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W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine Library: Medical Stamps

Medical Stamps of Lawrence Leslie Ware Jr.

Lawrence Leslie Ware JrLawrence Leslie Ware Jr. was born on Sept. 12, 1920, in Charleston, W.Va. He was a U.S. Navy medical corpsman with the Seabees in World War II, after which he attended Roosevelt University in Chicago, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1950 with a major in microbiology and minor in biochemistry.

Mr. Ware was employed as a medical biologist with the U.S. Army biological warfare project in Frederick, Md., from 1951 to 1959, and then was a laboratory director for Indian Hospital in Phoenix from 1959 to 1965. He returned to the Washington, D.C., area in 1966 as a medical information officer for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command at Fort Detrick.

In 1965, Mr. Ware was certified as an RM(AAM) in pathogenic bacteriology and immunology-serology, and in 1971 received certification as an SM(AAM) in public health and medical laboratory microbiology. He worked for more than 40 years as a microbiologist.

Mr. Ware and his colleagues at Fort Detrick pioneered much of the research important to the biotechnology industry. He was nominated for the Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1986 — the second highest award for civilians — and retired that same year.

One of Mr. Ware's hobbies was medical stamp collecting. He spent many of his retirement years in Florida with his wife, daughter and grandchildren. Mr. Ware died from Alzheimer's disease on Aug. 30, 1996, in Florida.

Stamp donation to Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic received this donation in installments beginning in November 1988 and ending around 1994. Mr. Ware donated his collection in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Gerald M. Needham, Mayo Clinic emeritus.

The collection consists of:

  • Individual stamps: 27 sheets
  • Stamps commemorating malaria: eight sheets
  • First-day-of-issue stamps on envelopes that include biographical information: 16 sheets
  • First-day-of-issue stamps on envelopes: 58 individual stamps

The stamps featured in the gallery below were selected to highlight notable people and important milestones in the history of medicine. They represent just a small portion of this large collection, which is housed in the History of Medicine Library at Mayo Clinic.

Medical Stamp Gallery

Louis Braille
Louis Braille (1809-1852) - Braille, accidentally blinded during his childhood, was the eponymous inventor of the system that today enables visually impaired people around the world to read and write.
Otto Loewi
Otto Loewi (1873-1961) - By confirming the chemical compound acetylcholine was a neurotransmitter, Loewi, a pharmacologist, built on earlier research by Sir Henry Dale. The two men shared the 1936 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for this work.
Albert Schweitzer
Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) - A physician, philosopher and musician, Schweitzer is known for his humanitarian work and theological writings. In 1952, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Marie Curie
Marie Curie (1867-1934) - Curie, a physicist and chemist, received — along with her husband — the 1903 Nobel Prize in physics for research into radioactivity. Her discovery of polonium and radium earned her the 1911 Nobel Prize in chemistry.
International Red Cross
International Red Cross - Founded in 1863, the International Committee of the Red Cross is a humanitarian organization based in Switzerland. It aims to aid those caught in conflict and war around the world.
Galen (129-circa 200) - Born in Greece, Galen was a prominent physician, researcher and philosopher. He was also a prolific writer, but much of his work is lost. This stamp celebrates the 1966 new headquarters of the World Health Organization.
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) - After earning his medical degree from the University of Vienna in Austria in 1881, Freud went on to develop the technique of psychoanalysis for treating psychological and emotional conditions.
Joseph Lister
Joseph Lister (1827-1912) - A British surgeon, Lister pioneered the use of antiseptics and sterile surgery in the mid-1800s. His discoveries led to doctors using clean outfits and gloves, washing their hands, and sterilizing surgical instruments.
Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen
Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen (1845-1923) - Rontgen discovered X-rays in 1895, which earned him the inaugural Nobel Prize in physics in 1901. This stamp commemorates the 7th Latin Congress and 1st European Congress of Radiology held in 1967.
The Doctors Mayo
Honoring the Doctors Mayo - This 5-cent stamp was initially placed on sale in Rochester, Minn., on Sept. 11, 1964. Designed by R.J. Jones and V.S. McCloskey Jr., it was based on noted sculptor James Earle Fraser's statues of the Mayo brothers.
U.S. salute to blood donors
U.S. salute to blood donors - Starting with the first blood bank, established in 1937 in Chicago, the blood bank system expanded rapidly during the 1940s. Today, it is the basis for a specialized field of medicine.
George Papanicolaou, Ph.D.
George Papanicolaou, Ph.D. (1883-1962) - Dr. Papanicolaou, creator of the Pap test, is honored in this stamp designed by Paul Calle of Stamford, Conn.
Nursing: 100th anniversary of the profession
Nursing: 100th anniversary of the profession - Designed by Alfred Charles Parker and V.S. McCloskey Jr., this 4-cent stamp first went on sale in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 28, 1961 — about a century after Florence Nightingale opened her school.
American Cancer Society
American Cancer Society: Program of research education service - The American Cancer Society, established in 1913 by a group of doctors and business leaders, is now a world leader in the ongoing battle against cancer.
World Health Organization (WHO)
World Health Organization (WHO): Malaria - Founded in 1948, the WHO today focuses on communicable and noncommunicable diseases, nutrition, and many other topics. This stamp was issued to publicize the United Nations' antimalaria campaign.
Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910)
Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910): 125th graduation anniversary - In 1847, after many rejections, Blackwell was admitted to Geneva Medical College in New York. She graduated at the top of her class, becoming the first female medical school graduate.
Sir William Osler (1849-1919)
Sir William Osler (1849-1919) - Originally published in 1892, Osler's book "The Principles and Practice of Medicine" supported his imaginative ideas and teaching methods. It served as a key resource on clinical medicine for four decades.