It’s official – Owney the Railway Mascot has his very own Forever Stamp.
Owney is famous in post office lore because the pooch was considered a good luck charm by post office clerks in the 1880s. No train the pooch wandered onto crashed, an amazing fact considering more than 80 mail clerks were killed and more than 2,000 were injured in train wrecks between 1890 and 1900.
As Owney traveled the country – some 140,000 miles in all, according to news accounts at the time – clerks affixed medals and tags to his collar to document the adventurous dog’s travels.
To celebrate the stamp, Owney, now a resident of the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum – post office clerks raised money to have the dog stuffed after his death – is back with a new look for the exhibit that chronicles his adventures. There’s also an Owney photo look-alike contest sponsored by the museum on their Facebook page.
“With his new stamp and through the efforts of the National Postal Museum, Owney’s legacy will transcend time, becoming as much a part of the Postal Service of the 21st century as he was more than 100 years ago,” says Mary Anne Gibbons, Postal Service general counsel and executive vice president.
The stamp art features an illustration of Owney by artist Bill Bond of Arlington, Va. The illustration depicts Owney in profile, facing left, with many of his famous tags and medals gleaming in the background.
There’s also more to come. In the works: an Owney iPhone app and iPad e-book. To learn more about Owney, click here.
You can also learn about Owney at Dog College! Session 300: History 301 takes a look at Owney and other famous dogs in US history. Take the class>>