The 33rd President, Harry S. Truman guided the nation through the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War. A sign, which reportedly sat on his desk in his office at the White House, read: "THE BUCK STOPS HERE!"
When millions of men joined the armed forces, millions of women took over factory jobs and made up more than one-third of the civilian workforce. Millions of women also served as volunteers.
Commercial television formally began July 1, 1941, and by the end of 1949 more than three million American homes had sets. Many early programs including dramas, variety shows, news shows, and comedies were adapted from popular radio programs.
More than 16 million Americans served in the armed forces during World War II, and more than 405,000 lost their lives. U.S. intervention proved decisive in the Allied victories in Europe and in the Pacific.
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. Penicillin, derived from mold as shown on reverse, saved the lives of thousands of wounded soldiers during World War II. Postwar streptomycin has been highly effective in combating tuberculosis.
The detail from the November 2, 1946, cover of The Saturday Evening Post foretelles this country's baby boom.  With the end of World War II, returning GIs married and started families, resulting in 75.9 million births from 1946 through 1964.
Naval engineer Richard James watched a torsion spring bounce off a table, and the idea for a toy was born.  The Slinky, 80 feet of coiled wire that can "walk" down stairs, caused a sensation when first marketed in 1945.
Tennessee Williams' powerful play, "A Streetcar Named Desire" opened on Boradway December 3, 1947. It starred Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski and Jessica Tandy as Blanche DuBois.  The play won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for drama.
Released in 1941, Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" was hailed for its artistic and technical innovations. The psychological study of a newspaper tycoon, it has consistently been considered one of the best movies in the history of film.
Jackie Robinson broken the Major League Baseball color barrier in 1947 when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. Voted Rookie of the Year that season, he earned the National League's Most Valuable Player award in 1949.
Bridging the eras of swing and rock'n'roll, the jitterbug was a fast-paced dance performed to live music played by bands and to recorded music played on jukeboxes. It was popular with GIs, teenagers, and anyone else able to keep the beat.
Abstract Expressionism was marked by a range of individual styles of modern painting and sculpture. Jackson Pollack (1912-1956) created his most famous gestural abstractions by pouring paint onto canvas laid on his studio floor.
The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the GI Bill, helped approximately 2.25 million war veterans attend college. Millions of other GIs received job training; home, business, and farm loans; and unemployment benefits.
Big band music, popular on recordings and radio and in ballrooms and concert halls, distracted Americans during World War II. Led by Duke Ellington, Glen Miller, Benny Goodman, Count Baise, and others, the bands usually had 14 to 18 musicians.
Concerned with function and simple shapes the International Style employed materials such as glass, steel, and concrete. Its long-lasting influence is visible in the United Nations Secretariat and countless other office and apartment buildings.
Scroll down and see how '44 used the 15 commemorative stamps!

The Decade of the '40's

       The perimeter illustrations in the Class of '44 Memorial Room are derived from portraits painted expressly for the U.S. Postal Service and are shown in the Class of 1944 Memorial Room in true portrait size. The illustrations are 28-inch by 28-inch enlargements of the 15 stamps that were an ongoing part of the USPS’ recent "Celebrate the Century" series and cover the decade of the '40's, a most eventful period of time experienced by all Class of 1944 members.

       After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States entered World War II. More than 16 million men and women served in the military while millions of housewives worked to keep the country’s economy running. The U.S. emerged from World War II as the world's most powerful nation. Americans, after surviving years of depression and war, eagerly started families. A surge in the 1946 birthrate began the postwar baby boom.


      "Movie fans enjoyed the films of Bing Crosby and Betty Grable. Commercial television was launched, and Milton Berle and Ed Sullivan became household names. Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. For the first time people played with both Slinkys and Silly Putty. Nylon stockings were the rage with women, while teenagers sported socks with loafers or saddle shoes and rolled-up blue jeans. The jitterbug was popularized by music from live bands and jukeboxes. New words were hot rod, pinup, bikini, self-employed."

       Permission for the Class of 1944 Memorial Room to reproduce and display the stamps in their enlarged format was obtained directly from the U.S. Postal Service while specific approvals were also received from: The Jackie Robinson Foundation - The Estate of Orson Welles - The Nelson Group of Companies - The Curtis Publishing Company - James Industries, Inc. - Poof Products, Inc. - and the Estate of Jackson Pollock.


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