Penn State students help out on MLK Day

Volunteers unpack boxes

Three Penn State students, volunteering their time as part of Penn State’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, helped out at the American Philatelic Research Library today.

On Friday, we received three pallets of journals and auction catalogs de-accessioned by Library and Archives Canada. They were temporarily staged in the Morse Building at the American Philatelic Center, the former home of the APRL until the opening of the new library last year.

APRL Trustee Don Heller gave the students a hand
Thanks to our volunteers, hundreds of volumes are now ready for processing

The students helped by opening boxes, putting the journals and catalogs on carts, in order, and moving them upstairs to compact shelving in the new library, where they await processing to become part of the APRL’s collection.



APRL Resource of the Month: The U.S. Stamp Files

Beginning this month, the APRL will feature a “resource of the month” on this blog and in the APS e-newsletter. To get things started, I’ll share a unique collection for anyone researching U.S. issues, especially from the 20th century: the U.S. Stamp Files.

The U.S. Stamp files (shown above in their secure location in the library’s closed stacks) include files various sources, but primarily from three individuals: Forrest Ellis, John Stark, and Belmont Faries. They are organized by Scott number and collectively make the APRL a leading source of information on 20th-century U.S. stamps. Continue reading “APRL Resource of the Month: The U.S. Stamp Files”

Postmaster General annual reports available online

The APRL has received word of two digitization projects of interest to anyone researching the U.S. Post Office Department or U.S. Postal Service.

For those interested in more modern information, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum Library has digitized the annual reports of the Postmaster General for the years 1999, 1996, 1994, 1993, 1991, 1990, 1978, 1977, and 1971-1972. The reports can be accessed via the Smithsonian Libraries Digital Collections, and a link has also been added to the APRL’s catalog record for the annual reports.

Going further back in history, as part of the Crawford Library digitization project, the files for United States reports and correspondence of the Postmaster General have been split into smaller, more manageable files for web access.


New books at the APRL, December 2016

APRL acquisitions, November 16–December 15, 2016. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

This month’s additions to the library include a number of volumes on the postal history of Indiana counties. In all, there are 90 volumes covering all but 2 (Ripley and Vigo) of Indiana’s 92 counties. They were published by the Indiana Postal History Society, an APS affiliate. Each volume includes maps of the county and data for each town post office, such as dates of operation and postmaster appointments. The volumes were donated to the library by Art Hadley, and volunteers comb-bound them for the collection.

Becker, Hans-Werner. Catalogue of Philippine postal slogan cancels. Volume 1 (Cebu City, Philippines: Hans-Werner Becker, c2016). [G8061 .P857 B395 2016]

Bensing, Werner. Plattierung 70D + 74D ([n.l.]: [ArGe Schweiz], [n.d.]). [In process 000063183]

Bensing, Werner. Plattierung der 73D ([n.l.]: [ArGe Schweiz], [n.d.]). [In process 000063182] Continue reading “New books at the APRL, December 2016”

Nominations open for Crawford Medal

The Royal Philatelic Society London invites nominations for the Crawford Medal, awarded to the most valuable and original contribution to philately published in the form of a book.  Nominations are invited of books published in 2015 or 2016 and the award is open to both members and non-members of the Society.

To nominate a publication, submit brief details either by email to or mail to 41 Devonshire Place, London W1G 6JY, UK, marking the envelope “Crawford Nomination”.  The deadline for nominations is February 1, 2017.  If the book is not in the Society’s library then the nominator may be requested to supply a copy for the committee to consider.


Support the library while you shop

Did you know that when you shop at Amazon, you can support the APRL at the same time?

Just do your shopping at AmazonSmile — same products, same service as Amazon — and designate the APRL as your beneficiary. Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to us — bookmark the link, get started today and support the library every time you shop.


Online maps from the Library of Congress

Railroad and post office map of Minnesota and Wisconsin, Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division reports that the Library of Congress will be contributing three major map collections to the Digital Public Library of America.

Many of the maps to be included are already online at the LoC website, but the new partnership will make them accessible in the same place as other collections, for example from the Smithsonian Libraries and the Internet Archive.

Many kinds of maps are useful for postal history research, and postal maps can be found in libraries around the world. For example, a search of the LoC’s online maps for “postal” yielded 27 results, including, for example, an 1871 railroad and post office map of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Do you have a favorite source for maps? Leave a link in the comments!

New books at the APRL, November 2016

APRL acquisitions, October 16–November 15, 2016. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

book coverAmerican Philatelic Research Library. The APS story (State College, PA: American Philatelic Research Library, 1997). [HE6188 .A512a 1997]

American Philatelic Society. Manual of philatelic judging [electronic resource] ([Bellefonte, Pa.]: American Philatelic Society, [2009-2016]). [HE6215 .A513m 2016]

Arabian Philatelic Association [auction house] (Dhahran, Saudi Arabia: Arabian Philatelic Association, [1997]). [AUCTION Arabian Philatelic Association]

Aune, Finn. Posthorn-nøkkel: oversikt over Norske posthornmerker I 125 år, verdens lengstlevende frimerkemotiv (fortsatt i bruk) ([n.l.]: Skanfil AS, 2006). [In process 000063147] Continue reading “New books at the APRL, November 2016”

New book: Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi: Civil censorship 1940-1945

book coverThomas Lindekens of Belgium has just published a book on civil censorship in the Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi. Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi: Civil Censorship 1940-1945“includes all post offices, linear marks, tapes and cancellations used by the censorship office of the Belgian Congo and the Ruanda-Urundi 1940-1945 (illustrations, colours, sizes, dates of use). … These are each illustrated and described.”

The book’s 246 full-color A4-format pages are bound in a ring binder.

The book is available for €45 (with shipping, €52.50 in Belgium or €60 to the rest of the world). Pay by PayPal (add €2 for fees) or inquire to

Library grand opening a success

Crowd at the APRL ribbon-cutting event.
Crowd at the APRL ribbon-cutting event.

On the morning of Saturday, October 29, hundreds of people poured into the American Philatelic Research Library for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the new library space.

APRL Administrator Scott English introduced APRL President Roger Brody, APS President Mick Zais, local officials, including Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson, Centre County Commissioners Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins, Bellefonte Borough Council Vice President Randy Brachbill, followed by USPS Director of Stamp Services Mary-Anne Penner and former APS Executive Director Bob Lamb. The APRL and APS presidents cut the strip of postal labels to officially open the library. Watch the ceremony on YouTube.

Ambassador Robert E. Lamb, former APS executive director.
Ambassador Robert E. Lamb, former APS executive director.

The festivities began the day before with a dinner held at the American Philatelic Center featuring an address by David Beech, former curator of the British Library’s philatelic collection. Watch David’s address on YouTube.

The weekend also featured a book fair, tours of the library and the American Philatelic Center, and ample opportunities to socialize, use the library’s state of the art research facilities, shop, and take in displays, including a 5-frame exhibit on loan from the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History.

Library Grand Opening cacheted envelope.
Library Grand Opening cacheted envelope.

The APS produced a cachet to commemorate the opening in a limited numbered printing of 100. Each cachet is autographed by the APRL president, administrator, and librarian, franked with a $2 Inverted Jenny stamp, and canceled with a Bellefonte pictorial cancel including the library’s logo. A limited number of these covers are available through the APS event souvenir shop.

Here are a couple of photographs from the event. Many more can be seen on the APS Facebook page by clicking on the photos tab.

The event was covered by the local and philatelic press: