James Madison Buchanan (1803-1876) was a relative of President James Buchanan
and a Baltimore lawyer with strong political ties. He received his postmaster’s
appointment on April 8, 1845, from President James K. Polk, the Democratic
candidate elected in 1844. Buchanan served four years under the Polk
administration, but was replaced when the successful Whig candidate, Zachary
Taylor, entered office in 1849. Buchanan later served as U.S. Minister to
As Baltimore’s postmaster, Buchanan was one of the first to issue provisional
stamps after the Act of 1845 postal reforms took effect on July 1, 1845.
The Baltimore adhesive stamps on Bluish paper (Scott 3X3 and 3X4) were issued at
the same time or shortly after the handstamped envelopes. The earliest recorded
date of use is August 3, 1845 (5c on Bluish, Scott 3X3). The subsequent printing
on White paper (Scott 3X1 and 3X2) must have been made at the end of 1845 or
very early in 1846, because the earliest recorded date of use for any Baltimore
stamp on White paper is January 15, 1846.