Forever Stamp honors Helen Hayes, The First Lady of American Theater

share this:

Helen Hayes Forever StampAcademy Award-winning actress Helen Hayes received one of the nation’s highest honors this week with the issuance of the Helen Hayes commemorative Forever Stamp. The stamp went on sale nationwide at Post Offices and online at Monday.

“The United States Postal Service wants to do its best to honor Helen Hayes and her remarkable legacy with its latest commemorative Forever Stamp,” said Joseph Corbett, Chief Financial Officer and executive vice president, during the 27th Helen Hayes Awards program in the nation’s capital. “From this day forward, this wonderful image of Miss Hayes will travel quickly, easily and affordably on letters and packages throughout the nation. 

“Just as the annual Helen Hayes Awards serve as a vibrant living legacy to the First Lady of American Theater, so too, will this commemorative Forever Stamp serve as a lasting tribute to a great American actress whose career in theater, film, television, recording and publishing spanned all 10 decades of the 20th century,” Corbett said. Joining Corbett to unveil the stamp was Linda Grossman, president and chief executive officer, Helen Hayes Awards.

The Helen Hayes Forever Stamp

The stamp, designed by Howard Paine, features original art by Drew Struzan, whose movie posters for the Indiana Jones and Star Wars series have been seen by millions. Struzan based his design for the stamp on a photograph taken of Hayes circa 1958.

Born in Washington, DC, Helen Hayes Brown—she later assumed the stage name Helen Hayes—appeared at age 5 in a school production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. When she received her first star billing on Broadway at age 20 in the comedy Bab, one reviewer predicted “a future of the kind that does not come to more than one actress in a hundred.”

In two of her most celebrated roles on Broadway, Hayes portrayed famous monarchs. Despite standing only five feet tall, she convincingly played Mary Stuart, one of history’s tallest queens, in Mary of Scotland in 1933. When she portrayed Queen Victoria from youth to old age in Victoria Regina in 1935, Hayes revealed the full range of her talents. Victoria Regina ran for several years and nearly 1,000 performances.

“When you transcend yourself and really get inside the character,” Hayes later wrote, “it’s like being touched by God.” She felt that in playing Victoria she experienced this rare moment “once or twice.”

Subsequent notable stage performances, in New York and elsewhere, included Happy Birthday (1946), for which Hayes won the inaugural Tony Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress; Time Remembered (1957), for which she won her second Tony Award; and Eugene O’Neill’s A Touch of the Poet (1958). Altogether, Hayes appeared in more than 100 stage productions during the long span of her career.

Other highlights of Hayes’s later career included her second Academy Award, this time for Best Supporting Actress in the film Airport (1970), and her performance as Mary Tyrone in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night (1971), her final stage appearance.

When Hayes died on March 17, 1993, at age 92, the lights of Broadway were dimmed in her honor.

Helen Hayes Stamp First-Day-of-Issue Postmark

Postal customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark for the Helen Hayes Forever Stamp by mail. They may purchase new stamps at a local Post Office, at The Postal Store website at, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:

Helen Hayes Stamp
Special Cancellations
PO Box 92282
Washington, DC  20090-2282

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark, however all orders must be postmarked by May 16, 2011.

Order First-Day Covers for Helen Hayes Stamp

The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-STAMP-24 or writing to:

Information Fulfillment
Dept. 6270
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014

Helen Hayes Philatelic Products

There are five philatelic products available for this stamp issue:

  • First-Day Cover, $0.88
  • Digital Color Postmark, $1.60
  • Uncut Press Sheet, $88.00
  • Ceremony Program, $6.95
  • Keepsake Pane and Digital Color Postmark, $10.95

To learn more about the Postal Service’s Stamp Program and the USPS Helen Hayes Forever Stamp, visit

Comments are closed.