06/01/2012 (P1705)
Contact: Tara Murray

American Philatelic Research Library Announces Launch of Centralized Gateway to World’s Greatest Philatelic Research

The American Philatelic Research Library announces the formal launch of the Global Philatelic Library, a website that will serve as a gateway to the world’s greatest philatelic research. Founding partners include the American Philatelic Research Library in Bellefonte, PA, the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum and Smithsonian Libraries in Washington, DC, and the Royal Philatelic Society London.

On February 15, 1888, American Philatelic Association (now Society) President John K. Tiffany wrote to Edward Denny Bacon, Secretary of the (now Royal) Philatelic Society, London, with regard to a proposed joint indexing project, saying: “I consider the project as utterly impossible of any practical execution.” One hundred and twenty four years later the “impossible” project has become a reality, thanks to the inspiration and dedication of the founding partners.

The website establishes a single destination through which philatelists around the world can search, locate, and access philatelic research from partner libraries in real time, from any computer. Searchable listings of books and publications, as well as resource locations and access, are now just a click away, providing invaluable resources to those doing philatelic research.

The world-class collection of philatelic material, the result of international collaboration and cooperation with philatelic libraries and museums, includes both print and electronic media and other resources for the use of beginners, hobbyists, specialists, writers, and postal historians. It includes fascinating, informative, and sometimes even scandalous articles about philately from the early days of the hobby through the present day.

“A large part of the philatelic information I have acquired was discovered incidentally while searching for something else,” said Thomas Lera, Winton M. Blount research chair at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum. “I hope other philatelists, scholars and researchers will push open the doors of the new global philatelic library to find the answers to their questions and uncover new ones in the process as well.”

Other contributing philatelic research libraries include the Collectors Club, New York; Greene Foundation, Canada; National Philatelic Society, UK; Oslo Filatelistklubb Bibliotek, Norway; Philatelistische Bibliothek Hamburg, Germany; Postal History Foundation, Tucson, Arizona; Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library, Denver, Colorado; and Western Philatelic Library, Sunnyvale, California.

“All involved with this project should be congratulated,” said Alan Holyoake, internationally-known philatelist. “The introduction of a centralized gateway must be one of the most important developments ever to have taken place within the ‘philatelic’ world. I fully expect this centralized gateway to rapidly allow philatelists from around the world to not only enhance their knowledge but also establish relationships and friendships with others around the globe.”

The 12,500-square-foot American Philatelic Research Library contains more than 20,000 book titles and more than 5,500 periodical titles, government documents, auction catalogs, and philatelic exhibits. It also holds several unique archives, including the Daniel Hines Air Mail Collection. The library staff of four serve the public and also publish the quarterly Philatelic Literature Review with the American Philatelic Society editorial department.

The APRL is a public nonprofit that relies heavily on donations of materials. Members of the APRL and the APS may borrow materials directly through the mail and others may use the library through interlibrary loan. Scholars are always welcome to do research on site.