Pete Seeger, the social conscience and clarion voice behind such folk classics as “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” and “If I Had a Hammer,” will be honored with the latest stamp in the Postal Service’s Music Icons series.
The stamp will be released July 21.
Seeger (1919-2014), the child of two classical musicians, used traditional folk music to raise awareness of the social and political causes of his time. His adaptation of “We Shall Overcome” became an anthem of the civil rights movement.
He began as a solo artist, joining forces early on with mentor Woody Guthrie. The two created the Almanac Singers, a group focused on patriotic and pro-labor union performances.
Later, Seeger became a member of the Weavers, a folk quartet that popularized such traditional songs as “Wimoweh” and “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine.”
Their version of “Goodnight, Irene” was the No. 1 song of 1950.
While he lent his voice in support of social justice causes throughout his 94 years, one cause hit particularly close to home.
Seeger lived in upstate New York in a log cabin he and his family built on a mountainside overlooking the Hudson River.
Alarmed by the waterway’s degradation, he helped spearhead the building of a traditional tall-masted boat dubbed Clearwater, whose mission was to educate the public about water pollution. Clearwater became a model for environmental programs around the world.
The stamp’s image is a black-and-white photograph taken in the early 1960s by Seeger’s son Dan and color-tinted by Kristen Monthei. Antonio Alcalá served as art director.
The Pete Seeger stamp will be issued in sets of 16, on a pane designed to look like a vintage 45-rpm record sleeve.
The Forever stamp will be available for purchase at Post Offices and on usps.com.