A stamp for Ayn Rand

December 02, 1998

The Orange County Register said in an editorial Saturday:

AFTER learning that the U. S. Postal Service will feature author Ayn Rand on a commemorative postage stamp, we were struck by this irony: A woman who wrote about the way bureaucracies stifle freedom and individualism is honored by a quasi-governmental agency defined by the very tendencies she railed against. All the same, the Postal Service deserves accolades for recognizing Ms. Rand's accomplishments.

An author of note

Rand, a Russian immigrant who wrote such influential books as "Atlas Shrugged," "The Fountainhead" and "We the Living," is the 16th author commemorated as part of the Postal Service's literary arts series. Her novels and nonfiction philosophical works gained wide currency in America and abroad because she made a moral case for free minds and free markets.

Postal Service spokesman Don Smeraldi explained that the agency doesn't publicize specific reasons a person or subject is selected by its citizens stamp advisory committee. But he said Rand, as the author of several classics, was an obvious choice to include among the commemorative stamp designs released this month.

Few people realize that Rand also was an advocate of stamp collecting. In a 1971 essay, she compared this commonplace hobby with the ideals she spent her life championing: "In collecting, every new stamp is an event, a pleasure in itself and, simultaneously, a step toward the growth of one's collection. A collector is not a passive spectator, but an active, purposeful agent in a cumulative drive."

With that in mind, we suspect Rand would have approved of the Art Deco-styled stamp that captures not only her image, but also the sense of human possibility that is the hallmark of her work. We hope her image graces many letters and is included in the albums of many collectors.

Pub Date: 12/02/98

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