Presentations from the Postal History Symposium online

Symposium attendees
Symposium attendees talk between sessions

The Sixth Annual Postal History Symposium presentations are now online, in case you missed the symposium or want to revisit any of the presenters’ slides.

The Symposium brought together collectors and academics, and the presentations brought many different perspectives to the theme of “How Commerce and Industry Shaped the Mails” – from the early days of postal history to the the current state of the USPS, which David Hochfelder addressed in his keynote.

In between talks, attendees used APS services (including the Library, Sales, and Expertizing), toured the American Philatelic Center, and visited the exhibits and dealer bourse hosted by the United States Stamp Society.

Staff profile: Neil Coker

Neil CokerSeptember’s American Philatelic Society staff profile features APRL reference assistant Neil Coker.

If you call or email the APRL, you will often be connected to Neil. He answers reference questions and fills orders for book loans, photocopies, and scanning. He’s also the library’s resident philatelist, as the only member of the staff who had a significant background in philately before coming to the APRL.


125 years of American Philatelic Society history

APS 125th Anniversary exhibitOne of the largest of the archival collections at the APRL is the APS Archives. The collection includes documents, photos, correspondence, and souvenirs from the Society, which celebrates its 125th anniversary today.

Over the summer, APRL intern Robbin Zirkle put together an exhibit to showcase material from the archives. It was on display at StampShow in Columbus, Ohio in August, and is now on display on the APS website.

APA Constitution 1886In addition to 66 pages of material, Robbin also set up a display case to show some of the larger items from the collection, including wine bottles with commemorative labels, a gavel, a ledger, a Stamp Cruise t-shirt, an APS tie, and the original constitution of the APS (then the American Philatelic Association).

Even before she started her internship, Robbin had been inventorying the APS Archives. The first installment of her inventory will appear in the 3rd quarter issue of the Philatelic Literature Review. Such inventories are key to helping researchers discover and use archival collections.

New philatelic library: NORPHIL

Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library
The Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library, an all-volunteer library in Denver

Sergio Lugo of the Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library recently visited with David Bushard, who is heading up an effort to start a new philatelic library near the Twin Cities area. Here is his report:

It was my distinct pleasure to meet with the planning group for NORPHIL this past Saturday in River Falls, Wisc. David Bushard assembled 7 other individuals for the first time to begin the process of laying out the eventual creation of NORPHIL as a viable library in the Twin Cities area.

The demographics of the Twin Cities are very akin to Denver’s about 20 years ago. That was encouraging for the planning group. Most of our time (I only had about an hour and a half) were devoted to such things as:

  1. How the RMPL got started
  2. How funds were raised
    (The wry observation was made that the RMPL is run almost as a business; a point that went undisputed by me.)
  3. Our auctions;
  4. How things had changed from 18 years ago.

The planning group appears to have a variety of talented and dedicated individuals looking at various aspects of the Library. They have an advantage in that David has already acquired numerous periodicals and books, which are being housed at his home. The planning group includes a realtor, as well as a very knowledgeable stamp dealer/appraiser. They are targeting the acquisition of a permanent property to house the Library for 5 years hence.

It is my understanding that the planning group will be meeting over the next year to iron out various issues. It is my hope that all the members of the philatelic libraries roundtable can be of assistance to David and the planning group as issues come up.

New arrivals at the APRL, August 2011

APRL acquisitions, July 16-August 14, 2011. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

ParastampAll-China Philatelic Federation. Writing the philatelic history together: a present of the ACPF for the China ‘99 world philatelic exhibition (China: All-China Philatelic Federation, 1999): 100 p.: col. ill.; 30 cm.

American Postal Workers Union. Constitution and By-Laws of the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO (Washington, D.C.: American Postal Workers Union, 1984): 55 p.; 17 cm.

Apercu Historique des Postes Bernoises (1350 – 1850) ([1967]): 30 p.; 29 cm.

Association Internationale Editeurs de Catalogues de Timbres-Poste. Small Philatelic Lexicon (Lugano, Switzerland: Association Internationale Editeurs de Catalogues de Timbres-Poste: 6 p.; 21 cm.

