A First Day Cover For Bix.
    According to the American First Day Cover Society, http://www.afdcs.org/, "A First Day Cover (FDC) is an envelope or card bearing a stamp which is cancelled on the day the stamp is initially placed on sale by the postal authorities." A First Day of Issue card or envelope has the stamp and the cancellation, e.g., the date and location. A First Day Cover has, in addition, a cachet, an image related to the subject of the stamp.  The U.S. Postal Service designates one or more cities as "official. "  These are the locations where the new stamp is first released. First Day Covers are prepared by stamp dealers or by individuals.
    "Celebrate the Century" stamps were issued for every decade of the 20th century. The 1920s decade, the roaring twenties, had fifteen stamps, some of which were related to jazz : a flapper, a radio, and the "Jazz Flourishes" stamp. These stamps were issued on May 28, 1998, in Chicago, Illinois. The description of the stamp in the U.S.P.S. web site reads: “1920’s: Jazz. Created in the United States, jazz was spread by radio and recordings in the 1920’s. Among the leading performers were Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Joe “King” Oliver, Fletcher Henderson, and Bix Beiderbecke.”
    In connection with the issue of the Jazz Flourishes stamp, Lloyd A. de Vries - a staff member of the Virtual Stamp Club and producer of the Dragon First Day Cover cards- prepared a card with a cachet of Bix Beiderbecke.  It is shown below.

A Commemorative Stamp for Bix.
Previous Attempts.
    On January 20, 1995, Margaret Baumann, Secretary/Director of the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society wrote a letter of inquiry to the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee of United States Postal Service in which she stated "we wish to promote a "Stamp for Bix in '96" (note that I am paraphrasing this nice motto as the title of the present web page) to further perpetuate the legend of one of the great white jazz musicians". Margaret requested information about application procedures. She received a rather non-informative answer in which she was appraised of the fact that "the subject you proposed is before the Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee and remains under consideration." Moreover, she was told that "Proponents are not advised if a subject has been approved for issuance. A public announcement is made approximately six months prior to the year in which the stamp will be issued."
    The Society put a great effort in promoting "A Stamp for Bix in '96" at the 1995 Festival. The theme of the Festival for 1995 was "Bix: The Chicago Years". However, the poster featured the statement "A Stamp for Bix in '96" and a facsimile of a 32-cent stamp with a photo of Bix (see the image on the right). Signatures in support of the Bix commerative stamp were solicited at several functions (Bix Birthday Bash in Davenport, Tribute to Bix in Libertyville and the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival) between March 1995 and August 1995. A total of 1,792 signatures were collected and sent to the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee. Unfortunately, the effort was unsuccessful.
    Evidently, other individuals have proposed Bix as the subject of a commemorative stamp. The answer of the USPS to Margaret clearly shows that Bix was being considered. There is additional information. On May 10, 1994, James A. Leach, member of Congress for the first district of Iowa, wrote to the postmaster General a letter in which he stated "It was with great joy that I learned of the consideration of a stamp honoring Bix as part of the U.S.P.S.' musical series. Please note my strong support of such action." In response to his letter, Congressman Leach received a letter from the USPS in which it was stated "A stamp honoring Bix Beiderbecke is now under consideration by the committee." I understand that Phil Evans, himself a postal worker, had sent in a nomination at some time.
I am grateful to Rich Johnson, Bix Beiderbecke Festival Music Director, for sending me copies of the material in the Society's files about their effort to secure "A Stamp for Bix in '96". I also thank him for his support of the current attempt.

A New Effort.
    A few months ago, Mike Heckman asked me what had been done about a commemorative stamp for Bix and suggested that a new attempt was in order. I heartily agreed with him and we started composing a letter of nomination. We consulted the USPS web site to find out about guidelines. The USPS established a set of criteria for commemorative stamp subject selection. The criteria are quite stringent and I understand that the members of the Citizen's Advisory Committee are a rather independent bunch. We believe that our petition adheres closely to the criteria and we are optimistic. A copy of the nomination and supporting material mailed on November 24, 1999 follows. We need the help of all the Bixophiles from around the world. Please send your letters in support of our nomination to

            Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee
            c/o Stamp Management
            U.S. Postal Service
            475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, Room 4474EB
            Washington, DC  20260-6756


Please write to me at    ahaim@hotmail.comif you are sending an endorsement to the USPS.

