1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago

catalog-1893-columbian-exhibit-72-reducedIn 1893 the American Philatelic Association (now the American Philatelic Society) created an exhibit of postage stamps and other postal artifacts for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Putting the exhibit together was similar in some respects to what is happening now with World Stamp Show-NY 2016. An Executive Committee was established that “had entire charge of securing the stamps, arranging them on sheets, raising the necessary money, issuing the official Catalogues, securing the cases, etc.”. The exhibit was in cooperation with the United States Post Office Department and was located in the Government Building at the Exposition. In working on an exhibit about world renowned philatelist and APS Hall of Fame member Hiram E. Deats, I managed to acquire a copy of the catalog for the exhibit (see cover above). The official title of the catalog is Catalogue of the American Philatelic Association’s loan exhibit of postage stamps to the United States Post Office Department: at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893. A digital copy of the catalog is available on the Hathi Trust website. The Hathi Trust is a consortium of research libraries that has created a digital library of their contributions to Google Books and digitized publications from their own efforts. In searching the APRL’s Union Catalog I also discovered that the APRL has a digitized copy of the Official Circular (pdf file), a preliminary announcement about the exhibit and a solicitation for funding and for stamps to include in the exhibit. In looking through the catalog I found that Hiram E. Deats not only played a prominent role in organizing the exhibit, but also contributed a substantial amount of the philatelic material that was exhibited. That material was phenomenal even by today’s standards. The March, 1986 issue of the American Philatelist includes an article by Robert L.D. Davidson (pdf file) about the participation of the APA/APS in the World’s Columbian Exposition.