Daniel Vooys founded the Philatelic Library Association in 1942. Its three primary aims were: to encourage the greater use and study of philatelic literature; to provide facilities whereby philatelic literature could be bought, sold or exchanged; and to aid shut-ins and others not able to source their own philatelic literature.
In order to support and publicize the association he published and edited the Philatelic Literature Review. Its objectives were to publish lists, indexes and bibliographies of publications on various specialties as well as to review new publications, as illustrated on its front cover (Figure 1).Unless one is very fortunate, the most difficult issue facing an editor when founding a new philatelic periodical is to attract important contributions. This must have been particularly challenging for Vooys as a war had been raging in Europe for some years and another had just begun with Japan. As Figure 1 shows, indexes to philatelic literature were of primary importance in Vooys’ scheme of things but were very difficult to come by, needing a great deal of time and effort to prepare. So, Vooys resorted to the stock solution used by so many editors both before and since. He compiled one himself.
Figure 1. Front cover of the first number of the Philatelic Literature Review.
Who was Daniel Vooys?
Daniel William Vooys (Figure 2) was born on the July 22, 1914, in New York City, to Daniel Joseph Vooys and Matilda Patricia Vooys, nee Harlow. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Canajoharie, New York – a small village along the Mohawk River – of which he was always thought of as a native. His brother, Bernard, was born five years later.
He graduated from the Bentley School of Accounting and Finance of Boston and began a career in banking. In 1936, he joined the National Spraker Bank of Canajoharie, being elected assistant cashier in January 1940. In August of that year he became the assistant national bank examiner for the Second Federal Reserve District.
He married Grace E. Edick (1919-2009) in the spring of 1941 and together they had two sons, Daniel F. Vooys and James D. Vooys.
With war imminent, Vooys joined the military in April 1941, serving first with the Field Artillery and Finance Department. Having attended Officer Candidate School, he was commissioned second lieutenant in January 1943. He was released from active service in March 1946 with the rank of captain. However, he remained in the active reserve in the Adjutant General Corps until his final release in December 1952.
Figure 2. Daniel William Vooys circa1945 as shown in the Philatelic Literature Review, April/June 1946.
Upon his initial release from military service in 1946, he was appointed auditor of the First National Bank of Canajoharie. He spent his professional career in finance, working for banks in his hometown and New York’s Capital district, finally retiring in 1977 as a chairman of the board and chief executive officer.
Although he began to collect stamps at the age of 12, he quickly appreciated that literature was the key to the hobby. By the age of 23 he had joined the American Philatelic Society, one of the many societies and clubs he joined. Others included the Collectors’ Club of New York, the Society of Philatelic Americans, the American Philatelic Congress; as well as specialty societies such as the Scandinavian Collectors Club, the Essay-Proof Society, the Confederate Stamp Alliance (now the Civil War Philatelic Society), the United Postal Stationery Society and the Germany Philatelic Society.
Vooys also joined foreign societies, such as the Junior (later National) Philatelic Society of London and the Association Internationale des Journalistes Philatéliques. With his characteristic drive and vision, he was a founder of the Fine Arts Unit of the American Topical Association, which he initially financed and became its first president, with membership number 1.
Nevertheless, his main interest was philatelic literature and in May 1942, while still serving in the military, he founded the Philatelic Library Association (from 1956, the Philatelic Literature Association) with Lucius J. Jackson (1915-1978).
In spite of the war, he began to publish the Philatelic Literature Review, of which he was editor from 1942 to 1956 and again from 1963 to 1970. He also undertook the roles of president and secretary at times. Members of the Philatelic Library Association were scattered across the U.S. (Figure 3) and the world, according to a new members list published in the first quarter PLR of 1948. New members listed include those in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Turkey, Iraq and China.
Figure 3. The Philatelic Library Association had members scattered across the world. A piece of mail from the treasurer sent in 1951.
Figure 4. The Luff Award Certificate to Daniel W. Vooys.
In 1956, he received the Luff Award from the American Philatelic Society (Figure 4) for his exceptional contribution to philately.
