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.

Words from the West: Arizona Stories and Stamps

The Arizona Capitol Museum in collaboration with The Peggy Slusser Memorial Philatelic Library of the Postal History Foundation is having a grand opening of a new exhibit titled “Words from the West: Arizona Stories and Stamps” today at the State Capitol in Phoenix Arizona.  The exhibit will on display through the Spring of 2012 and will be a part of Arizona’s State Centennial celebration. Arizona achieved statehood on February 14, 1912.  A press release gives more details about the exhibit. The Slusser Library and the Postal History Foundation have been involved in the creation of several online digital collections related to Arizona postal history in conjunction with the Arizona Memory Project of the Arizona State Library, Archives, and Records Division.

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!

IPHLA 2012 Mainz

IPHLA 2012 Logo

The German Philatelic Federation will host an International Philatelic Literature Exhibition, IPHLA 2012, next year – November 2-4, 2012 at the Rathaus (Town Hall) in Mainz. Authors, publishers, literature dealers, and libraries are invited to participate as exhibitors, dealers, or sponsors. The Exhibition will mark the 150th anniversary of first German stamp album and the first philatelic catalogue, both published in Leipzig.

Literature on philatelic subjects and/or postal history topics, including the history of philately, and literature intended to promote philately will be accepted for the exhibition in three classes: print media (books, pamphlets, manuals, encyclopedias, monographs and bibliographies; static electronic media (CD-ROM, DVD, and other static storage media); and interactive electronic media/websites. Literature exhibits must be in a European language. Rules for exhibiting and applications for IPHLA 2012 are online and will be accepted until February 1, 2012.

In addition to the literature exhibits, there will be opportunities for meetings, study groups, and seminars. So far, a “Seminar for Authors” is being prepared by well-known international postal historians, jurors, and philatelic authors and the AIJP (Association Internationale des Journalistes Philateliques) has scheduled their 50th anniversary congress. One of the other highlights of IPHLA 2012 will be the palmares banquet; the program will be bi-lingual and include a mix of cultural entertainment and philatelic presentations with the theme, “Authors and Friends of Literature among Themselves.”

Johannes Gutenberg postcard

No trip to Mainz would be complete without visiting the Gutenberg Museum, which is providing support to the Exhibition. Johannes Gutenberg invented moveable type printing in Mainz around 1450 and the museum owns one of the 48 extent Gutenberg Bibles. Museum exhibits tell the story of Gutenberg’s invention along with the larger history of printing and typography.

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.

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.

Volunteer Week at APRL


Tara Murray explains the Piper Periodical Index to Library Volunteers


My wife Kathy and I were among the volunteers who assembled at the American Philatelic Center for Volunteer Week in Bellefonte, PA which took place July 25-29. Volunteers were able to select from a variety of helpful tasks identified by APS and APRL for their contribution of labor. The APRL, where Kathy and I volunteered, needed help with rearranging their book stack area, going through duplicate auction catalogs, and cataloging publications. Although we were only able to participate for three of the five days, we found it to be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. As one of the trustees of the APRL I found it to be a particularly valuable opportunity. On the receiving end volunteers were treated to an exceptional tour of the American Philatelic Center by APS Executive Director Ken Martin which included both current space and future space. We were able to meet many of the great staff members at both APS and APRL. Tara Murray, APRL Director of Information and Librarian, gave library volunteers a tour of the special collections and research tools of the library. In addition to other volunteer tasks, I had the opportunity to sit in with library staff on some of the discussions of plans for expanded space for APRL at the American Philatelic Center complex. I highly recommend Volunteer Week at the American Philatelic Center as an opportunity to give and to receive in behalf of philately.

Owney, the Railway Mail Service Mascot

RMSL Photograph of Owney













PHF Postmark

On July 27 the United States Postal Service will issue a postage stamp commemorating Owney, the dog that became the unofficial mascot of the Railway Mail Service in the late 19th century. A number of philatelic organizations are taking this opportunity to promote stamp collecting to a wider audience. The National Postal Museum is undertaking an especially aggressive effort in this regard. The American Philatelic Society has created an Owney Resouce Page on its website to promote this event. The Railway Mail Service Library (RMSL)in Boyce, VA owns a photograph of Owney taken in Pittsfield, MA after arriving from New York City on the Pittsfield & Bridgeport RPO. The RMSL has created a postcard using their photograph of Owney and are selling the postcards on eBay. The Postal History Foundation and its Slusser Library in Tucson are celebrating the release of the Owney stamp by having a children’s party and stamp unveiling on July 27th. The party will include activities for the kids and a storyteller recounting the tale of Owney. They are also selling a cachet and have produced a special postmark for the day.

Philatelic Librarians Roundtable to meet by teleconference and in person

APRL and RMPL librarians meet during the Rocky Mountain Stamp Show
APRL and RMPL librarians meet during the Rocky Mountain Stamp Show

The Philatelic Librarians Roundtable, a group of staff, volunteers, and board members from philatelic libraries and other library supporters, has held in person meetings at APS StampShow and AmeriStamp for several years. In order to hold more frequent discussions and include more people, this year we started holding meetings by teleconference in between shows. The APS has hosted these telephone meetings.

Our next telephone meeting is coming up on July 12 at 1pm Eastern. If you would like to join the meeting, contact me and I will provide details.

We will also meet during StampShow in Columbus, on August 12 at 11am.

Recent discussions have included the Philatelic Union Catalog, journal indexing, digitization projects, and the exchange of duplicate materials and literature wantlists.

How Commerce and Industry Shaped the Mails

Banking & Commerce, 1975
Banking & Commerce, 1975

The Sixth Annual Postal History Symposium (“How Commerce and Industry Shaped the Mails”) and United States Stamp Society Show will be held at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, September 16–18, 2011.

Read more about the event in this press release from the APRL.

The Symposium, co-sponsored by the APRL, the American Philatelic Society, and the National Postal Museum, is free and open to the public – but please register online (at the National Postal Museum website) and book your hotel room early since this weekend is also Parents Weekend for nearby Penn State.