New Resources at the APRL, July 2018

APRL new acquisitions for July 2018. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

Adachi, Sunao. Japanese perfins ([Delta, B.C., Canada]: [n.p.], [1972]). [IP69848]

Adachi, Tadashi. Indispensable possession pierced stamps (Tokyo: [n.p.], Showa 25 [1950]). [IP69846; IP69845]

American Philatelic Society. Getting the most out of APS Summer Seminar: includes a First Day of Issue Ceremony, June 27 at the Philatelic Center (Bellefonte, PA: American Philatelic Society, 2018). [APS Archives 2018]

Continue reading “New Resources at the APRL, July 2018”

Resource of the Month – First Day Ceremony Programs

1999 Ayn Rand FDI Program

Often when we conduct postal history research we find a resource within a resource that we didn’t expect to find at first glance. Such is the case with our U.S. Stamp files. Housed in the second floor Archives area of the American Philatelic Research Library (APRL), the U.S. Stamps files archive is a collection of file folders each of which may include articles, press releases, stamp announcements, photos, serviced covers, photo essays, news clippings and other research items. The folders are arranged and labeled by U.S. Scott number and are an invaluable resource for researchers and library staff for either beginning or supplementing research regarding a particular U.S. stamp issue.

Continue reading “Resource of the Month – First Day Ceremony Programs”

A “feast” for literature enthusiasts, presented by the auction house of Heinrich Köhler, Wiesbaden (March 21-25, 2017)

This article on Heinrich Köhler’s upcoming literature sale was submitted by Wolfgang Maassen.

IPHLA 2012 – an unforgettable literature auction at Mainz Town Hall. Photo: Wilhelm van Loo

The Wiesbaden auction house of Heinrich Köhler has had a good reputation among philatelic literature enthusiasts, at least since the now legendary special philatelic literature auction which was held on November 2, 2012 during the international IPHLA exhibition at the Town Hall in Mainz. That auction which offered a wealth of important material, with some 1,000 lots of literary works, periodicals, and auction catalogs, such as are only encountered on rare occasions. Accordingly, there was a worldwide response, a well-filled auction room, and quite a number of exceptional results.

The catalog for Köhler’s literature sale.

Philatelic literature is still—and certainly will be in future—much valued by connoisseurs and experts. This is due to its rarity compared with most postage stamps, and because of the content that one can use for one’s own research. Many books and magazines from the 19th century are great rarities; many only exist in the form of a few copies or individual examples. Other printed items from this period may be found more frequently, but hardly in fine condition. Or they are notable for their elaborate bibliophile-type covers, which would have been costly for earlier owners. It would also nowadays be far easier to purchase one hundred beautiful “Saxony Threes” within a few years than a well maintained and well preserved library of the same number of publications from the 19th century. Continue reading “A “feast” for literature enthusiasts, presented by the auction house of Heinrich Köhler, Wiesbaden (March 21-25, 2017)”

Free resources for Preservation Week

To celebrate Preservation Week, a week dedicated to working together to preserve personal and shared collections, here are a few resources to help you preserve your collections:

Help the Smithsonian transcribe a Tiffany manuscript

Philatelic IndexThe Smithsonian Libraries have digitized John K. Tiffany’s Philatelic Index manuscript and it is now available for crowd sourcing transcription. Anyone can participate in the transcription and bring the manuscript one step closer to being fully searchable.

Smithsonian National Postal Museum librarian Baasil Wilder has provided instructions to get you started, and transcribed one sentence himself to try it out.

You can go straight to the website and begin on your own. Everything is done on the computer.

First, create an account.

Then, read the tutorial.

You are now ready to begin transcribing the Tiffany manuscript online, and you can save your work and finish it later.

Once a volunteer decides they’ve “finished” and they’re ready for review, a different volunteer (who must also have an account on the site) can review the transcription and either send it back for edits, or complete the transcription.

The finished transcript is sent to the Smithsonian, where it may be used immediately, or undergo additional work.

Read more about the manuscript and the transcription project on the Smithsonian Libraries blog.

APRL librarian at PIPEX

How to ResearchI will be in Portland, Oregon next week for PIPEX and the WE Festival.

I’ll be staffing an APS booth at the show, so if you are going, stop by and say hello! I’ll have copies of the latest issue of the Philatelic Literature Review, plans for the new library, digital books for sale, and all the usual APS goodies.

As part of the WE Festival, I’ll give a presentation on “How to Research” at 1pm on Friday. It’s open to the public.

Do you recognize these albums?

Can you help the APRL identify this album?

The American Philatelic Research Library is more than just books. We collect many things, including journals, newsletters, microfilm, photographs, research files, and even philatelic music and plates. We do not, as a general rule, collect stamps.

We do, however, have a small collection of stamp albums, some of which contain stamps. We keep the albums for historical purposes, as a record of the development of the hobby. Like most of our special collections, these albums don’t circulate, but they are available for use in the library and staff can scan or copy pages from them.

The albums are arranged geographically and then by publisher. Most are easily identifiable, but a few do not have the name of the company that produced them anywhere on the album. Rather than just file them all under “unknown,” I thought I’d ask readers of the PL&R blog if you recognize any of these albums.

We’ve scanned the covers and representative pages from each and uploaded them to the photo-sharing site Flickr, where you can view all the images. If you recognize one, please let us know by leaving a comment on Flickr.


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.