Remember Me

Philatelist Leaves Legacy to Embrace

Barbara Mueller Taught and Encouraged Us to Move Forward

also available in .pdf format

     R alph Waldo Emerson said, “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” Many of us are fortunate to have someone like this in our lives that have pushed, coached, and cheered us to better things. In November, the stamp collecting world lost someone who embodied that for so many people individually and the hobby at large, Barbara Mueller. She joined the American Philatelic Society in 1944, not just as a dedicated collector, but one who loved to share knowledge with others. In 1956, Barbara authored Common Sense Philately, a book that made the hobby accessible to collectors just beginning their journey or those who needed some encouragement along the way. That same year, Barbara earned the Luff Award, the highest recognition for a member of the APS, for Distinguished Philatelic Research.
      One could have easily stopped or slowed down, but Barbara not only kept going, her impact to individual collectors and the hobby continued to grow with it.
      “Barbara is, and was, in a class by herself. Period,” former APS Vice President Steven Rod shared with me. “What a role model! What a source of inspiration! What passion! What commitment! What fun! What laughter! What scholarship!” That enthusiasm does not belong to Steven alone. In 2007, the United States Stamp Society began sponsoring the Barbara R. Mueller Award to recognize the best article published each year in The American Philatelist. The aim of the award is to encourage our members to embrace that same love of research and sharing knowledge by promoting new research or previous works with new and interesting ideas that are relevant to today’s collectors.
      Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of meeting Barbara personally, so those who did know her could truly do her justice. There will be countless tributes to Barbara in our journal and many others. These tributes are a reflection of the meaningful life she lived and the generous spirit of sharing her passion with others. Our hobby is at its best when we can take what we know and share it with others, and hopefully, all of us can take a moment to do just that this year.

Meeting the Education Challenge
     In this column, a year ago, I discussed the Education Challenge and how necessary it was to give our members a chance to learn from some of the best in the hobby. With Stamps Teach, Young Stamp Collectors of America, and the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship, we have a very active set of programs aimed at young collectors.
      Our goal was to make our adult programs just as active and we asked for help, and we had a great response. You will see some of the education offerings we are planning this year, both at shows and here at the American Philatelic Center.

On the Road Courses
      In the Strategic Plan, our goal for 2017 was to offer five courses in hopes of attracting at least 80 participants. On the Road courses take place at, or in connection with, stamp shows around the country or are sponsored regionally by local chapters.
      So far, we have seven courses planned for this year and several others possible. For these classes to be successful, we need three things: local chapters to support the class, instructors willing to give of their time, and eager students ready to sign up. Thanks to the call to action, we have the first two taken care of and now we are looking for the students.
      We invite you to go to our website, stamps.org/on-the-road-courses, and look at the great courses being offered and find one that catches your interest. You will not only get a chance to learn more about the hobby, but will be able to visit one of our great World Series of Philately shows and meet fellow collectors from around the country. We welcome all collectors, but one of the great APS member benefits is getting a significant discount on the class. Please join us for one of these courses and invite a friend. If you have ideas for a great location or topic for an On the Road course, please contact our Education Department at education@stamps.org.

Summer Seminar on Philately
      If you’ve been to a Summer Seminar in Bellefonte before, you’ve met some of the most knowledgeable collectors as both instructors and participants. Summer Seminar is a week-long series of classes on various topics for anyone looking to learn something new or brush up on a topic they love. While learning and talking about philately is the reason to come, you will meet an enthusiastic group of fellow collectors who add a great social experience for collectors and non-collectors.
      Now that our new library is completed, you can also get a chance to walk and search the stacks of the world’s largest philatelic library and meet our fantastic staff ready to help with the most obscure questions.
      We also have tours, circuit books waiting, and great finds in the Stamp and Cover Store, thanks to the hardest working volunteer in Bellefonte, Richard Nakles.
      Mary-Anne Penner, director of Stamp Services for the U.S. Postal Service, was kind enough to join us last year and has already committed to coming to speak to our guests again this year and answer questions.
      One of our students last year commented, “Being here is like Disney World for Stamp Collectors!” I can tell you the June weather in Bellefonte is much more agreeable than Orlando, so hopefully, you’ll join us. Enrollment has opened and you can see the courses and instructors in this issue and online at stamps.org/summer-seminar. Make your plans today.

Ambassadors Program Launched
      In my September column, I introduced the Ambassadors program, a new pilot program to strengthen the grassroots of the hobby. In November, Tom Horn, formerly the director of Circuit Sales, moved over to become director of Special Projects, focusing on getting the Ambassadors program launched. Our goal was to start with a pilot program of 25 Ambassadors to create a network and develop best practices. Thanks to some enthusiastic chapters and Tom’s work, we have Ambassadors for 26 chapters (a couple of clubs have elected two Ambassadors). While we thought 25 chapters were ambitious, we may not be able to contain the leadership we are seeing from across the country. Here are the first Ambassadors as of this printing:

Austin Philatelic Club, Joe Sedivy Chicago Philatelic Society, Melanie Rogers
Collectors Club of Akron, Ken Nilsestuen
Collectors Club of Chicago, Melanie Rogers
Collectors Club of San Francisco, Stephen Schumann
Garfield-Perry Stamp Club, Matt Liebson
Germany Philatelic Society, Chap. 5, David Witkosky
Great Bay Stamp Club, Betty Jane Meulenbroek
Hamilton Township Philatelic Society, Jeffrey Boyarsky
Indiana Stamp Club, Robert Zeigler
Knoxville Philatelic Society, James Pettway and Tom Broadhead
Mid-Cities Stamp Club, Ray Cartier and Michael A. Smith
Nevada Stamp Study Society, Paul D. Glass
N.S. Savannah Chapter No. 109, USCS, Arthur J. Cole
Oregon Stamp Society, Michael Bloom
Ozark Mountain Stamp Club, Don Chenevert
Rochester Philatelic Association, Tom Fortunato
San Jose Stamp Club, Brian Jones
Scandinavian Collectors Club, Chap. 4, Ron Collin
Sequoia Stamp Club, Kristin Patterson
Shenandoah Valley Stamp Club, Gretchen Moody
Southern Nevada Stamp Club, James E. Capelle
Tri-County Stamp Club of Central New York, Steve McCarthy
Tuscora Stamp Club, Floyd Swinderman
Westfield Stamp Club, Henry A. Laessig and Nick Lombardi
Wyoming Valley Stamp Club, Tom Bowman

      Tom is already developing a regular newsletter to share with the Ambassadors so they have information to share with fellow club members about what’s happening at the APS. He has also slated several visits to shows and is organizing Town Hall meetings with the local Ambassadors to give APS members a chance to share their thoughts on growing the hobby and our membership and improving the way we do business.
      Several of the Ambassadors have also volunteered to organize Town Hall meetings to be our eyes and ears in places we can’t visit this year. Of course, Tom and the Ambassadors will also be meeting collectors who have not yet joined the APS and recruiting them to join us.
      There will be more updates in future issues, because the response has been overwhelming. If you would like more information about the Ambassadors program, you can contact Tom or call him at 814-933-3803, ext. 227.
      As always, thank you for the letters, calls, and e-mails sharing your thoughts on the APS and the hobby. I try to respond to each one as quickly as possible and hope you will continue to reach out to me or 814-933-3814. Traditional mail is also welcome at 100 Match Factory Place, Bellefonte, PA 16823.
check out   continue shopping