November 19, 2009

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Mickey Mouse debuts in sound in 1928 After losing the rights to his original animated character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney created a new character named Mortimer Mouse who was quickly renamed Mickey Mouse. Mickey first starred in two silent cartoons in 1928: Plane Crazy and Gallopin' Gaucho. However, Mickey's third animated appearance, in Steamboat Willie, released on November 18, 1928 had sound—and the rest is history. Steamboat Willie propelled Mickey Mouse to stardom, becoming Walt Disney's most popular character and one of the most famous cartoon characters in the world. Initially he was drawn by Ub Iwerks with Walt himself providing Mickey's voice. By 1932 Walt Disney had received a special Oscar for the creation of Mickey Mouse. Mickey would go on to star in more than one hundred shorts, appear in the 1940 movie Fantasia as the Sorcerer's Apprentice, and serve as the mascot of The Mickey Mouse Club, one of the most popular children's shows of 1950s. Mickey continues to be one of the most recognizable cartoon characters to this day, with his popularity never seeming to wane. The two books above are just two examples from the Smithsonian American Art / National Portrait Gallery Library's pop up book collection featuring Mickey Mouse: Mickey Mouse and the Martian Mix Up and Mickey Mouse Waddle Book. Other libraries, including the Cooper Hewitt Library and the National Museum of American History Library also have material featuring this famous fellow.—Doug Litts
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Seven score and six years ago… Continuing the Gettysburg address theme from yesterday, here is a post from the National Postal Museum Library... November 19th marks the 146th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. In 1948, the U.S. Post Office issued a 3-cent commemorative stamp on the occasion of the 85th anniversary. The image of a contemplative Lincoln appearing on the stamp was inspired by the statue of Lincoln standing, created by Daniel Chester French located at the State Capitol in Lincoln, Nebraska. The inscription, “THAT GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, AND FOR THE PEOPLE, SHALL NOT PERISH FROM THE EARTH” is a direct quotation from the address. The stamp was designed by Charles R. Chickering. The National Postal Museum Library maintains a file of the correspondence, photographs, and other materials surrounding the creation of this and many other stamps, collectively called the “Stamp Design Files”. Materials from both the Museum and the Library’s Stamp Design Files were digitized for the online exhibition “From Postmaster to President: Celebrating Lincoln’s 200th Birthday Through Stamps & Postal History. The Stamp Design Files are open to researchers by appointment.—Beverly Coward and Cassie Mancer Sources Consulted: Stamp Design Files, Scott 978 No Author, “Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address Commemorative Stamp”, The Bureau Specialist, Vol. 20, [1949] pg. 282 No Author, “Abraham Lincoln's 200th Birthday is Celebrated by National Gallery of Art” [January 16, 2009] Stamberg, Susan, “Hands of an Artist: Daniel French’s Lincoln Memorial” [February 24, 2009] Daniel Chester French also designed the seated sculpture of Lincoln for the Lincoln...

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