R. Buckminster Fuller USPS stamp

(c) 2004 USPS. Used with Permission. All Rights Reserved.

On July 12, 2004, the United States Postal Service released a 37-cent stamp honoring Buckminster Fuller on the 50th anniversary of his patent for the Geodesic Dome. The opening ceremony took place at Cubberley Auditorium, Stanford University. The event was well-attended and featured addresses by Michael Keller, University Librarian; Allegra Fuller Snyder, Buckminster Fuller's daughter; and Dr. Buzz Aldrin, astronaut.

It was Fuller’s daughter, Allegra Fuller Snyder, who suggested Stanford as the first-day venue for the stamp. In addition to choosing an appropriate location, the postal service could hardly have picked a better date. July 12 is the date of Fuller’s birth in 1895, and of his marriage to Anne Hewlett in 1917. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Fuller’s patent for the geodesic dome, awarded in 1954.

The new stamp shows the bespectacled Fuller, his bald head rendered as a geodesic dome, surrounded by some of his most famous inventions including the Dymaxion car, geodesic domes, and tensegrity structures. The design is a copy of an illustration by the late Boris Artzybasheff that appeared on the cover of Time magazine on January 10, 1964.

The stamp is nicely matched with the Isamu Noguchi 5-stamp set, released on March 18, 2004, because Noguchi and Fuller were, in fact, lifelong friends. The two met at Romany Marie's tavern in Greenwich Village, New York, a popular watering-hole for artists and bohemians during the late 1920's. They became intimate friends, sharing ideas and correspondence even when geography separated them. Noguchi sculpted a famous chromed portrait bust of Fuller in 1929, and formed some plaster models for Fuller's famous Dymaxion car.