “Birth of a Nation,” who died in relative obscurity in 1948. Also present was Lillian Gish, a Griffith star who had strongly lobbied for the stamp. A Postal Service spokesman said that during the next two years about 140 million Griffith stamps would he issued.

Griffith Stamp USO

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