Return your books using Delivery Confirmation

Delivery confirmationWhen you borrow books from the APRL by mail, you can now return them using Delivery Confirmation instead of the more expensive Signature Confirmation.

We will still ship your books to you using Signature Confirmation, but will now enclose a green Delivery Confirmation form for your return. We will still be able to track return shipments, and can be sure they are delivered back to the library since all packages are received in the APS mailroom.

If your package contains only library books being returned to the APRL, you can use Library Mail or Media Mail.

Embroidered Christmas postcards

Christmas GreetingsImagine spending an entire day’s wages on a postcard. During WWI, some soldiers did just that.

The Canadian War Museum has a collection of embroidered postcards sent by soldiers during WWI. In a new article, the museum’s Research Centre highlights a few Christmas postcards from its collection.

If you are interested in studying postcards, the following book would be a good starting point. It includes library and archives collections as well as a bibliography of books about postcards:

  • Postcards in the library : invaluable visual resources / Stevens, Norman D. — New York ; London: Haworth Press, c1995. (Book) HE6184 .P839 P857 1995

The APRL has many more books and catalogs to assist the postcard collector.  Go to our Online Catalogue and search for “post cards” in the Subject field and “book” to the Record Type field. You can also add a keyword (for example, a country or topic) to the Any Word field to narrow your search.

Welcome Neil Coker to the APRL

Neil CokerNeil Coker joined the staff of the APRL today as our new Reference Assistant.

Prior to coming to Bellefonte, Neil lived in St. Louis and worked for Regency-Superior as an auction manager and lot describer. In addition to his philatelic knowledge, Neil has a degree in geography and Soviet studies, and experience maintaining a reference library.

Neil will provide reference assistance, copies or scans of articles, and book loans.

The APRL gives thanks

APRL donation
In 2006, the APRL received a large donation from Apfelbaum.

Yesterday I talked to a group of Girl Scouts about library collections. One of the things they wanted to know was how libraries get their books and how librarians decide which books to add to the collection.

Some libraries buy books, I told them, but here at the APRL we rely primarily on donations to grow our collection. Almost every day, boxes of books, journals, manuscripts, and research files arrive at the APRL.  Library staff open these gifts, and add those that are appropriate for our collection to the catalog so that members can use them. Each issue of the Philatelic Literature Review includes a list of new arrivals, as well as a list of the generous individuals and companies who donated material to the Library.

We can’t add every item we receive to the collection. Some are duplicates and some are simply out of the scope of our collection. We offer these items for sale, with the proceeds benefiting the Library. Each issue of the PLR also includes a “Literature Clearinghouse” section where the APRL lists new items for sale. (Members also use this section to list literature for sale and literature wanted to buy.)

We also receive monetary donations to purchase books, microfilm, equipment, and furniture.

So, on the day before Thanksgiving here in the U.S., the APRL says “Thank you” to all of our generous benefactors.

If you are interested in donating materials or money to the APRL, please contact us to discuss your donation.

The American Philatelic Research Library is a public library under Pennsylvania law and an authorized tax-exempt, nonprofit institution under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Any donations may be tax deductible under prevailing IRS code specifications.

Rabbis on Stamps

The Jewish World in StampsRecently, a library patron sent me a link to Rabbis on Stamps, a collection of images from the Leiman Library, a private collection of Judaica. This is a great resource for topical collectors from a non-philatelic source.

The Leiman Library’s home page gives an introduction to the Rabbis on Stamps collection.

Library patrons who search the APRL Online Catalog for “Judaica” will now find this online resource listed, in addition to books and journal articles.

The APRL has several books mentioned in the Rabbis on Stamps introduction: Continue reading “Rabbis on Stamps”

From the APRL archives: Clipping files

A researcher scans items from the APRL clipping files
David Eeles scans items from the APRL clipping files

As promised, for American Archives Month, here is a peek inside the APRL archives.

The APRL has a vast collection of clipping files, assembled from donations of material from philatelists.

The collection got its start in the late 1980’s with a donation of some 120 file drawers from the estate of Ernest A. Kehr.

Kehr’s clippings cover the world, but the folders related to his collecting interests (air mail, Switzerland, the Philippines, and Egypt) contain the most material.

Continue reading “From the APRL archives: Clipping files”

APC construction update

APC construction
Plastic sheeting surrounds the construction area in the APRL annex

You may have heard about the construction underway at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, or even seen photos of the construction on the APS website.

Some of the activity is in a building currently used for the APRL annex, which houses our archives, excess material, and infrequently used items. A portion of the space in this building will be used for the stairwell and restrooms for the Match Factory’s newest tenant, Graymont.

All of the library’s collections are safe during construction. Library staff moved items away from the construction area, and the contractor has installed plastic sheeting, as you can see in the photo. We will continue to have access to the library annex during and after construction.

The other piece of the construction project is install new roofs on two buildings that will eventually be the library’s home.

The Stamp Collecting Round-Up

Stamp Collecting Round-UpReaders of Philatelic Literature & Research may also be interested in another philatelic blog, Don Schilling’s Stamp Collecting Round-Up. Don is an APS member and blogs about “interesting news, resources and links about stamps, stamp collecting and postal operations.”

In a recent post, he highlights one of our fellow philatelic libraries, the Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library.

Like the Postal History Foundation’s library, described in Larry’s post on this blog, the RMPL’s holdings are included in the Philatelic Union Catalog hosted by the APRL. At the bottom of the search screen, a drop-down box allows you to search each collection individually, or all collections simultaneously.

What's an archives?

Washington National Records Center Stack Area with Employee Servicing RecordsAs Larry mentioned in an earlier post, October is American Archives Month.

If you’re not familiar with archives, you might wonder what they are, exactly. The Smithsonian Institution Archives is celebrating American Archives Month with a series of blog posts on archives, and one from the Visual Archives blog, The Bigger Picture, offers an explanation of archives.

Read the explanation and find out why my post title is not as grammatically incorrect as it might seem!

Stay tuned for another post with a glimpse into the archives at the American Philatelic Research Library…

My first stamp

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium at the National Postal Museum in Washington, DC.

If you’ve read my introduction in the most recent issue (3rd quarter 2010) of the Philatelic Literature Review, you know I’m not a stamp collector — but thanks to the symposium, I have my first stamp.

Walt Whitman stampSteven Rod started off his presentation (“The Case of Thirty-five Esthetic and Political Messages: the Famous Americans of 1940”) by handing everyone in the audience a card with a Famous American stamp mounted on it. He paired us up, and had us talk about our stamp with a partner.

I was neither a stamp collector nor a historian, and my partner was from Denmark, but we nevertheless had an engaging conversation about the stamps’ designs.

Steven then began his talk about the stamps, shedding light on the issues we had discussed.

I was not the only non-collector in the room — the symposium drew a mixed crowd of philatelists, historians, museum professionals, and at least one librarian. Steven’s introduction got us all talking to each other.

At the end of his talk, Steven invited us to keep the stamps, which were duplicates from his collection: “For those of you who are not collectors, this can be your first stamp.”

Steven’s slides can be downloaded in PDF format from the symposium website.