Having given up the role of PLR editor, Vooys sold most of his library between 1956 and 1957. However, Vooys soon began to assemble his library anew. By 1964, his reformed library comprised more than 15,000 stamp magazines and he had built up a card file containing 20,000 entries.
From 1965 to 1977, he served the APS in many capacities, including two terms as its president, from 1969 to 1973. The society had originally formed a library almost as soon as it was founded but in those days before it had a permanent home, the library was kept at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, to which it was eventually given in 1929. Vooys campaigned hard to get the society to reinstate its library (Figure 5).
Figure 5 Daniel William Vooys circa 1964 (Courtesy of the American Philatelic Research Library).
When, in 1967, the APS decided to form its own library, it was Vooys who drew up the plans for its organization. The American Philatelic Research Library was incorporated the following year and in 1970 he became one of the library’s founders. In order to establish the library, he donated nearly half of his reformed library, about three tons of books and journals. He also merged the Philatelic Library Association into the American Philatelic Research Library, making the Philatelic Literature Review the latter’s journal. He became president of the APRL in 1975, a position he held until his death.
Vooys was elevated to the APS Writers Unit No. 30 Philatelic Writers’ Hall of Fame in 1975.
Having suffered from cancer for a long time, Vooys died September 23, 1978, in New York at the age of 64. His death coincided with the announcement that he had been awarded a second Luff Award for Outstanding Services to the American Philatelic Society. In anticipation of his death, the society had taken steps to advise him of the award shortly before it was due to be announced.
Following his death, the remainder of his library was donated to the APRL together with his index to the 15,000-or-so periodicals he had collected. At the same time, the Daniel W. Vooys Fund was established by the society to provide continued support to the library.
In 1980, he was elected to the American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame.
A new fundraising campaign to support the APRL was initiated in 2007. It included the designation Daniel W. Vooys Fellow to anyone offering to donate $5,000 over the succeeding five years.
Vooys’ Current-Awareness Index
The year 1944 was a time of war for America when people did not have a great deal of time on their hands to prepare the required publications for their hobby. Most collectors of the day had the indispensable catalog, the odd handbook and a periodical or two. So, in order to demonstrate the nature and quality of material to which the Philatelic Library Association aspired, in the second and third numbers of 1945, Vooys published a subject index he had compiled of the leading articles in the 23 most important American philatelic magazines that had been published in 1944.
Index to current U.S. stamp periodicals: A list of leading references appearing during 1944. The specific issues of the Philatelic Literature Review are:
April 1945, Volume 3, Issue 4, Whole number 10, pp. 5-14.
July 1945, Volume 4, Issue 1, Whole number 11, pp. 3-16.
Notes about the index
Vooys chose to index the 23 most important philatelic periodicals published in 1944 in America, 22 from the United States and one from Canada (Figure 6). It was his intention to include only the leading articles from each issue, omitting the general news, new issue details and other minor items.
Figure 6. The first page of U.S. references from the Vooys index (From the author’s library).
The first part of the index covered foreign countries, followed by United States references. With most of the periodicals being from the U.S., this section naturally dwarfs the other parts of the index. Although he tried to categorize the various entries and put the stamps in date order, the United States section still has a large number of entries under many of the sub-headings.
The final part of the index is General Topics and Specialties. It is evident from its extent and contents that Vooys considered this section, which is so often neglected or ignored completely by other indexers, to be very important. In this index it occupies just over six pages.
Since every entry in this index relates to an issue of a periodical published in 1944, Vooys was able to reference the location of each entry by periodical title, month and page number. Where the periodical was published more than once a month, he had to add the publication day following the month. His Key to Publications Indexed provided details of exactly which issues of each periodical had been published during the year and therefore indexed.
Vooys also noted that full details of each periodical were given in the “Directory of Current U.S. Stamp Periodicals” that had just been published in the January 1945 issue of the Philatelic Literature Review.
Since Vooys had given both the title and author in each of his entries, he simplified the indexing task by omitting cross-references, judging that the title and the heading under which the article was placed in the index provided sufficient information.