Copies of the Material Submitted to the USPS.

Michael B. Heckman                                                                      Albert Haim
P. O Box 644                                                                                20 Three Village Lane
Pine Bush, NY 12566                                                                    Setauket, NY 11733

November 19, 1999

Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee
c/o Stamp Management,
 U.S. Postal Service
 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, Room 4474EB,
 Washington, DC 20260-6756

Dear Members of the Advisory Committee:

    In May 1998, the U.S.P.S issued a commemorative stamp entitled “Jazz Flourishes”. The description of the stamp in the U.S.P.S. web site reads: “1920’s: Jazz. Created in the United States, jazz was spread by radio and recordings in the 1920’s. Among the leading performers were Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Joe “King” Oliver, Fletcher Henderson, and Bix Beiderbecke.” The USPS singled out five musicians out of the hundreds who played in the 1920’s. Of these five musicians, two of them, Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton, have been the subjects of commemorative stamps. We suggest that Leon Bix Beiderbecke, one of the most important American jazz musicians of the century, be honored with a commemorative stamp to be issued on March 10, 2003, the 100th anniversary of his birth.
    Leon Bix Beiderbecke was a jazz musician of world renown who made unparalleled, innovative, and lasting contributions to the jazz idiom, both as a performer (cornet and piano) and as a composer. Bix is ordinarily categorized as a jazz musician. That would be an accurate but superficial description. What Bix created was music of unique beauty. Jazz was the medium of his expression, but the music that came from his cornet and piano was comparable to lyric poetry. He took the brash, extroverted art of jazz and showed that jazz can be melodious and reflective. He is credited with being an originator of the jazz ballad. He took the polyphonic New Orleans jazz style and added the expressive and lyrical instrumental solo to it. These two innovations are among the most important components of Bix’s enduring musical legacy. The other components are represented by Bix’s highly original musical compositions and by his recordings. The recordings, although made when the quality of sound reproduction was somewhat limited, show that Bix’s cornet sound was beautiful and unique, that he was a musician of exquisite taste, and that he had a remarkable genius for extemporaneous and highly original improvisation.
    Leon Bix Beiderbecke was born on March 10, 1903 in Davenport, Iowa and died in Queens, NY on August 6, 1931.  He began his professional career in 1923 playing cornet with the Wolverine Orchestra. In 1926, he joined the Jean Goldkette Victor Recording Orchestra, the most successful jazz organization in the Midwest. In 1927, he joined the orchestra of Paul Whiteman, the “King of Jazz”. During Bix’s brief recording career – it lasted only six years – he recorded with such jazz giants as Hoagy Carmichael, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, and many others. Today, nearly 100 years after his birth and almost seventy years after his death, Bix Beiderbecke has a phenomenal popularity and influence that extends beyond any geographical boundaries.
    Bix was an original. His technique and style of playing were unique and had a profound influence on his fellow musicians. Bix’s solo in “Singin’ the Blues” has been recorded note for note by several musicians of renown such as Rex Stewart and Bobby Hackett. Following Bix’s recording of the tune, almost every jazz player in America tried to emulate his style and sound. Bix’s recording of “Singin’ the Blues” is considered by most jazz critics and historians to be one of the two most important jazz recordings of all time. The other one is Armstrong’s “West End Blues”.
However, even more important than Bix’s influence on his contemporaries, is the fact that he provided a different path than that developed by Louis Armstrong. A comparison with Armstrong, considered by many to be the most important jazz musician of the century, is appropriate because Bix’s musical creativity flourished at the same time as that of the young Louis Armstrong.  Whereas Armstrong’s strength was his spectacular technique, Bix’s genius was for extemporaneous improvisation. Bix’s improvisational style introduced into jazz music a greater measure of classical structure and sensibility. His piano compositions blend the idiom of jazz with the classical European tradition, in particular French impressionism.
    Bix’s influence in jazz was long lasting. Many jazz critics and historians consider that Bix’s music is at the origin of the movement known as cool jazz. Approximately one third of the nearly fifty existing recordings of “In A Mist”, Bix’s most important composition, were made in the 1990’s. Two jazz festivals totally dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of Bix's musical legacy take place every year.
    Detailed information is provided in the attached documents entitled “Additional Information in Support of the Nomination of Leon Bix Beiderbecke as the Subject of a Commemorative Stamp”.

