This Virginia artist joined the U.S. Forest Service in the early 1930s and helped launch the "Smokey the Bear" campaign in the late '30s, making him the iconic figure he is today -- now the longest running public service campaign in history; he portrayed Smokey in literally hundreds of promotional pieces that encouraged conservation of natural resources and fire prevention. Item #45237
Two items celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the iconic bear: First, a Signed Postal Cover, 6½" X 3½", cancelled in Washington, DC on 9 August 1994 and with "USPS. Philatelic Center" as part of cancellation. At upper right are the 20-cent "Smokey" stamp, 4-cent "Forest Conservation" stamp and 5-cent John Muir Conservationist" stamp. Fine. Large printed cachet at left proclaims "Happy Birthday, Smokey!" and shows a candleless birthday cake noting "50 Years Preventing Forest Fires 1944-1994." Below this, Wendelin signs boldly in black fineline and inkstamps "Stamp Designer" in blue beneath his signature. Wendelin designed all three of these stamps -- "Forest Conservation" in 1958, "John Muir" in 1964 and "Smokey" in 1984. Second, an unsigned color poster, 12¼" X 16½", n.p., n.y. . Very good. Faint edgewear, with a few expert archival mends on verso. Handsome reproduction of a Wendelin painting showing a full-length Smokey standing in a beautiful forest setting with lake in background, affixing a poster ("Remember -- / Only you can / PREVENT FOREST FIRES / 1944 [Smokey head] 1994") to a wooden stand in the forest next to a burnt-out tree trunk as bear cubs and other wildlife surround him to watch. Caption along lower margin reads "50 YEARS ...and still going!" Poster verso bears ownership signature of Jean Pablo, U.S. Forest Service historian and close friend of Wendelin. Accompanying this handsome pair is a pristine original 8-page 8vo leaflet of the funeral program handed out at Wendelin's memorial service in 2000.