Envelope art illustrates ZCMI history

Commemorative cachet envelopes and a special postal cancellation were part of ZCMI's 125th anniversary celebration Oct. 15-16.

Utah artist and illustrator Leon Burrows designed the artwork on the four cachet envelopes, each depicting a different scene from the history of ZCMI, America's first department store.In pioneer times, Brigham Young suggested that Utah saints should trade with each other rather than with outsiders, and a chain of cooperative stores was set up throughout the Mormon settlements. Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution in Salt Lake City became the parent institution.

ZCMI was organized under the direction of President Young in October 1868. On Oct. 16 of that year, he was chosen president of the cooperative. ZCMI was dedicated and first opened its doors for business on March 1, 1869, on the southwest corner of First South and Main Street in Salt Lake City. The store moved to its current location in 1876.

The scenes on the commemorative envelopes are: Brigham Young and the ZCMI "All Seeing Eye" placard, circa 1868; the ZCMI building at its current location on Main Street, c. 1880; a horse-drawn ZCMI delivery wagon, c. 1880; the ZCMI building, c. 1950, with different ZCMI logos from 1868 to the present.

Working with ZCMI president Richard H. Madsen and his executive assistant, Bill Coles, Commemorative Design's Alan Wood and Lloyd Shaw brought together the artwork, printed the envelopes, came up with various U.S. postage stamps for the commemorative collection, and arranged with the U.S. Post Office for a special stamp cancellation. The post office had representatives in the ZCMI Center downtown in Salt Lake City to cancel stamps with the ZCMI cancellation during the commemoration.

Also available were a framed limited edition print enlargement of the Brigham Young envelope design by Burrows and a framed limited edition special print by Utah artist Arnold Friberg. Friberg's print depicted a 19th century street scene in front of the downtown Salt Lake City ZCMI building.

The limited edition prints were stamped with special Utah stamps commemorating the centennial of the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley and the 75th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad in Promontory, Utah. The print by Friberg, who is of Swedish descent, also included stamps honoring Swedish pioneers. All the stamps were cancelled with the ZCMI commemorative cancellation.

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