Sometimes the 4th of July isn’t entirely about fireworks and parades. Sometimes on that date the United States Postal Service releases a series of stamps that commemorate a Wellesley historical figure, luminary, and namesake of one of the town’s elementary schools. Katharine Lee Bates, graduate of Wellesley High School Class of 1874 and Wellesley College Class of 1880, teacher at Dana Hall school until 1886 and then Wellesley College until 1925, former resident of 70 Curve St. and, of course, writer of “America the Beautiful,” now has her famous song (and unofficial national anthem) commemorated by a series of “O Beautiful” Forever stamps.
There are 20 different scenes on the stamps, but shockingly none is in Wellesley. Haven’t they ever heard of O Beautiful for Lake Waban? Guess we have to share Bates with the rest of the country.
Wellesley College graduate Melissa Ponder authored a 2017 biography of Bates, Katharine Lee Bates: From Sea to Shining Sea, and was hired as a consultant during the design phase of the “O Beautiful” stamps project.
I stopped into the Wellesley Square post office to see if they had any in, but alas and alack, not yet. When they do make their way here, look for the stamps to be as beautiful as the song. We’re talking spacious skies, amber waves of grain, purple mountains majesty — you get the idea, and now I bet you’re singing the song to yourself.