Happy holidays! For me, August feels like the end of the philatelic year. The Great American Stamp Show is like Christmas (for those who celebrate). It's a chance to see my family and friends in the hobby whom I haven't seen last year, sequestered away in Bellefonte as I am. And not to be trite, but getting to spend time with you at the show is a true gift. (I pause now to offer my annual warning — if you talk to me at GASS, you accept the risk that I'll ask you to write for the AP or PLR!)
August is also like graduation — our outgoing Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship Class of 2023 will give their presentations at GASS and graduate the program, then spread their fledgling philatelic wings and fly. Congratulations to Silas Ernst, Trevor Bills, Bethany Hunter, and Victor Livesay, who graduate this month — Trever and Victor are especially deserving, as they gamely shouldered through years of pandemic delays to come to this point.
As the cheery commotion and celebration of August and Great American Stamp Show thunders to a close, we can then look to the new year.
First, we'll usher in the new YPLF Class of 2024. Congratulations to Theo Rosenberg and Naina Dhawan, who were chosen from a pool of applicants to join the YPLF program. They'll start their year off at Great American Stamp Show, learning from the Class of 2023, soaking up knowledge from show attendees, and meeting their mentors.
On the APS staff side, the "new year" after GASS involves introspection. What worked well this year? Where are we going in 2024? It's a time of planning.
I will be developing the editorial calendar for 2024. I welcome your input — which issues did you really like, or dislike? Are there topics you would love to learn about?
We're also working on some new, rather exciting projects. I can't wait to tell you more about them — watch this space.
In this issue
Back in September 2022, we published the ambitious issue, "Collecting the British Empire." As we were putting together that issue, we knew there was a major, undeniable oversight: why wasn't North America, specifically Canada, included? No fear — we'll get to that later, we decided, and here we are.
This issue begins with Rob Leigh's dip into colonial Canada's early postal history, the stampless mail found before Canada's first stamps were issued. Rates, routes and sparse post offices are the theme of this issue. Rob, as the vice president and webmaster of Postal History Society of Canada, shares resources from the Society and others that will enhance your understanding of this topic.
We then inch closer to modern day (as in the early 1900s) with an article by Russell Sampson, who last graced our pages [August 2021] with a treatise on astronomy's connections as a scientific pursuit to philately, through a pedestrian perfined cover. Why mess with a good thing? Russell comes back with his scientific background to bring a tale of the early days of botanical and paleo-botanical pursuit — all spurred by his study of a simple cover from Montreal to Liverpool, mailed in 1910.
On a personal note, there's little I enjoy more than the pairing of philately with different fields of study. To quote Russell, "Early botany was much like early philately, a vast collection of specimens in search of a systematic method of cataloging." These parallels are exciting to discover and can add a lot of depth to our collecting.
Our next article comes from David D'Alessandris of the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society. Back in the days before Canada's Confederation in 1867, how did mail cross the border between Canada's provinces and the United States? Several handy tables share postage rates and conversions that will help you determine the answer.
Garfield Portch is the president of the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation in Toronto. He also recently came down to Bellefonte to teach the highly anticipated Summer Seminar course using a VSC 8000. While there, Garfield promised to share an unusual early Canada cover with you. The resulting article is a quick look into a challenging 1836 letter.
Also in this issue
And now, as we always do, we move away from the theme to explore different waters.
I'm excited as always to share Wayne Youngblood's "Collecting Coast to Coast" as he explores a mystery that he's been carrying in the back of his mind for decades, ever since his first job right out of college. A mystery solved, of course, by the gigantic surge of digitization making information more accessible than ever before. I was also tickled by the idea that Wayne was hired for this thoroughly non-philatelic job and found the philatelic connections anyway. I suspect many of you do the same.
Senior editor Jeff Stage shares a topic near and dear to his heart: the New York State Fair in his hometown of Syracuse. It's dollars to doughnuts that this is the best state fair in the state! (Rodgers and Hammerstein, anyone?)
Charles Posner returns with his dive into the U.S. commemoratives of the 1950s with the Whooping Crane stamp, an ode to the burgeoning efforts of this era.
Earlier in this column, I introduced you to Bethany Hunter of the YPLF. Bethany is on the Author track, mentored by APS President Cheryl Ganz. Bethany here tells her collecting story. In a future issue, she will complete the work she's done on the Author track, authoring an original research article.
Honoring Gretel Weil; see page 742 of the August issue for more.
Finally, APS member Stephen Breitkopf reached out to me several months ago to share an update on a story he'd started many years ago. In February 2010, Stephen shared what he knew of the life of Gretel Weil, a Jewish victim of the Holocaust, research that he undertook after finding some letters given to him by a neighbor who knew her. In that 2010 article, Stephen expressed a wish to be able to do something more to remember Gretel. Now, 13 years later, Stephen was able to sponsor a memorial to Gretel in her hometown. I'm happy to share this update with you — it's not every day that we can bring a story full circle in this way.
Please keep your feedback coming and share your views. Remember: if you wish to see an always-improving American Philatelist, you – our readers and APS members – must become a part of this exciting journey. Reach out with your questions, concerns, and suggestions. Write a letter to the editor ([email protected]). More importantly, volunteer to participate. This is your American Philatelist. My email is [email protected]. Letters by regular mail are always welcome and will be responded to in kind.
Call for Writers
The American Philatelist
depends on our members, who provide much of the content of this magazine. I’d like to encourage more members to join our roster of philatelic writers for The American Philatelist
, Philatelic Literature Review
, and the APS website. We are glad to review article proposals and submissions. The editorial team considers articles on any philatelic topic, but is especially interested in topics on U.S. stamps and postal history. Send your proposal or submission by email to [email protected]
. For more information about APS writing guidelines, visit aps.buzz/writeap