On Saturday, June 8, 2019, APS Executive Director Scott English will continue a time-honored tradition when he presents the Charles J. Peterson Philatelic Literature Life Achievement Award at NAPEX. The presentation will occur during the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society General Membership Meeting, at 10 am in the Hilton Honors Room. The 2019 Peterson Award winner is Michael Laurence, for his decades of contributions to philatelic literature.
The Charles J. Peterson Award was established two years after Peterson’s passing in 2009, and is awarded by the American Philatelic Research Library every year to a person who embodies the outstanding legacy that Charlie left behind. Peterson award winners are notable for their dedicated work to further philatelic knowledge through philatelic literature.
Charles J. Peterson Award of 2019: Michael Laurence
The 2019 Peterson Award winner is Michael Laurence, longtime former editor of Linn's Stamp News, author of Linn's Stamp Collecting Made Easy, and current editor of the Chronicle of U.S. Classic Postal Issues. Laurence has received the Ashbrook, Brookman and Perry Cups of the Classics Society for his work, as well as its Distinguished Philatelist Award, and is a member of the Stamp Writers’ Hall of Fame. His philatelic literary accomplishments have influenced countless stamp collectors, researchers, writers, and editors. His entire philatelic career is a testament to a guiding philosophy of expanding and sharing philatelic knowledge.
The American Philatelist's own Fred Baumann weighs in on Michael Laurence's philatelic literary career and their shared decades of friendship and collaboration:
"Michael Laurence started collecting United States stamps in 1945. As a teenager, he began a specialized collection of the United States 1869 Pictorial issue, which developed into a collection and exhibit devoted to the 10¢ yellow Shield & Eagle stamp (Scott 116). This culminated in 2010 in the publication by the Collectors Club of Chicago of Laurence’s Ten-Cent 1869 Covers: A Postal Historical Survey.
"Laurence began his career in journalism as a teenaged city-desk reporter for the Memphis Press-Scimitar. Upon graduation cum laude from Harvard, he joined the editorial staff of Playboy magazine. While at Playboy he moonlighted as 1869 Section editor of The Chronicle of the U.S. Classic Postal Issues, and he discovered and supervised the reprinting of the massive monthly U.S. Mail & Post Office Assistant, which has since enabled the creation of Charles Starnes’ rate books and greatly enhanced collector understanding of covers and postal practices of the 1860-72 era.
"In 1982, Laurence transformed his hobby into his profession by becoming editor of Linn’s Stamp News. For more than 23 years Laurence wrote a wide-ranging weekly column devoted to the state and health of the stamp hobby and to 19th-century United States stamps and covers. In addition to building Linn’s as the largest-circulation philatelic publication in the nation, in 1983 he launched the highly regarded annual Linn’s U.S. Stamp Yearbook series. He also developed the graphic booklet on philatelic basics called Linn’s Stamp Collecting Made Easy, which may be the most widely used reference work in philatelic history, with over 350,000 copies sold.
"Laurence was responsible for Amos Press’ acquisition of the Scott stamp catalog. He oversaw Scott Stamp Monthly and the annual catalogs. Laurence retired from Linn’s in 2005 to become the first Executive Director of the Philatelic Foundation, and retired from that position in 2008.
Fred Baumann has known Michael Laurence since 1984, when he was the first to hire Fred into the writing side of the stamp hobby. Fred says fondly that while at Linn's, "Michael developed the careers of a generation of writers and editors still active in the hobby today." While working with Michael, Fred learned tricks for writing about philately that have served him well since, such as this advice: "When all else fails, start by typing 'Figure 1 shows . . .' and let the words flow from there."
The APS and APRL offer our sincerest congratulations to Michael Laurence for this well-deserved honor. Please join us at NAPEX on June 8th to celebrate philatelic literature and Laurence's achievement.
Past Winners of the Charles J. Peterson Award
2018: Ken Lawrence
Ken Lawrence has been collecting for over 60 years and been a prolific writer and researcher for more than half of that time. His columns and articles have been featured in Linn’s Stamp News, Scott Stamp Monthly, and The American Philatelist, among many other publications. His work has influenced the Congress Books, he co-authored Rarity Revealed: the Benjamin K. Miller Collection with Scott R. Trepel, and he edited/co-authored The Liberty Series. His tireless literary contributions aside, Lawrence has offered his services as instructor at APS Summer Seminars, taught accreditation seminars for philatelic judges, and served in various leadership positions at the APS and APRL. He is also known for using his significant collection, "The Nazi Scourge," to educate people around the country about the Holocaust.
2017: Randy L. Neil
Randy Neil has written countless philatelic books, articles, and columns in his lifetime, served as the editor of publications including American Stamp Dealer & Collector, The Philatelic Exhibitor, and The Confederate Philatelist, and founded U.S. Stamps & Postal History (today known as U.S. Stamp News). One of his books, Philatelic Exhibitors Handbook (1987) has become a classic of philatelic literature. His 2017 Charles J. Peterson Award is one more addition to an array of other philatelic awards, including the John N. Luff Award.
Charles J. Peterson Philatelic Literature Life Achievement Award
Charlie Peterson (1933-2009) revived his boyhood love for philately while serving in the U.S. Army and in the field of military intelligence during the Cold War. Peterson moved from stations in Wuertzberg, Munich, Frankfurt, and Heidelberg, amassing a remarkable Germany collection all the while. While in Europe, he attended international stamp shows and eventually qualified to judge philatelic literature and stamp collections. He worked with the International Federation of Philately (FIP) and the American Philatelic Society to turn the idea of a competitive philatelic literature exhibition into a reality – virtually inventing the rulebooks for how to exhibit and judge philatelic literature. Most importantly, Charlie singlehandedly lifted the bar for quality in philatelic publications. He set high standards for philatelic writers in his tenure as the Chairman of the FIP Literature Competition, the editor of the Philatelic Literature Review, the president of APS Writers Unit 30, the editor of The Chronicle of U.S. Classic Postal Issues, and more. The American Philatelic Society fondly remembers Charlie as a mentor to authors and editors alike.
Charlie’s legacy is that of “integrity, scholarship, and the unrelenting desire to advance the collective body of [philatelic] knowledge,” qualities that were recognized in his lifetime with the highest accolades offered in philately - admission to the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists and the APS John N. Luff Award (which he was awarded twice).