Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Former Presidents Who Were Alive During the Civil War

Posted By on February 19, 2013

At the beginning of the Civil War, April 1865, five former presidents of the United States were alive.  They were Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan.  During the Civil War, two of them died – John Tyler on 18 January 1862 and Martin Van Buren on 24 July 1862.

The only time these men were depicted on U.S. postage stamps was in the Presidential Series of 1938.  Perhaps this attests to their insignificance or their failure to make a great impact on history.

On this day after Presidents Day 2013, which is supposed to honor all former presidents, they have been selected to be featured here on The Civil War Blog – for their accomplishment of living through all or part of the Civil War.  Their stamps from the Presidential Series of 1938 are shown below and the years of their presidency are noted below the picture of the stamp.

Martin Van Buren (1837-1841)

John Tyler (1841-1845)

Millard Fillmore (1850-1853)

Franklin Pierce (1853-1857)

James Buchanan (1857-1861)


Previously, here on this blog, the Presidential Series of 1938 was explained.  Two other prior posts, Early Postage Stamps Honoring Abraham Lincoln and Postage Stamps Honoring Abraham Lincoln – Bureau of Engraving and Printing to 1909. discussed the early depiction of Abraham Lincoln on postage stamps.  The next post on Lincoln on stamps will occur in about ten days when the regular Lincoln stamp issues will continue with an examination of the Liberty Series and the Prominent Americans Issues which saw service from the mid-1950s through the mid-1970s.




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