A minor difficulty in using the index is that the headings are only distinguished from the index entries by being printed in bold, which is sometimes difficult to distinguish given the rather small typeface used in this periodical.
Index of philatelists
I have a particular interest in biographies of philatelists of dealers and maintain a bibliography of references to them, which is freely available on the Global Philatelic Library website: http://globalphilateliclibrary.com, of which the American Philatelic Research Library was one of the founders.
Accordingly, most other indexes list only articles by stamp issuing countries and ignore people and other subjects. Fortunately, Vooys’ use of a general heading to catch anything not found under a country heading, one could reasonably expect to find some articles about specific collectors. In fact, there is a heading “Collectors,” which has only four entries: Ferrary; Robert Blake Yardley; Col. E.H.R. Green and President Roosevelt. I do not suppose that one should expect much more from a single year.
Vooys provided a detailed key to all of the periodicals he indexed. A simplified version of this key is shown on page 195 for the benefit of current readers. It can be seen that he has included all of the general philatelic magazines and most of the specialty societies' periodicals then being published in the U.S. To obtain the latter, he would probably have had to join all of the societies.
Final note on Vooys published index
In the issue of July 1945, while this index was being published, the result of a Membership Survey was also published (Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.1-2). Most of those that had responded were in favor of continuing the index, some wanting it expanded to include all leading English-language periodicals. There were also those who thought that the Philatelic Literature Review should be restricted to reviewing new books and indexing only.
Notwithstanding these positive comments, this was the only current-awareness index published by the magazine or by Vooys. Nevertheless, Vooys continued to index his own periodicals as he received them, as we shall see next.
Vooys’ unpublished card index
With the index he published in the PLR, Vooys showed what could, or should be done to record the most important periodicals of the time. That seems to have given him the habit of recording articles which had appeared in the periodicals to which he subscribed as well as monographs and handbooks as they were published.
Vooys had disposed of most of his philatelic library once he gave up the role of editor of the Philatelic Literature Review in 1956. However, he soon began to rebuild it and within a decade it contained more than 15,000 periodicals.
KEY TO PUBLICATIONS INDEXED
||Volumes 15 & 16
||Volumes 57 & 58
||Chambers Stamp Journal
||Volumes 19, 20 & 21
||Collectors Club Philatelist
||Harmer’s Stamp Hints
||Houseworth’s Stamp Review
||Volumes 23 & 24
||Linn’s Weekly Stamp News
||Volumes 16 & 17
||Mekeel’s Weekly Stamp News
||Volumes 62 & 63
||Philatelic Literature Review
||Volumes 2 & 3
||Volumes 17 & 18
||Russian American Philatelist
||Volumes 2 & 3
||Volumes 6 & 7
||Sanabria’s Airpost News
||Whole Numbers 27 - 29
||Scott’s Monthly Journal
||Volumes 24 & 25
||Volumes 46 - 49
||Weekly Philatelic Gossip
||Volumes 37 - 39
||Western Stamp Collector
||Volumes 18 & 19
* Additional information concerning the individual publications can be found in the Directory of Current U.S. Stamp Periodicals published in the January 1945 issue of the Philatelic Literature Review (Vol. 3 #3: pages 7-8 & 14).
Although Vooys never again published an index that he had created, he nevertheless continued to compile an index on cards to the periodicals to which he subscribed. The entries were hand-written on 3-by-5-inch cards, which were filed in long card-index boxes (Figure 7).
Figure 7. Two typical boxes of index cards.
Books were filed by subject, whereas articles were filed by subject under the title of the periodical in which they had been published.
In 1964, he estimated that his card index contained some 20,000 entries. By the time he died in 1978, one could imagine that the index had grown substantially. This index was bequeathed to the American Philatelic Research Library along with the remainder of his philatelic library.
Unfortunately, the APRL has no policy and until recently no facilities for making the indexes it holds in its archives generally available to its users by digitization or even photocopying. Accordingly, Vooys’ original card file is currently in storage in the library’s archives.