                                                         Michael Heckman     Albert Haim

Additional Information in Support of the Nomination of
Leon Bix Beiderbecke
as the Subject of a Commemorative Stamp

    In what follows, we will list evidence of the recognition and honors bestowed upon Bix in recognition of his seminal contributions and achievements.

Additional information can be found in a web site entitled “Bix Beiderbecke Resources: A Bixography”. The URL is http://ms.cc.sunysb.edu/~alhaim/index.html

Additional letter to the Committee

                                                                      Albert Haim
                                                                       20 Three Village Lane
                                                                     Setauket, NY 11733
February 22, 2002
Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee
c/o Stamp Management,
 U.S. Postal Service
 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, Room 4474EB,
 Washington, DC 20260-6756

Dear Members of the Advisory Committee:
On November 19, 1999, Michael Heckman and I submitted a latter of nomination of Leon Bix Beiderbecke as the subject of a commemorative stamp to be issued on March 6, 2003, the 100th anniversary of his birthday.

I recently became aware of two important pieces of information in support of our nomination. In our previous letter, we highlighted Bix’s cornet solo in the recording of “Singin’ the Blues” by Frank Trumbauer and his orchestra and Bix’s piano solo recording of his own composition “In A Mist.”  We discovered strong supporting evidence for the seminal importance of the two recordings.

The Grammy organization has several types of awards. One of these is the "Grammy Hall of Fame Award." As described in the grammy.com website, "The GRAMMY Hall of Fame was established by the Recording Academy's National Trustees in 1973 to honor early recordings of lasting, qualitative or historical significance that were released more than 25 years ago. Winners are selected annually by a special member committee of eminent and knowledgeable professionals from all branches of the recording arts." Two of the entries in the list of awards read as follows.

Inducted 1977
Frankie Trumbauer And His Orchestra Featuring Bix Beiderbecke On Cornet

IN A MIST (Piano Solo)
Inducted 1980
Bix Beiderbecke

An additional piece of information must be brought up to recognize the significance of the two Grammy Hall of Fame Awards. Bix Beiderbecke’s recording career covered the years 1924-1930. During that period, six records in the jazz genre were honored. Two of these are Bix’s. Clearly, the induction of the recordings “Singin’ the Blues” and “In A Mist” to the Grammy Hall of Fame bolsters our contention of the seminal importance of the contributions of  Bix Beiderbecke to our American musical legacy.


Albert Haim

Added January 11, 2003.
The USPS decided not to issue a stamp to commemorate Bix's musical genius. In response to this tremendous injustice, Brad Kay issued his own Bix stamp. It is very beautiful.


Return to the top  Return to home page Return to Detailed Table of Contents


A Brief Biography  Articles in Magazines The Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society
Bix's Musical Genius Video Tapes  Items of Special Interest
Biographies Audio Tapes Information of Related Interest
Chapters in Books Museums A Stamp for Bix in 2003
Scholarly Dissertations Miscellaneous Links to Related Sites
Obituaries Readers' Queries and Remarks Celebration of Bix's Musical Legacy

The Original 78's
Analysis of Some Recordings: Is It Bix or Not ?
Complete Compilations of Bix's Recordings
Tributes to Bix
Miscellaneous Recordings Related to Bix
In A Mist