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.

Welcome to Philatelic Literature & Research

Tara MurrayWelcome to Philatelic Literature & Research, the blog of the American Philatelic Research Library. This blog supplements the library’s quarterly journal, the Philatelic Literature Review, bringing you the latest news about philatelic literature and research, as well as brief items of interest from the APRL.

I am the librarian at the American Philatelic Research Library, and I will keep you updated on the very latest happenings here at the library and offer tips for using our resources.

I’ve only been working at the APRL since July, so I am busy learning about philately and exploring the wonderful collection here in Bellefonte, PA. Follow along with me as I get to know the literature and uncover hidden treasures in our collection.

If you have questions or comments, you can post them here on the blog, or see the APRL website for contact information.

My co-bloggers, Larry Nix and David Straight, will introduce themselves soon.