Return your books using Delivery Confirmation

Delivery confirmationWhen you borrow books from the APRL by mail, you can now return them using Delivery Confirmation instead of the more expensive Signature Confirmation.

We will still ship your books to you using Signature Confirmation, but will now enclose a green Delivery Confirmation form for your return. We will still be able to track return shipments, and can be sure they are delivered back to the library since all packages are received in the APS mailroom.

If your package contains only library books being returned to the APRL, you can use Library Mail or Media Mail.

Embroidered Christmas postcards

Christmas GreetingsImagine spending an entire day’s wages on a postcard. During WWI, some soldiers did just that.

The Canadian War Museum has a collection of embroidered postcards sent by soldiers during WWI. In a new article, the museum’s Research Centre highlights a few Christmas postcards from its collection.

If you are interested in studying postcards, the following book would be a good starting point. It includes library and archives collections as well as a bibliography of books about postcards:

  • Postcards in the library : invaluable visual resources / Stevens, Norman D. — New York ; London: Haworth Press, c1995. (Book) HE6184 .P839 P857 1995

The APRL has many more books and catalogs to assist the postcard collector.  Go to our Online Catalogue and search for “post cards” in the Subject field and “book” to the Record Type field. You can also add a keyword (for example, a country or topic) to the Any Word field to narrow your search.

Welcome Neil Coker to the APRL

Neil CokerNeil Coker joined the staff of the APRL today as our new Reference Assistant.

Prior to coming to Bellefonte, Neil lived in St. Louis and worked for Regency-Superior as an auction manager and lot describer. In addition to his philatelic knowledge, Neil has a degree in geography and Soviet studies, and experience maintaining a reference library.

Neil will provide reference assistance, copies or scans of articles, and book loans.

The APRL gives thanks

APRL donation
In 2006, the APRL received a large donation from Apfelbaum.

Yesterday I talked to a group of Girl Scouts about library collections. One of the things they wanted to know was how libraries get their books and how librarians decide which books to add to the collection.

Some libraries buy books, I told them, but here at the APRL we rely primarily on donations to grow our collection. Almost every day, boxes of books, journals, manuscripts, and research files arrive at the APRL.  Library staff open these gifts, and add those that are appropriate for our collection to the catalog so that members can use them. Each issue of the Philatelic Literature Review includes a list of new arrivals, as well as a list of the generous individuals and companies who donated material to the Library.

We can’t add every item we receive to the collection. Some are duplicates and some are simply out of the scope of our collection. We offer these items for sale, with the proceeds benefiting the Library. Each issue of the PLR also includes a “Literature Clearinghouse” section where the APRL lists new items for sale. (Members also use this section to list literature for sale and literature wanted to buy.)

We also receive monetary donations to purchase books, microfilm, equipment, and furniture.

So, on the day before Thanksgiving here in the U.S., the APRL says “Thank you” to all of our generous benefactors.

If you are interested in donating materials or money to the APRL, please contact us to discuss your donation.

The American Philatelic Research Library is a public library under Pennsylvania law and an authorized tax-exempt, nonprofit institution under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Any donations may be tax deductible under prevailing IRS code specifications.

New Jersey Postal History

The New Jersey Postal History Society has launched what it is calling the NJPHS Free Library. The “Free Library” consists of 35 years of digitized issues of the New Jersey History Society Journal. All but the last five years of the Journal are available freely to non-members as well as members.  The digitized issues are available in searchable pdf format. The Literature and Publications page on their website includes other useful publications about New Jersey postal history. All of these publications are for sale to non-members. Some of the items are available for free download by members.  The Galleries portion of their website includes a digital gallery of New Jersey Illustrated Letter Sheets and a gallery showing digital images of New Jersey Post Offices. Thanks to the NJPHS for making this excellent website about New Jersey Postal History available to the broader philatelic community.

Rabbis on Stamps

The Jewish World in StampsRecently, a library patron sent me a link to Rabbis on Stamps, a collection of images from the Leiman Library, a private collection of Judaica. This is a great resource for topical collectors from a non-philatelic source.

The Leiman Library’s home page gives an introduction to the Rabbis on Stamps collection.

Library patrons who search the APRL Online Catalog for “Judaica” will now find this online resource listed, in addition to books and journal articles.

