Rare books return from freezer

The very wet title page of Swedish Letter Rates to Foreign Destinations 1855-1895 in March 2016.

In March 2016, a roof leak caused by construction activity damaged items in the APRL’s rare book room. Through quick action and assistance from Penn State University Libraries, we were able to minimize the damage. We sent five books to Penn State to be frozen and then dried, and these have now been returned to us.

All five were extremely wet in March. They have been safely dried, and Penn State’s book conservator gave each one special treatment.

The discoloration on this book is from mildew.

Copy number 8 of 50 of Carroll Chase’s The 3c Stamp of the United States 1851–1857 Issue, revised deluxe edition, published in 1942 by Tatham Stamp & Coin Company, was discovered to have been previously water damaged, probably before it came into the APRL collection, and had mildew. Mildew is very dangerous for libraries because it damages books, and can spread from one book to another. After drying the book, the conservator carefully separated the pages, and cleaned the mildew using an alcohol solution. The book’s covers are warped, and the pages are wrinkled and in a few places have not separated entirely cleanly, but it is intact, usable, and safe to return to the rare book room.

The cover of Hawaiian Numerals has been discolored and warped by water damage.

Two copies of Marshall Cushing’s The Story of Our Post-Office, published in 1893, were water damaged. Both have water stains and a few wrinkles, but the pages were successfully separated and flattened after drying.

Hawaiian Numerals, published by Henry J. Crocker in 1909, is in relatively good shape aside from a little discoloration, but the binding has been practically destroyed. Luckily, the APRL has a second copy with an intact binding.

Swedish Letter Rates to Foreign Destinations 1855–1895, published in a limited edition of 200 in Sweden in 1986, came through in the best shape of the five books. The first few pages show a little discoloration, but the interior pages show almost no trace of the water damage.

Swedish Letter Rates to Foreign Destinations 1855-1895 shows only very minor wrinkling in the pages after drying. Compare to the wet photo at the beginning of this post!







APRL receives large donation from Library and Archives Canada

On Friday, January 13, a truck from Canada arrived in Bellefonte with 114 boxes containing philatelic journals and auction catalogs for the APRL’s collection. Its journey from Ontario to Pennsylvania was just the last part of a happy story of international library cooperation.

In the summer of 2016, Helen Apouchtine of the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) contacted the APRL to inquire whether we would be interested in receiving materials that were being removed from their collections.

As she described it:

Over the years, LAC’s collection policy has evolved and we are now focused on acquiring  titles published in Canada, by Canadian authors if published abroad or if there is substantial Canadian content.

Attached is a list of over 900 major philatelic serials issued by numerous foreign publishers. Many are long runs, some beginning in the late 1800s or early 1900s.

She was referred to us by staff at the Harry Sutherland Library at the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation, one of our partners in the David Straight Memorial Philatelic Union Catalog. The list included issues of many diverse titles that will fill in some gaps in the APRL’s runs of foreign and domestic journals, such as Postas Argentinas (Buenos Aires),  L’Annonce timbrologique (Liege, Belgium, 1890-1909) and Avion Constellation (Paris, 1948-1949).

As they proceeded with packing the journal material needed by the APRL, LAC also offered a list of material from nearly 700 auction houses. From this list, APRL will be able to add some missing auctions, many from companies in the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth, such as Cavendish Philatelic Auctions, Cornish Stamp Company, and Treasure Hunters Ltd. (Hong Kong).




Penn State students help out on MLK Day

Volunteers unpack boxes

Three Penn State students, volunteering their time as part of Penn State’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, helped out at the American Philatelic Research Library today.

On Friday, we received three pallets of journals and auction catalogs de-accessioned by Library and Archives Canada. They were temporarily staged in the Morse Building at the American Philatelic Center, the former home of the APRL until the opening of the new library last year.

APRL Trustee Don Heller gave the students a hand
Thanks to our volunteers, hundreds of volumes are now ready for processing

The students helped by opening boxes, putting the journals and catalogs on carts, in order, and moving them upstairs to compact shelving in the new library, where they await processing to become part of the APRL’s collection.



APRL Resource of the Month: The U.S. Stamp Files

Beginning this month, the APRL will feature a “resource of the month” on this blog and in the APS e-newsletter. To get things started, I’ll share a unique collection for anyone researching U.S. issues, especially from the 20th century: the U.S. Stamp Files.

