Ken Lawrence has been a philatelic writer and researcher for more than 35 years, an antebellum and Civil War era historian for 50, and a stamp and cover collector for more than 65 years. In 2004, the United States Philatelic Classics Society honored him with its Distinguished Philatelist award. Part of the citation by former Chronicle of the Classic U.S. Postal Issues editor Charles J. Peterson stated, “Ken Lawrence is probably best known to the hobby as a writer. He served six years as editor of The Philatelic Communicator, quarterly journal of the APS Philatelic Writers Unit 30, and raised the attention-getting quotient of that publication to a level never attained before or since. He had a regular column in the American Philatelist until 1999, one of the most well read and clipped columns in that journal; he is now a regular monthly columnist for Scott Stamp Monthly.
He has published articles in most of the major U.S. philatelic publications, including three submissions to the American Philatelic Congress Book, and in more than 20 stamp specialty publications world-wide. For seven years he wrote the ‘Stamps and Stamp Collecting’ articles for two major encyclopedia yearbooks. For these and other contributions as philatelic author, editor and contributor he was elected to the APS Writers Hall of Fame in 1998.” Scott Stamp Monthly no longer exists; Ken now writes monthly “Spotlight on Philately” columns and “Covering the World” features for Linn’s Stamp News. He has published articles about Navassa Island history and postal history in Linn’s Stamp News and the Classics Society’s Chronicle.
After two decades as a nationally and internationally accredited philatelic and literature judge, Ken retired to emeritus status. He is co-author with Scott R. Trepel of Rarity Revealed: the Benjamin K. Miller Collection, published by the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in 2006, and editor/co-author of The Liberty Series, published by American Philatelic Society in 2007.
Ken’s philatelic scholarship and exhibits have won awards at every level from bronze to gold and platinum nationally, two international large vermeil medals for his exhibit of Holocaust mail, an international vermeil with felicitations of the jury for his book Linn’s Plate Number Coil Handbook, and an honorary international gold prix d’honneur for his exhibit of Walt Disney philately, as well as special prizes that include the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors' Creativity Award; the Earl P. L. Apfelbaum Award (twice) for best American Philatelist article; the American First Day Cover Society's Philip H. Ward Jr. Award (twice) for best first day cover articles; the American Philatelic Congress’s Helen August, Jere. Hess Barr, Erani P. Drossos, and Dorothy Colby Memorial Awards; the APS Research Medal (twice); and a David Lidman gold medal for writing excellence in non-philatelic media.
Most recently, Ken was awared the 2019 U.S. Stamp Society/Barbara Mueller Award for his article “What Items Franked with 1913 Parcel Post Stamps are Authentic First Day Covers?” which appeared in the August 2019 issue of the American Philatelist (pages 708-22).
Presentation Synopsis: Among the challenges faced by the United States Post Office Department during the Classic Era was how to provide mail service to and from overseas possessions. The first of those was Navassa Island in the Caribbean, between Haiti and Jamaica, south of Cuba, claimed in 1857 by an American ship captain under the Guano Islands Act of 1856 and certified by Secretary of State Lewis Cass in 1859.
The earliest recorded postal communication between the United States and Navassa Island has an 1876 date; mail service between the island and the mainland continued until 1898. Although the State and Treasury Departments eventually recognized and certified approximately one hundred island claims under the Guano Islands Act