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.
The Wineburgh Philatelic Research Library (WPRL) in Richardson, Texas is unusual in that it is an integral part of McDermott Library at the University of Texas at Dallas. I’m not aware of any other philatelic library that is affiliated with an academic institution. WPRL was founded in 1976 (35 years ago) by the late Harold Wineburgh, and it is supported by an endowment created by Wineburgh. As part of the Special Collections Department of McDermott Library it has some advantages not enjoyed by our volunteer run philatelic libraries. A primary beneficiary of this arrangement is the Texas philatelic community. It’s collection, including thousands of volumes, over 100 philatelic periodical subscriptions, and a large collection of auction catalogs, is readily accessible to philatelists and researchers. The collection is especially strong in Confederate postal history. The library houses and maintains the records of The Texas Philatelic Association, Inc.. The collection of WPRL can be accessed online through the McDermott Library automated catalog. WPRL is a founding sponsor of TEXPEX which will take place on April 15-16 this year in Dallas. In the past WPRL has been a sponsor of several philatelic symposiums.
A fellow librarian recently told me about the Washington Calligraphers Guild. This is not a philatelic group, but there is some overlap because of calligraphers’ interest in letter writing.
The group is based in the Washington, DC area, there is much of general interest on its website. It also has a library, and you can browse the holdings online.
It holds an annual contest called The Graceful Envelope. The contest promotes calligraphy and also celebrates “the role of letters in binding people together and serves as a reminder that the people who deliver the mail are career government employees who take pride in their work and care about the communities they serve.” The contest began in 1995 and was originally sponsored by the National Postal Museum. Today the National Association of Letter Carriers partners with the Washington Calligraphers Guild to co-sponsor the contest.
This year’s theme is “Time Flies” and the deadline to postmark an entry is April 30, 2011.
I recently acquired a March 20, 1900 thank you note from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh sent to H. E. Deats. Mr. Deats had donated the London Philatelist Vols. 1-7 “from the American Philatelic Association”. I have previously written about the Pittsburgh library’s custody of the American Philatelic Association’s (now the American Philatelic Society) library. When I acquired the thank you note, I didn’t know anything about H. E. Deats. Through the wonder of the Internet and Google, I now know much. Hiram Edmund Deats (1870-1963) is a member of the APS Hall of Fame. According to his Hall of Fame entry he was “one of the foremost collectors of the 19th century” and he “formed an enormous philatelic library, a close second to that formed by John K. Tiffany.” I found a detailed description of the Deats philatelic library on the Earl P. F. Apfelbaum, Inc. website which has a number of historic documents in its online “Philatelic Library“. That description was written by Alvah Davison in 1888. A large part of the Deats philatelic library went to the Free Library of Philadelphia in 1952. The rest was sold to private collectors through auction over a period of years. One of the major philatelic interests of Deats was revenue stamps. I found information about his interest in this area from a post at the “Philately of Today” blog. Continue reading “The Library and Philatelic Connections of H. E. Deats”
The Sixth Annual Postal History Symposium will be held Sept. 16-18, 2011 at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, Pa. in conjunction with a philatelic exhibition hosted by the United States Stamp Society (USSS). The theme is How Commerce and Industry Shaped the Mails.
The deadline to submit a paper proposal is May 1. See the call for papers for more information. You can also see papers from previous symposia on the National Postal Museum website.
The Postal History Symposium is sponsored by the American Philatelic Society, the American Philatelic Research Library, and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. The symposium and philatelic exhibition are free, and we have blocks of rooms at two local hotels.
Afinsa Auctions. Coleccion de Ecuador (Martin de Bustamante) y seleccion de paises iberoamericanos: May 10, 1996, Seville, Spain (Sevilla: Afinsa Auctions, 1996): 349 p.: col. ill.; 22 x 33 cm. in slipcase. [Call No. NS Bustamente, Martin de]
Afinsa Auctions. Coleccion primer sello postal Espanol = First postage stamp of Spain collection: November 4, 1997 (Madrid: Afinsa Auctions, 1997): 288 p.: col. ill.; 27 x 27 cm. in slipcase [Call No. NS Magrina Mir, Enrique]
Aguirre, Eduardo (ed.). Specialized catalogue of the postage stamps of Mexico: containing in chronological order all officials and provisional issues, from 1856 until 1937, with the different kinds of paper colors, errors, and perforations, also the prices at which they can be purchased from the editor’s (Mexico, D.F.: Casa filatelica de Eduardo Aguirre, 1937): 184 p.: ill.; 20 cm. [Call No. CLOSED STACKS G4410 .A1 A284c 1937]
Andrews, James C. The Seebeck fiscals of Guatemala from the collection of James C. Andrews of Conway, New Hampshire (Conway, N.H.: James C. Andrews, 1994): 1 v. (unpaged): ill., map; 29 cm.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
This 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.