The U.S. Stamp files (shown above in their secure location in the library’s closed stacks) include files various sources, but primarily from three individuals: Forrest Ellis, John Stark, and Belmont Faries. They are organized by Scott number and collectively make the APRL a leading source of information on 20th-century U.S. stamps. Continue reading “APRL Resource of the Month: The U.S. Stamp Files”

Postmaster General annual reports available online

The APRL has received word of two digitization projects of interest to anyone researching the U.S. Post Office Department or U.S. Postal Service.

For those interested in more modern information, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum Library has digitized the annual reports of the Postmaster General for the years 1999, 1996, 1994, 1993, 1991, 1990, 1978, 1977, and 1971-1972. The reports can be accessed via the Smithsonian Libraries Digital Collections, and a link has also been added to the APRL’s catalog record for the annual reports.

Going further back in history, as part of the Crawford Library digitization project, the files for United States reports and correspondence of the Postmaster General have been split into smaller, more manageable files for web access.


New books at the APRL, December 2016

APRL acquisitions, November 16–December 15, 2016. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

This month’s additions to the library include a number of volumes on the postal history of Indiana counties. In all, there are 90 volumes covering all but 2 (Ripley and Vigo) of Indiana’s 92 counties. They were published by the Indiana Postal History Society, an APS affiliate. Each volume includes maps of the county and data for each town post office, such as dates of operation and postmaster appointments. The volumes were donated to the library by Art Hadley, and volunteers comb-bound them for the collection.

Becker, Hans-Werner. Catalogue of Philippine postal slogan cancels. Volume 1 (Cebu City, Philippines: Hans-Werner Becker, c2016). [G8061 .P857 B395 2016]

Bensing, Werner. Plattierung 70D + 74D ([n.l.]: [ArGe Schweiz], [n.d.]). [In process 000063183]

Bensing, Werner. Plattierung der 73D ([n.l.]: [ArGe Schweiz], [n.d.]). [In process 000063182] Continue reading “New books at the APRL, December 2016”

Nominations open for Crawford Medal

The Royal Philatelic Society London invites nominations for the Crawford Medal, awarded to the most valuable and original contribution to philately published in the form of a book.  Nominations are invited of books published in 2015 or 2016 and the award is open to both members and non-members of the Society.

To nominate a publication, submit brief details either by email to secretary@rpsl.org.uk or mail to 41 Devonshire Place, London W1G 6JY, UK, marking the envelope “Crawford Nomination”.  The deadline for nominations is February 1, 2017.  If the book is not in the Society’s library then the nominator may be requested to supply a copy for the committee to consider.


Support the library while you shop

Did you know that when you shop at Amazon, you can support the APRL at the same time?

Just do your shopping at AmazonSmile — same products, same service as Amazon — and designate the APRL as your beneficiary. Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to us — bookmark the link, get started today and support the library every time you shop.


Online maps from the Library of Congress

Railroad and post office map of Minnesota and Wisconsin, Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division

Smithsonian.com reports that the Library of Congress will be contributing three major map collections to the Digital Public Library of America.

Many of the maps to be included are already online at the LoC website, but the new partnership will make them accessible in the same place as other collections, for example from the Smithsonian Libraries and the Internet Archive.

Many kinds of maps are useful for postal history research, and postal maps can be found in libraries around the world. For example, a search of the LoC’s online maps for “postal” yielded 27 results, including, for example, an 1871 railroad and post office map of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Do you have a favorite source for maps? Leave a link in the comments!

New books at the APRL, November 2016

APRL acquisitions, October 16–November 15, 2016. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

book coverAmerican Philatelic Research Library. The APS story (State College, PA: American Philatelic Research Library, 1997). [HE6188 .A512a 1997]

American Philatelic Society. Manual of philatelic judging [electronic resource] ([Bellefonte, Pa.]: American Philatelic Society, [2009-2016]). [HE6215 .A513m 2016]

Arabian Philatelic Association [auction house] (Dhahran, Saudi Arabia: Arabian Philatelic Association, [1997]). [AUCTION Arabian Philatelic Association]

Aune, Finn. Posthorn-nøkkel: oversikt over Norske posthornmerker I 125 år, verdens lengstlevende frimerkemotiv (fortsatt i bruk) ([n.l.]: Skanfil AS, 2006). [In process 000063147] Continue reading “New books at the APRL, November 2016”