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.

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.

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.

Postal History Discovery in the Archives

Registry Receipt
1904, Post Office Record of a Registered Letter from Aaronsburg, Pennsylvania to St. Louis

 

Coincidently with Larry’s posting about October being Archives month I stopped in Bellefonte, on my way home from attending the Postal History Symposium, to examine an archival collection at the American Philatelic Research Library. It consists of ledgers and official papers from the Aaronsburg, Pennsylvania Post Office spanning the 1890s until the early 1940s. As this gift had not yet been fully processed, I offered to inventory the materials and help prepare a finding aid in exchange for being able to peruse the two boxes.  

Not only do I expect to use some of these materials with a Summer Seminar class that I will be offering on U.S. Post Office forms. But, I also found an opportunity for more research on the role of Registered Mail in rural America. While a single form may shed light on the handling of a particular piece of mail, a Post Office ledger or collection of forms can reveal much about the operation of an individual post office and perhaps provide a window into postal operations more generally. Several years ago, I made an in-depth examination of a Registry Book from the Post Office in Stony Hill, Missouri that allowed me to draw conclusions about commerce in rural American two decades before RFD and three before Parcel Post. Since publishing that article, I have sought other Registry Books to test whether my conclusions are valid for other locations, economic conditions, and time periods. My cursory examination of the single Registry Book in this collection suggests that Registered Mail served a different function in Aaronsburg in the first decade of the 20th century than it did in Stony Hill in the 1880s.  

There are no doubt other undiscovered archival gems at the APRL. We expect to begin posting finding aids online next year; volunteers interested in helping should contact Tara. In the mean time, you are welcome to discuss your research projects with the library staff to learn what resources might available to support your projects.