National Postal Museum opens Letters from World War I exhibit

On the eve of the centennial of U.S. involvement in World War I, the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum opened My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I. Jay Bigalke, editor of the Philatelic Literature Review and The American Philatelist, and I were at the museum for the reception.

Marshall F. Emery, Interim Director of the National Postal Museum.
Dr. Doug Dechaw, Digital Humanities Librarian for Chapman University.

Marshall F. Emery, Interim Director of the National Postal Museum, welcomed the crowd, which included museum staff, noted philatelists like John Hotchner, and members of the public. Curator Lynn Heidelbaugh spoke about the exhibit, and Dr. Doug Dechaw, Digital Humanities Librarian for Chapman University, talked about the university’s Center for American War Letters and its contributions to the exhibit.

Curator Lynn Heidelbaugh speaking about the exhibit to the local NBC television station.
Andrew Carroll, Director of the Center for American War Letters.

Andrew Carroll, Director of the Center for American War Letters and author of the new book My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans Who Helped Win the Great War, introduced a reading of letters featured in the book and the exhibit. The readings featured correspondence from soldiers and their families, a nurse, and General John J. Pershing, closing with his letter to “My Fellow Soldiers,” written in 1919.

Jefferson Street Strutters.

Following the reading, Lynn Heidelbaugh gave spotlight tours of the exhibit, and the Jefferson Street Strutters provided period music.

The exhibit is open through November 29, 2018. The National Postal Museum, together with the American Philatelic Research Library and American Philatelic Society, will host a postal history symposium with the theme WWI and its Immediate Aftermath November 1-2, 2018 at the museum in Washington, D.C. Proposals for papers are due June 15, 2017.

Library grand opening a success

Crowd at the APRL ribbon-cutting event.
Crowd at the APRL ribbon-cutting event.

On the morning of Saturday, October 29, hundreds of people poured into the American Philatelic Research Library for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the new library space.

APRL Administrator Scott English introduced APRL President Roger Brody, APS President Mick Zais, local officials, including Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson, Centre County Commissioners Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins, Bellefonte Borough Council Vice President Randy Brachbill, followed by USPS Director of Stamp Services Mary-Anne Penner and former APS Executive Director Bob Lamb. The APRL and APS presidents cut the strip of postal labels to officially open the library. Watch the ceremony on YouTube.

Ambassador Robert E. Lamb, former APS executive director.
Ambassador Robert E. Lamb, former APS executive director.

The festivities began the day before with a dinner held at the American Philatelic Center featuring an address by David Beech, former curator of the British Library’s philatelic collection. Watch David’s address on YouTube.

The weekend also featured a book fair, tours of the library and the American Philatelic Center, and ample opportunities to socialize, use the library’s state of the art research facilities, shop, and take in displays, including a 5-frame exhibit on loan from the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History.

Library Grand Opening cacheted envelope.
Library Grand Opening cacheted envelope.

The APS produced a cachet to commemorate the opening in a limited numbered printing of 100. Each cachet is autographed by the APRL president, administrator, and librarian, franked with a $2 Inverted Jenny stamp, and canceled with a Bellefonte pictorial cancel including the library’s logo. A limited number of these covers are available through the APS event souvenir shop.

Here are a couple of photographs from the event. Many more can be seen on the APS Facebook page by clicking on the photos tab.

The event was covered by the local and philatelic press:


Philatelic librarians from around the world gather in New York

About 25 people from 7 countries gathered at the Collectors Club in midtown Manhattan on the morning of Monday, May 30. The thing that brought them all together was philatelic libraries.

All were attending World Stamp Show-NY2016 and came to the Collectors Club’s 5-story brownstone for a meeting of the Philatelic Librarians Roundtable. The group included professional librarians, library staff, board members, and volunteers, and individuals with an interest in libraries.

The group was welcomed by Bruce Marsden and Roger Brody, both members of the Collectors Club and presidents, respectively, of the Collectors Club and the American Philatelic Research Library. The club had a special display for the meeting: the original letter book of Robert Morris, postmaster of New York.

I then welcomed the group on behalf of the Philatelic Librarians Roundtable, an informal group of staff, board members, volunteers, and the interested individuals, mostly from North America. The roundtable meets every other month virtually, in person at the American Philatelic Society’s StampShow, and keeps in touch between meetings using an email list. Anyone is welcome to join the email list and the meetings. To be added to the email list, visit or contact me. Most libraries participating in the roundtable are also members of the David Straight Memorial Philatelic Union Catalog hosted by the APRL, which in turn contributes its data to the Global Philatelic Library.

