After Christmas 1935, Eugene Klein convened philatelists at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia for the First American Philatelic Congress. During the two-day event, they heard 19 original philatelic papers by philatelists such as Stanley Ashbrook, Clarence Brazer, James Waldo Fawcett, Max Johl, Catherine Manning, Delf Norona, and Philip Ward. The Congress published the articles in a softbound volume of 62 pages without illustrations.
This annual tradition of publishing original articles by leading philatelic and postal history scholars continued last week with the release of the 77th Congress Book at STAMPSHOW in Columbus, Ohio. Today, Congress Books are 200-page hardbound volumes, with color illustrations, containing eight or nine original papers. The 2011 volume is the sixth edited by Ken Trettin.
The Congress Book is distributed annually to members of the American Philatelic Congress. This year’s article titles convey the diversity of topics and research approaches published in the Congress Books: “The Disintegration of the Hohenzollern Empire 1918-1923” (Al Kugel); “Prexies and the Interaction of Color” (Diane DeBlois & Robert Harris); “A Census of Confederate Covers Bearing the 2¢ Green Stamp” (Dan Warren); “The Underground Railroad Post Office in Postumia Grotte 1872-1945” (Tom Lera); “The Development of Airmail Services in Poland 1918-1928” (Jerzy Kupiec-Weglinski & Jacek Kosmala); “The Salam ‘Pointing Hand PAID’ Handstamps: America’s First Pictorial Postal Markings” (Mark Schwartz); “The Puzzle of the Piscataqua Postmarks” (Nancy Clark); and “The Court Delivery Stamps of Imperial Austria” (Ingert Kuzych).
Collectively, the nearly 1000 articles published over the past 77 years represent a significant body of philatelic scholarship, which I consult often. I was able to complete my set of Congress Books this summer when I found No. 7 (1941) on the APRL library sales shelf. For those who do not own a set, they are widely available in philatelic libraries. The last paper index to the Congress Books was published in 2006 (Nos. 1-72). The Congress maintains an electronic version of the index, updated through 2010; and Leonard Hartmann’s Philatelic Bibliopole has a list of authors and titles that can be “Ctrl+F” searched.