Philatelic Collections in Libraries

Don Schilling did a recent post on his blog The Stamp Collecting Round-Up about the philatelic collections in the John Hay Library at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. His post was based on an article in The Herald News. That got me to thinking about other collections of philatelic objects other than books in libraries.  The most extensive philatelic collections in a library are those at the British Library. The website for the Philatelic Collections department of the British Library has extensive information about its collections. In additions to collections of postage stamps and other philatelic items, the British Library has one of the world’s largest philatelic literature collections. The New York Public Library is home to the Benjamin K. Miller Collection which has been written about in the book Rarity Revealed: The Benjamin K. Miller Collection by Scott R. Trepel with Ken Lawrence. That collection is considered to be one of the most outstanding collections of U.S. stamps in the world.  The Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame University include several philatelic collections in its Rare Books & Special Collections Department. One of those collection is “The Wolf Collection of Irish Postage Stamps” for which there is an online exhibit. The Navy Department Library has a collection of philatelic items related to the Navy and maintains information about this philatelic specialty on its website. I’m sure that there are other libraries that have significant non-book philatelic collections. If you are aware of any, make a comment below.

First Library of the APS

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

The American Philatelic Association (APA), now the American Philatelic Society (APS), was founded in 1886.  The APS is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year and a brief history of APS is located on its website.  In the beginning the “Library Department” for the APA was housed in the home of the APA member who was designated as the librarian. The first librarian, E. D. Kline of Toledo, Ohio, posted a notice in the first issue of The American Philatelist soliciting donations to the library. In 1895 the City of Pittsburgh, PA opened a magnificent new library courtesy of Andrew Carnegie which was named appropriately the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.  In 1897 the APA board voted to place the Association’s library in the new library building in Pittsburgh where it was administered by the Pittsburgh library. A good idea in the beginning gradually diminished in effectiveness and in 1928 the board of APS voted to relinquish any claim to the philatelic library in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.  It would be another forty years before APS would have a library of its own.  In 1901 the publication Books on Philately in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh was published.   It is my understanding that much of this early philatelic library collection still exists at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

A Valentine from the APRL

Valentine
Postal-themed valentine

The APRL recently received a donated box of greeting cards from the first half of the 20th century. Most of them are Christmas cards, but among them are several valentines.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share a few images of these cards with you. Click on the small images in this post to see larger images.

The first image is a valentine with a postal theme – natural, given that many Valentines were mailed to the recipients. This one is printed on folded card stock with a heart-shaped cutout.

The second image is a card made by Hall Brothers, which later became Hallmark. It features a fish on the cover and opens to reveal another fish with a three-dimensional mouth.

Valentine
Hall Brothers valentine

Because most of these cards have been removed from their envelopes, it’s difficult to guess the year they were made. However, given the name “Hall Brothers” printed on the back of this card, we can deduce that it was produced between 1915, when the company began producing greeting cards for Christmas and Valentine’s Day, and 1928, when the company began using the name “Hallmark” on the back of its cards (Hallmark Cards, Inc., 100 Years of Hallmark History).

The last image is a card for a mother adorned with a real red ribbon and opening to reveal a short poem. The back of the card reads “DA 308 Made in U.S.A.”

Valentine
A valentine for a mother

If you are interested in reading more about the history of valentines, the APRL has two books available for loan:

Lee, Ruth Webb. A history of valentines. Wellesley Hills, MA: Lee Publications, 1952. HE6184 .V159 L479h

Staff, Frank. The valentine & its origins. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1969. HE6184 .V159 S779v 1969b

Of course, February 14 always brings to mind love stamps, and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum posted a gallery of love stamps on its Facebook page today.

The APRL would like to send some Valentine’s Day love out to everyone who donates special collections like these cards to us, and to Scott Tiffney, a new volunteer who took a break from a book cataloging project to sort through the box of cards and organize them by subject. Most of the cards are from the U.S. and Japan, but other countries are also represented, and some are still in their envelopes.

Meet APRL's Betsy Gamble

Betsy GambleThis month’s American Philatelic Society staff profile features Betsy Gamble, the APRL’s Technical Services Coordinator. Betsy processes all of our journals, auction catalogs, and price lists, and catalogs new items for the collection. She also oversees loading records from member libraries into the philatelic Union Catalogue hosted by APRL.

Rare books and Japanese stamps

Postage Stamps of Japan
Woodward's Postage Stamps of Japan and Dependencies, 1928 two-volume edition

One of philately’s rarest books is currently on display at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, DC.

A.M. Tracey Woodward’s Postage Stamps of Japan and Dependencies was published in 1928. Only 100 signed and numbered copies were produced. The Smithsonian’s copy is on display alongside original pages from Woodward’s collection of the 1 sen issue of 1872.

The APRL also has a copy of Woodward’s book in its rare books collection. We don’t loan rare books such as this one, but luckily for researchers the book was reprinted in 1976. We have three copies of the reprint available for loan.

Plates of the Samps of Japan
Woodward's Plates of the Stamps of Japan and Dependencies, 1976 reprint edition

The plates illustrated in Woodward’s book came from the collection of F.J. Peplow. These plates were first reproduced and published in Plates of the Stamps of Japan 1871-6. This book was produced in an even more limited private edition of 25 copies. The APRL is currently working with Penn State’s University Libraries to digitize this book with high-resolution scans of the plates. I’ll update PLR readers as soon as we have more details about this book.

Philatelic Librarians Roundtable agenda

AmeriStampThe Philatelic Librarians Roundtable will meet during AmeriStamp this Friday, February 11 from noon-2pm.  The meeting is open to anyone with an interest in philatelic libraries.