According to the late lamented Gini Horn (1951-2022), the librarian at the time I was researching this article, the index wasn’t particularly useful. She conceded that Vooys had indexed some journals that she did not think were indexed anywhere else, primarily some English-language specialty journals about the Netherlands. I am sure that this was simply underplaying the usefulness of the index to avoid having to deal with the problem of access.
Since the index seems to have covered the period from about 1917 until at least the late 1960s, a period not well-served by published indexes, I am not sure that I agree with its lack of usefulness. As far as I am aware, only the Royal Philatelic Society London has had its two unpublished indexes digitized, both by the present author.
In 2010, I carried on an extensive correspondence with then-APRL librarian Ellen Peachey, who dug out a couple of boxes of the index files from storage for me, in order to determine whether there was any useful information in the files that would be worth making more widely available. The photographs of the card files shown were taken by Ellen at that time (Figure 8).
Figure 8. Vooys index cards, including some with entries for The American Philatelist.
Indexes like this consisting of cards or slips of paper are particularly vulnerable to loss, misfiling and handling damage and are not suitable to be freely available to public access. Quite naturally, the APRL has other priorities of greater importance than enhancing access to its archived indexes. Indeed, library staff are always willing to search such indexes on behalf of its members.
Accordingly, the best that I can hope for is that making the existence and location of unpublished indexes more widely known in articles such as this, may encourage serious researchers to make use of the library’s hidden assets.
Bibliography of references to Daniel W. Vooys
“Daniel W. Vooys in the 1940 Census.” Ancestry website: www.ancestry.com, 20177, 1 p.
“ Luff Award," Wikipedia web site: https://en.wikipedia.org, April 16, 2016, 3 pp.
F.L.: “Meet your Editor,” Philatelic Literature Review, April/June 1946, Volume 5, Issue 1, p. 6.
“Daniel W. Vooys Wins Luff Award,” Philatelic Literature Review, 3rd and 4th quarters 1956, Volume 6, Issue 4, p. 79.
“Canajoharie man joins Jamestown 1st National Bank,” Evening Recorder (Amsterdam, N.Y.), April 18, 1957, p. 6.
“[Candidate] for Treasurer Daniel W. Vooys, of Jamestown, N.Y.,” The American Philatelist, July 1957, Volume 70, pp. 801-802.
“3 new Directors elected by First National Bank: Jones, Anderson, Vooys added to Board at 107th annual Meeting of Stockholders.” Jamestown Post-Journal, January 12, 1960, p. 9.
“New post for Daniel Vooys,” Philatelic Magazine, May 17, 1963, Volume 71, Issue 10, p. 349.
“Introduction to ‘Mr. PL’ himself,” Linn’s Stamp News, January 27, 1964, p. 3.
Dr. John S. Papa: “Daniel W. Vooys,” Fine Arts Philatelist, September/October 1964, Volume 10, Issue 4.
“Know Your Nominees & Vote. For Treasurer Daniel W. Vooys of New York, A.P.S. No. 16746.” American Philatelic Society, USA, Election flyer, n.d. [ca. 1966].
“Daniel W. Vooys: A philatelic bibliophile,” Philatelic Literature Review, December 1971, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp. 269-271.
“Necrology: Daniel W. Vooys,” The American Philatelist, November 1978, Volume 92, Issue 11., pp.1018 and 1104.
“The President’s Message: Philately has lost a giant,” by John E. Foxworth Jr., The American Philatelist, November 1978, Volume 92, Issue 11, pp. 1079-1080.
“APS Hall of Fame Biographies: Daniel W. Vooys.” Hall of Fame website: https://classic.stamps.org, 1980.
“Grace E. Vooys: Obituary”, The Daily Gazette, April 12, 2009. Retrieved from www.legacy.com/obituaries/dailygazette.
“The great philatelic bibliophiles: Daniel W. Vooys, Canajoharie, New York,” by Brace Burnside. The American Stamp Dealer & Collector, March 2015, p.72.
“Daniel W. Vooys Fellow,” American Philatelic Society: www.stamps.org, 2017.
Philatelic Literature Review, January-March 1948, Robert A. Mason Digital Library, American Philatelic Research Library.