Frank Walton and Steve Jarvis then gave the group a live demo of the new digital Crawford Library, to be officially unveiled at World Stamp Show-NY2016 later in the day. The project, a joint venture of the Global Philatelic Library and the British Library, has digitized the entire Crawford Philatelic Library from the British Library’s microfilm (except for about 20% of the library which was not filmed). All of the digitized material that is out of copyright under British law is now publicly accessible.

Describing the aims of the project, Walton said, “Any philatelic literature is only as good as the people who read it.” The GPL is currently running optical character recognition on the files which will eventually make the collection fully searchable. The digital library, along with the Global Philatelic Library catalog including the holdings of 27 philatelic libraries around the world, can be accessed at

Following the presentation, the group had a lively discussion about cooperation and collaboration around the exchange of duplicates and digitization efforts.

After the meeting, some attendees toured the Collectors Club while others continued to mingle and exchange contact information.

Collectors Club welcomes Philatelic Librarians Roundtable to World Stamp Show-NY2016

CCNY-ExteriorThe Collectors Club is pleased to host a meeting of the Philatelic Librarians Roundtable in connection with World Stamp Show-NY2016. The meeting will be held at the Collectors Club at 22 East 35th St. in New York City at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day in the US). After the Roundtable meeting, all attendees will be welcome to participate in a “behind the scenes” tour of the Collectors Club library facilities.

The Philatelic Librarians Roundtable includes staff, volunteers, and board members from philatelic libraries. Anyone with an interest in philatelic libraries is welcome to attend the meeting.

The Collectors Club is located in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Midtown, walking distance from both Penn Station and Grand Central. The nearest subway station is the 33rd Street station on the 6 local line on the east side. After the meeting, the most direct way to return to the World Stamp Show will be to walk one block to 34th street to catch the M34 bus to the Javits Center.

Unfortunately, the Collectors Club is not wheelchair accessible. There are about four steps up from the sidewalk to the lobby and a further six steps to the main floor with an elevator to the upper floors.

1729 post map to be on display at StampShow

In April, the APRL received a Herman Moll map from 1729, one of the first to show postal routes in America, as a gift from Terence Hines, Roger Brody, and Robert Rose. The map shows New England and adjacent colonies. It is stored in the Al and Dottie Kugel Map Room in the completed portion of our new library space.

We will be bringing the map to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where it will be on display during APS StampShow, Aug. 20-23.

Post Map

Wineburgh Philatelic Research Library to host air mail lecture

Ken Lawrence will give a lecture on “FAM 22, 1941-1945: The World’s Longest and Most Important Air Mail Route” at the Wineburgh Philatelic Research Library at the University of Texas at Dallas.

The lecture is free and open to the public, and will be held on August 1, 2015 in the Clark Center Auditorium on the University of Texas at Dallas campus in Richardson, TX. Driving directions are available.

Spellman Museum to host Postal History Symposium

The Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History will host a postal history symposium with the theme, “The Challenging 20th Century: Men, Machines and Modernization.” It will take place on the campus of Regis College (Upper Union Student Hall) in Weston, Massachusetts, where the museum is located, on Thursday, April 30, 2015, starting at 9 a.m., a day before the opening of the Philatelic Show in nearby Boxboro.

Symposium presentations will include:

  • Rodney Juell, “The Men Who Made the Stamps of the 1920s”
  • Edward Grabowski, “Philately and International Mail Order Fraud”
  • George S. Norton, “Technology in the Envelope: Use of Microfilm and Voice Recordings in the Mail during World War II”
  • Roger S. Brody, “The Bureau Leaves the Field”

Admission to the symposium is free but the Museum asks that attendees register in advance. The symposium is co-sponsored by the United States Stamp Society with support from the American Philatelic Society.

Author Chris West to speak at Spellman Museum

book coverThe Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History invites the public to hear author Chris West talk about his new book, A History of America in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps, on Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. The free talk is co-sponsored by the Waltham Stamp Club.

Both A History of America in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps and West’s previous book, A History of Britain in Thirty-Six Stamps, are available for borrowing from the American Philatelic Research Library.