Published March 1, 2024

Catharine Coffin Honored with USPS Stamp

Catharine Coffin honored with a U.S. Postal Service Forever stamp for her antislavery work.Recognizing her impact and enduring legacy of antislavery activism, Catharine Coffin has been honored with a new Forever stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service.

The stamp was unveiled during an event on March 21 at the Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site in Fountain City, held in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service. It is part of a series of Forever stamps depicting 10 courageous men and women who helped guide enslaved people to freedom via the Underground Railroad. Others featured in the series are Frederick Douglass, Thomas Garrett, Laura Haviland, Lewis Hayden, Harriet Jacobs, William Lambert, Rev. Jermain Loguen, William Still and Harriet Tubman.

Catharine Coffin and her husband, Levi, called Fountain City their home from 1826-1847. In that 20-year period, the Coffins used their home as a safehouse, one of many locations in the Underground Railroad network that enslaved people encountered on a risky and sometime perilous journey north toward freedom. The Coffins opened their doors to give food, shelter and aid to up to 100 freedom-seekers each year. In all, they are credited with helping more than 1,000 people escape the horrors of slavery.

Catharine Coffin was known to many of those individuals as Aunt Katy. In the midst of her role as both wife and mother, she dedicated much of her time to sheltering, clothing, feeding and caring for many. Along with her dedication to the Underground Railroad, Catharine Coffin was also a public advocate during the early years of the antislavery movement in Indiana.

When the Coffins chose to move to Cincinnati, Ohio, they continued their tireless work. This time, they were on the front line of where the Underground Railroad began for many — at the Ohio River. Here both Levi and Catharine Coffin incorporated their Underground Railroad work with that of their daily routine, often taking great risks.

The Underground Railroad USPS StampsWe are proud to tell the Coffins’ story here at the Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site, where thousands of visitors from around the country come to learn about the purpose of the Underground Railroad and to see one of the best provenanced historic houses tied to this important American story.