William J. Gicker Jr., the manager of stamp development at the Postal Service, said the “warm and engaging” way Mr. Rogers communicated made him an appropriate choice.
“There are certain things you can’t do electronically,” he said in an interview. “If someone has done a kindness, a personal note is still far more valuable than shooting off an email or text. There is still a place for the written letter.”
The postage stamp is the latest cultural emblem of the enduring appeal of Mr. Rogers and his show, which is marking the 50th anniversary of its American premiere. Last month, TriStar Pictures announced that Tom Hanks would play Mr. Rogers in the biopic “You Are My Friend,” about his friendship with a journalist.
Mr. Rogers has inspired books and documentaries, been spoofed on “Saturday Night Live” and even inspired a category on “Jeopardy!”
His persona resonated off screen as well, such as when he testified before a Senate subcommittee to push for public broadcasting funds. In 1997, he moved an entire Emmy Awards audience full of celebrities to silence, and some to tears, when he instructed them to think of someone they owed gratitude.
“Ten seconds of silence,” he said gently from the stage, flicking back his cuff. “I will watch the time.”
Fans have even created a “Church of Rogers” forum on Reddit to share the love online.
“I am becoming the person Mr. Rogers would want me to be,” one fan wrote.
“You aren’t becoming the type of person Mr. Rogers wanted you to be,” another replied. “You’re becoming the type of person he knew you could be if you were just willing to try.”
Joanne Rogers, Mr. Rogers’s wife, said in an interview that her husband would have approved of his appearance on a postage stamp because of the personal outreach that a handwritten letter involves in an increasingly virtual world.
“I think he might have agreed with me that it is amazing,” she said. “I think that people must need him. Just look at what goes on in the world. He always wanted to provide a haven and a comfortable lap for children, and I think that is what so many of us need right now.”
Having Mr. Rogers’s face on a stamp that enables slow, thoughtful communication is a fitting parallel of his approach to life.
Patience was one of the themes of his show, which aired its last new episode in 2001 but is still broadcast on PBS. Children were encouraged to embrace it, an undertaking they saw modeled in Mr. McFeely, who was the neighborhood’s equivalent of a mailman.
Mr. McFeely, whose catchphrase was “Speedy Delivery,” would arrive at Mr. Rogers’s house in a battery-operated wagon, in a kayak or on a tricycle. He would often deliver films of himself doing chores, like raking leaves, at high speed, but over time he learned to slow down enough to exchange pleasantries with Mr. Rogers.
David A. Newell, who played the character for 33 years, said he was initially employed as a prop coordinator on the show and portrayed the delivery man on the side.
“I want you to be in a hurry,” Mr. Newell said in an interview, quoting the directions Mr. Rogers gave him when he was hired. “It will give me the chance to be able to work on some themes. Children are always told, ‘Hurry up, do this.’ But I like to take my time.”
“I think he would be honored,” Mr. Newell said, when asked about Mr. Rogers’s elevation to postage stamp fame. “Because Fred would write a thank-you note for everything.”
Mr. Rogers, who was born in Latrobe, Pa., on March 20, 1928, started working in the television industry after he graduated from college. He also became a Presbyterian minister. “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” began airing in Pittsburgh in 1966 and was broadcast nationally starting in 1968.
It came as close to a reality show as you could get for an audience of toddlers.
He visited a recycling center, explored how a restaurant operates, and took viewers with him on a trip to the doctor. He threw himself into moonwalking, and slipped around on the ice with Peggy Fleming. When he accidentally buttoned his sweater incorrectly, or a zipper got jammed, he turned it into a teaching moment.
Very few subjects were off-limits on the show — he addressed death, anger, violence and parental divorce.
Mr. Newell said Mr. Rogers followed at least one piece of advice closely. “You can do divorce,” he said. “But don’t forget the fun.”