The APRL has several books mentioned in the Rabbis on Stamps introduction: Continue reading “Rabbis on Stamps”

Posting It Released in Paperback

Posting ItCatherine J. Golden’s delightful book, Posting It: The Victorian Revolution in Letter Writing, (University Press of Florida, 2009) has been re-released in paperback. Approaching postal history from literary and material culture perspectives, she examines the impact of cheap postage in Great Britain following the 1840 introduction of postage stamps. The transition of mail from a luxury only the rich could afford, to an everyday feature of Victorian life, which allowed “anyone, from any social class, to send a letter anywhere in the country for only a penny had multiple and profound cultural impacts.” In the second section of her book, “Outcomes,” Catherine examines the rise of  postal related consumer goods such as illustrated envelopes and writing desks; the less desirable results of cheap postage ranging from a flood of unwanted mail to postal blackmail; and finally Valentines as a window on Victorian courtship and love. Her book received the 2010 DeLong Book History Prize for the best book on any aspect of the creation, dissemination, or uses of script or print from SHARP, the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing.

Catherine is a scholar of the Victorian era and professor of English at Skidmore College. She presented papers, Why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?and “You Need to Get Your Head Examined:  An Analysis of the Unchanging Portrait of Queen Victoria on Nineteenth-Century British Postage Stamps” at the last two Postal History Symposia.

For a parallel look at the American response to cheap postage following the 1851 rate reduction and reforms, read David M. Henkin’s The Postal Age (University of Chicago, 2006).

Postal History Symposium Keynote Speaker Selected

Dr. David HochfelderDr. David Hochfelder, assistant professor of history at SUNY-Albany will be the keynote speaker at How Commerce and Industry Shaped the Mails, the sixth annual Postal History Symposium, which will be September 16-18, 2011 at the Match Factory in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. After two degrees in electrical engineering from Northwestern University, David earned a Ph.D. in history at Case Western Reserve University. His research interests include the history of technology and business history; he is particularly interested in the relationship between technological innovation and social change. He was the assistant editor for two volumes of The Papers of Thomas A. Edison; David’s book The Telegraph in America: A History, 1832-1940 will be released by Johns Hopkins University Press in the spring.

The American Philatelic Research Library, the American Philatelic Society, and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum jointly produce the Symposia, which have been held annually since 2006. The format of the 2011 symposium will be similar to that of the Post Office Reform symposium in 2009, with the paper presentations distributed across three days allowing ample time between sessions for viewing the 150 frames of invited stamp and postal history exhibits, purchasing stamps, covers, and ephemera from the philatelic dealers, reading in the APRL, and conversing with fellow attendees. Hochfelder’s keynote address will be given at the banquet on Friday night. On Saturday evening, the United States Stamp Society, a Symposium co-sponsor for 2011, will host a banquet celebrating their 85th anniversary.

While the symposium will focus primarily on the United States, papers that examine or contrast the relationship between post office and business interests in other countries are welcome as well. The Call for Papers was distributed at the fifth symposium at the end of September; some proposals have already been received. The deadline for submitting proposals is May 1, 2011 and the selected papers will be announced shortly afterwards.

Moroney Prize Deadline

City Carrier, circa 1908Each year the United States Postal Service presents two cash prizes for the best historical writing about the American post office. These are the Rita Lloyd Moroney Awards – $2000 presented to a faculty member, independent scholar, or public historian for a  journal article, book chapter, or book; and $1000 to an undergraduate or graduate student for an journal article, book chapter, or conference paper.

Any topic in the history of the United States postal system from the colonial era to the present is eligible for consideration. Though submissions must be historical in character, they can draw on the methods of other disciplines such as geography, cultural studies, literature, communications, or economics. Comparative or international historical studies are eligible if the United States postal system is central to the discussion. The selections are made by an independent panel of academic scholars, chaired by Dr. Richard Kielbowicz at the University of Washington. Submissions to be considered for the 2011 prizes must be postmarked by December 1, 2010. Winners will be announced in April 2011.

The awards were established in 2006 to honor Rita Lloyd Moroney, who began conducting historical research for the Postmaster General in 1962 and served as Historian of the U.S. Postal Service from 1973 to 1991. To date, eight prizes have been awarded.

Military Postal History

American Library Association postcard expressing Christmas greetings from Siberia during WWI

Veterans Day seems like an appropriate occasion to acknowledge the ongoing contributions to the knowledge of military postal history by the Military Postal History Society. According to the Society’s website, the organization was originally called the War Cover Club and the emphasis was on the postal history of World War I. That emphasis has greatly expanded and now includes any interest in the mail sent to and from soldiers, sailors, and airmen in any military conflict. One of my interests in collecting library related mail which I call postal librariana is the role of the American Library Association during World War I. The publications of the Military Postal History Society and its predecessor the War Cover Club have been very helpful in my research in this area. Currently available publications of the Society are listed on their website. The Society’s website  includes an online index to the Military Postal History Bulletin and its predecessors. Copies of articles in previous Bulletins are available for a price from the Society. The American Philatelic Research Library and other philatelic libraries also have copies of their publications and Bulletins.