Babcock, Alfred Penn. Tropic isles and things (Cranford, N.J.: Alfred Penn Babcock, c1957): 288 p.; ill., maps; 19 cm.

Bangladesh Post Office. Information on Postage Stamps (Bangladesh: Bangladesh Post Office, [1993]): [24] p.: col. ill.; 23 cm.

Bartholdy, Martin. Der Generalpostmeister Heinrich v. Stephan und die deutsche Reichspost von Stephan bis heute (Berlin [Germany]: Verlag fur Sozialpolitik, Wirtschaft und Statistik, Paul Schmidt, 1938): 196 p.: ill.; 25 cm.

Beneteau, Jean-Louis. Les types des Semeuse: et quelques varietes connues (Angouleme: Carto, 1995): 96 p.; ill.; 15 cm.

Continue reading “New arrivals at the APRL, August 2011”

The Philatelical Library

The Philatelical LibraryDuring the Tiffany Dinner at StampShow earlier this month, Scott Trepel auctioned a rare piece of philatelic literature with proceeds going to the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship. (You can listen to Trepel’s talk on the APS website.)

The item auctioned was a copy of The Philatelical Library: A Catalogue of Stamp Publications by John K. Tiffany. This bibliography of the early literature of philately, published in 1874, is not a volume you’re likely to own unless you are a literature collector. Only 150 copies were printed. The APRL’s copy is in our rare book room and not available for loan.

You can read the book without even getting up from your computer though, because the Smithsonian Institution Libraries copy (no. 37) has been scanned and made available through the Internet Archive Texts database. From the Internet Archive, you can read the book online or download it in a variety of formats, including EPUB and Kindle. You can also search the text.

When we find examples of philatelic works that have been scanned and made available on the web, we add links to the entries for these books in our online catalog. If you find digital books, please let us know and we’ll add even more links to our catalog. In this way, some of the rarest philatelic literature is now becoming some of the most accessible literature!

Make your plans now for the Postal History Symposium

This year’s Postal History Symposium – a joint production of the APS, APRL, and Smithsonian National Postal Museum – will be held at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte this year. The same weekend, September 16-18, the United States Stamp Society will host a stamp show here.

Future APRL building
Lunch on Friday and Saturday will be held in the future home of the APRL at the American Philatelic Center. While much work remains to be done before this space is a working library, it now has a roof and windows and is a beautiful room. The current APRL is also located at the APC and will be available to visitors during the symposium and show.

There will also be several meal functions during the weekend for which reservations are required. The USSS will host a Dutch Treat dinner on Friday, and there will be free lunches at the APC on both Friday and Saturday. On Saturday evening, there will be a banquet and symposium keynote by Dr. David Hochfelder.

For more information and to make reservations and purchase banquet tickets, please see our symposium website.

Our hotel blocks are sold out. See our list of area hotels, motels, and bed & breakfasts for accommodations.

StampSelector Scarce Stamp Quantities Issued List

SSSSQILThe StampSelector Scarce Stamp Quantities Issued List is now available online. Compiled by Alex of StampSelector, the website provides quantities issued for stamps issued in small numbers (fewer than 100,000). It aims to be comprehensive but is, as might be expected, a work in progress and Alex plans to update it periodically. You can browse the website by country or region, or you can search.

From the APS Archives: The 1908 convention in Columbus

APS Convention, Columbus, Ohio, 1908The American Philatelic Society’s StampShow will be in Columbus Aug. 11-14. One of the noncompetitive exhibits at the show will be on the history of the APS, which will celebrate its 125th anniversary in September.

Our APRL intern, Robbin Zirkle, spent the last few weeks selecting items from the APS Archives, describing them, and mounting them. One of the items she selected was a photo from an APS convention in Columbus – in 1908. That convention was important, as the society officially changed its name from the American Philatelic Association to the American Philatelic Society.

If you are attending the show, be sure to check out Robbin’s exhibit. She has also written a guide to the 19th century portion of the APS Archives which will be published in the 3rd quarter issue of the Philatelic Literature Review.