Spellman Museum celebrates 50 years, hosts symposium

Earlier this month, the Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History celebrated its 50th anniversary and hosted a symposium, “From Indian Trails to the Birth of a Nation.” The Spellman, located at Regis College in Massachusetts, also includes a library and participates in the Philatelic Librarians Roundtable.

APS Executive Director Ken Martin attended the symposium and shared some photos – check them out on our Flickr page!

Spellman library

San Diego County Philatelic Library visit

This guest post was written by Scott Tiffney, APRL Reference Assistant.

San Diego Philatelic LibraryWhile I was attending SANDICAL on behalf of the APS back in February, Bill O’Connor afforded me the opportunity of visiting the San Diego County Philatelic Library at its new location in Poway, CA. The SDCPL had its genesis in 1923 but its actual appearance came in the late 1970’s through the revenues of the annual SANDICAL show and under the leadership of the newly formed San Diego Philatelic Council. The SDCPL has grown over the years to include an extensive collection of over 7,000 books, catalogs, monographs, journals, and other ancillary items. Staffed part-time six days a week by volunteers from area stamp clubs with Don Hager as the current Librarian, the SDCPL is believed to be the only philatelic library open to the general public and members in Southern California. While Don and the other volunteers are still in the process of acclimating the collection to its new location, the library’s catalog can currently be accessed via a .pdf file on its website: SDCPL Catalog.

San Diego Philatelic LIbraryOne very unique and inspiring aspect of SDCPL’s history occurred fairly recently and was articulated by Bill O’Connor at the annual SANDICAL awards banquet in February. It concerns a new SANDICAL award, the Ralph M. Armington Memorial Award. Ralph M. Armington was a long time volunteer with the SDPCL. He was a retired Navy Chief and lived in San Diego in his retirement. Ralph was never married, and had no close family members. Over the years he volunteered tirelessly at the last three locations of the SDCPL. He did not drive, but was able to manage a very difficult bus schedule, often taking up to two hours to make his weekly shifts at the library. Upon his untimely death a short time ago, very little was known of his personal life outside of his volunteering at the SDCPL. Ralph died alone but left the largest portion of his estate to the SDCPL and a smaller portion to a San Diego area Children’s Hospital. His generous donation will enable the SDCPL to continue its mission of providing not only a place where the general public and members can meet and conduct research, but his gift will also enhance the stamp collecting hobby in Southern California for years to come.

Wineburgh Philatelic Research Library

Paul Oelkrug
Paul Oelkrug in the Wineburgh Philatelic Research Library

While I was in Dallas for the Special Libraries Association Leadership Summit at the beginning of this month, I had the opportunity to visit the Wineburgh Philatelic Research Library, located in the Special Collections Department at the University of Texas at Dallas’ Eugene McDermott Library.

The WPRL was founded in 1976 by Harold Wineburgh and today is an active collection supported by an endowment. In addition to books and journals, the collection also includes the records of the Texas Philatelic Association. (The finding aid for this collection is available online.) The North Texas Chapter of the American First Day Cover Society meets at the WPRL.

Paul Oelkrug, Coordinator for Special Collections, gave me a tour of the WPRL and the rest of the Special Collections. Besides philately, a major strength of the collections is the history of aviation, a nice complement. Some items from the aviation collections are available in digital format on the Treasures @ UT Dallas repository.

You can search the WPRL holdings in the UT Dallas library catalog, and they are also included in WorldCat. The library is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the second Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Click below to view a slideshow of my photos from the visit:

Tiffany manuscript digitized

Tiffany manuscript

John Kerr Tiffany is a name well-known to collectors of philatelic literature. Tiffany amassed an incomparable library, acquired after his death in 1897 by the Earl of Crawford and now located in the British Library.

In 1874, Tiffany published a list of all known philatelic publications, The Philatelical Library: A Catalogue of Stamp Publications. Prior to that, he had compiled A reference list of publications relating to postage stamps and their collection for the Boston Public Library in 1871. Present-day philatelic bibliographer Brian Birch alerted us to the existence of this manuscript, but the only copy I could find was housed in the Boston Public Library‘s Rare Books and Manuscripts collection.

I inquired about the manuscript, and the Boston Public Library recently digitized the manuscript and made it available on the Internet Archive. It can be downloaded in PDF or e-reader formats, or read online.

Many thanks to the Boston Public Library for making this piece of philatelic history available to the public!

A visit to the Harry Sutherland Philatelic Library in Toronto

This post was written by Neil Coker, APRL Reference Assistant.

Charles Verge
Charles Verge in the Harry Sutherland Philatelic Library

While on a road-trip around Lake Ontario, I had the opportunity to pay a visit to the Harry Sutherland Philatelic Library, one of the partner libraries in the Philatelic Union Catalog hosted by the APRL. One of the directors, Charles Verge, gave me a tour of the library and of the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Foundation, which share offices. The library is just north of downtown Toronto in a small office building. Their main focus is on Canada and BNA literature, for which they have a large selection with its own cataloging system!

Due to good communication between our libraries, and various stages of “spring cleaning” at both locations, we were able to supply each other with materials that were duplicates for one library but needed at the other. This included books, auction catalogs, back issues of journals and philatelic exhibition programs. I was able to “smuggle” several boxes across the border, and brought even more back home. So be sure whenever you donate material that we already own, we try our best to find a good home for it!

A visit to the Collectors Club of Chicago library

Collectors Club of Chicago Cabeen HouseWhile I was in Chicago for a library conference earlier this month, I visited the Collectors Club of Chicago’s Cabeen House and was treated to a tour of the library by CCC librarian Ed Waterous.

The Cabeen House is a beautiful old brownstone, and the library collection is housed in every available space from the fourth floor to the basement. Ed and other volunteers stay busy cataloging material and maintaining order on the shelves.

We recently loaded 2,615 book records from the CCC library into the Philatelic Union Catalog, so you can search their holdings along with the rest of the union catalog member libraries.

To see more photos from my visit to the Cabeen House, check out our Flickr page.

A visit to the Northwest Philatelic Library

Northwest Philatelic LibraryWhile I was in Portland to represent the APS at PIPEX in May, I visited the Northwest Philatelic Library and met with its new president, Orlie Trier.

The library is in the basement of the Oregon Stamp Society clubhouse. I was there during library open hours just prior to a meeting, and the library was bustling. In between helping library users, Orlie showed me the library’s call number system. It is a homegrown system, but remarkably similar to the modified Library of Congress call number system used by the APRL. Most items are shelved by geographic area, with the rest shelved by subject. In the photo, Orlie and I are standing in front of the library’s strong air mail collection. The NPL’s catalog of books and journals can be searched online.


Postal History Foundation Completes Another Digital Project


Postcard showing Carnegie Library Tucson

The Postal History Foundation and its Slusser Library in Tucson, AZ have recently completed a project to digitize a collection of Territorial and early Statehood period Arizona postcards. Both the fronts and backs of the cards were scanned so that postmarks, addresses and messages can be viewed and searched. This online collection is part of the Arizona Memory Project which is a statewide initiative to make Arizona’s archives available to the public. This is the fourth digital collection the Postal History Foundation and the Slusser Library have added to the Arizona Memory Project. In addition they have collaborated with other organization in three other projects. There are links to all of the projects on the Postal History Foundation’s contributor page for the Arizona Memory Project.