Agenda

Union Catalogue update
Learn about the newest additions to the Union Catalogue hosted by the APRL, and learn about upcoming changes.

Journal indexing

Duplicates and want lists
Google Groups, the host of the Philatelic Library Forum, has changed the way groups share documents. Learn what this means for libraries sharing duplicates and want lists.

Philatelic Literature & Research blog
The APRL’s blog is the place to go on the web for the latest news about philatelic libraries and literature. Learn how you can contribute.

Digitization projects
Share projects you are working on or would like to work on.

Railway Mail Service Library

What could be more fitting than a former railroad station serving as the home of the Railway Mail Service Library (RMSL). The RMSL is located in the historic Boyce, Virginia railroad station. According to the mission statement on its website the RMSL “is an archival collection of primary and secondary sources pertaining to en route distribution history. It also features many obsolete postal artifacts associated with this activity. These items are used to assist researchers interested in route agent, seapost, railway, and highway post office (RPO and HPO) operations, known as the Railway Mail Service/Postal Transportation Service (RMS/PTS).” The RMSL has every major book published about RMS/PTS. The library includes six types of original-source documentation in its collection: 1) photographs of HPO and RPO vehicles; 2) The Railway Post Office and Postal Transport Journal issues between 1905 and 1959; 3) oral recollections of former clerks on audio and video tapes, as well as movies about the RMS/PTS; 4) general orders describing weekly changes within several divisions; 5) general and standpoint schemes of mail distribution; and 6) schedules of mail trains/routes. These schemes and schedules are helpful in understanding how the network of mail transportation and distribution activities operated, as well as when routes began, ended, or underwent significant changes. The RMSL and its predecessors date back to the early 1950s, but it was incorporated in its current format in 2003. Frank R. Scheer is the Curator and driving force behind the RMSL. Scheer routinely makes presentations at meetings and events related to railway mail service around the country. Scheer can be contacted at  f_scheer@yahoo.com . The railway station housing the RMSL appeared on a special postmark (shown above) for the centennial of the Town of Boyce in October 2010.

Penn State students volunteer at APRL

Volunteers sort albums in the Library
The afternoon group of volunteers seemed to enjoy looking through the albums as they worked.

A group of Penn State students came out to Bellefonte on Monday to volunteer as part of a day of service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Some of them spent their time in the APRL sorting our collection of stamp albums.

A larger group spent their time in the APS Education Department, and more pictures from the day are available on the APS Facebook page. Thanks to APS Director of Education Gretchen Moody for coordinating the day of service!

The APRL collects examples of albums (and stock books), showing how they have changed through the years. The collection includes many examples of Scott, Harris, and Minkus albums, as well as albums produced by postal administrations, topical albums, and albums for children. Many visitors like to see an example of their first album, but the collection can also be used to study the habits of collectors and the businesses associated with the hobby. Continue reading “Penn State students volunteer at APRL”

Philatelic library group to meet at AmeriStamp

United States Court HouseAnyone with an interest in philatelic libraries (including librarians, staff, volunteers, board members, and others) is invited to the Philatelic Librarians Roundtable at APS AmeriStamp Expo in Charleston, SC on Feb. 11.

The Roundtable is scheduled for noon-2 p.m. The agenda will include discussion of digitization projects, duplicate materials exchange, and the Philatelic Union Catalogue hosted by the APRL. If you have additional items you would like to discuss, please contact me.

In addition to periodic roundtable meetings, those interested in philatelic libraries can also communicate with each other using the Philatelic Library Forum, hosted on Google Groups. The Forum provides an email discussion list and a place to share duplicate and want lists.

New books at the APRL, January 2011

Arge Danzig e.V Rundschreiben (Wiesbaden; Berlin: Arge Danzig e.V, [1936?]-): ill.; 30 cm. [Journal]

ArGe Fiskal Philatelie im BDPh. Deutsche Stempeltarife aus einem Tagesnotizbuch des Jahres 1916: Jaresgabe 2000 (Solingen [Germany]: ArGe Fiskal Philatelie im BDPh, 2000): 21 cm. [Shelved with the journal Fiskal-Philatelist]

Cover StoryBasaran, Mehmet. Cover story: one man’s journey in to the unknown, part 2: Tughra stamps on cover 1863-1865 (Turkey: M.I. Basaran, c2010): 208 p.: col. ill.; 29 cm. [Call No. G7431 .S4 B297c 2010]

Bertazzoli, Enrico, Beppe Ermentini, & Gianluigi Roncetti. Perfin italiani: catalogo delle perforazioni commerciali de francobolli dell’area italiano, con valuazioni = Italian perfins: catalogue of trade perforations on stamps of the Italian area, with evaluations (Vignola (Mo), Italy: Vaccari, 2009): 299 p.: ill.; 25 cm. + 32 transparencies + 1 computer optical disk [Call No. G6711 .P438 B536c 2009]

Branz, Hermann. Deutsche Post in Marokko: Tarifanderungen im Uberweisungsverkehr (Berlin: Berliner Philatelisten-Klub, 1968): 15 p.: ill.; 21 cm.

Bundesmuseum. Europa-Marken 79: Geschichte des Post- und Fernmeldewesens: Sounderausstellung des Bundespostmuseums, Schaumainkai 53, 6000 Frankfurt 70, Geoffnet, Dienstag bis Sontag 10-16 Uhr: 3. Juni bis 7. September 1980 (Frankfurt [Germany]: Bundesmuseum, 1980): 32 p.: ill. (some col.); 21 cm.

Continue reading “New books at the APRL, January 2011”