The sun is coming up in St. Louis – this is my time of day – the quiet, early morning before phones ring and e-mail announces new messages. Libby, our rescued poodle mix, is napping in front my armchair after a dawn walk.
Perhaps, you already know me through my Colophon column in the Philatelic Literature Review, or an article in one of the magazines where I share my stamps and covers. In any event, I would like to say a few words about my plans for this blog, my collecting interests, and my non-stamp background.
Writing a news column for a quarterly journal has always been frustrating because of the long gaps between issues. The plan is that my blog posts will complement, not replace, the Colophon. Blog posts will allow me to share news about book releases, literature awards, and research opportunities in a timely fashion as I discover them. In the Colophon, I will strive to provide information in greater depth and perhaps review some of the books announced. No doubt, it will take a little time to strike the proper balance between the two media; hopefully the relationship will evolve in response to readers’ comments.
Never having been able to limit my collecting to a single country or topic, I have focused on back-of-the-book material (postal only, sorry to my revenue friends) which eliminates ¾ of the world’s stamps. Then for a challenge factor, I prefer to find them properly used on covers. This still being a rather large endeavor, areas of concentration have developed such as worldwide pneumatic mail, or U.S. large numeral postage dues. Attempting to understand the postal regulations around the services that required back-of-the-book stamps has led into a study of U.S. Post Office Department forms. I have a five-frame exhibit of post office forms related to U.S. Registered Mail from 1867 to 1910. And, then there are the hometown collections (what the Germans call Heimatsammlung) – particularly auxiliary markings from St. Louis.
My interests in stamps and history have grown closer since I began collecting and reading history as a child. The articles I write stem from a desire to place stamps, covers, and postal history in their larger social, economic, and political history contexts and share the excitement of these stories. One of my current projects is with Confluence, a regional history magazine, in which I select a piece or two of St. Louis related mail and tell the back story.
After serving a 6-year term on the American Philatelic Research Library Board of Trustees, I have continued to take an active interest in the growth and development of our library. I have been involved with the creation of the new philatelic union catalog; this past July, I spent APS volunteer week sorting duplicate journals in our library.
My education included four public schools systems, in three states, before a BA in history at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. After selecting library work for a career, I earned a Masters of Library Science at the University of Missouri. Having completed 32 years at Washington University Libraries, I took an early retirement this summer to have more time for postal history writing and research.
Carol (also an APS member) and I have been married almost 9 years. We honeymooned in Bellefonte; the highlight of the trip was touring the Match Factory before renovation and construction began. Helen and Stephen, my daughter and son, earned pocket money in high school showing auction lots and working at stamp shows. But, today they are a bartender and a research chemist rather than philatelists.
I look forward to sharing my philatelic literature discoveries and research explorations with you.