Bellefonte in May. This is my favorite season in Pennsylvania – a thick layer of pollen coats the parking lot from the flowering trees, afternoons go from thunderstorms to cloudless skies in minutes, and on our lunch breaks we go walking round and round the park.
May is also right on the cusp of my favorite season with the APS, where individual projects and pursuits are set aside in favor of coming together for Summer Seminar and Volunteer Work Week.
By the time you read this, APS Summer Seminar Online will be finished (June 6-28). I want to congratulate my colleagues in the education department for pivoting so smoothly and quickly to the online format, which will actually dramatically increase the number of people who can learn from the experts and courses during the event. The courses have now been added to the APS website after the fact for on-demand viewing at https://learning.stamps.org/lms-learner/ecommerce/products
From July 18-22, Volunteer Work Week is being held at the American Philatelic Center. Many of the volunteers who attend are of great help specifically in the library. If you are interested in participating, learn more at www.stamps.org/learn/volunteer-work-week.
‘A Philatelic Memorial of the Holocaust’ exhibit
This spring also heralds the completion of a very long-term project at the American Philatelic Center: “A Philatelic Memorial of the Holocaust” exhibit. In 2020, volunteers from the APS staff began working on a permanent exhibit at the APC, building upon the Holocaust Stamps Project – 11 million stamps collected by Foxborough Regional Charter School students from 2009-2017. Now, over two years later, the final pieces have come together. The exhibit combines the 11 million stamps with postal history evidence connected to real events and locations of the Nazi regime. Much of the philatelic material is included thanks to research conducted by APS members Ken Lawrence, Justin Gordon and Keith Stupell. As I write this, finishing touches are going up in the exhibit space. I discuss the exhibit further here.
A wall of stamp collage artworks by students of Foxborough Regional Charter School. Part of the new exhibit, “A Philatelic Memorial of the Holocaust.”
Some vital additions to the exhibit are yet to come, including a digital element to preserve some of the parts of the Holocaust Stamps Project that did not fit into the exhibit space.
In this issue
Long gone, it appears, are the days when you could read some really juicy gossip in the pages of a philatelic magazine! If you’ve had the pleasure of flipping through old issues of early philatelic publications, you’ll find aspersions cast, name-calling, and lengthy spats between rivals that have made it to print. I’ll point to Abhishek Bhuwalka’s latest article as a first example. In “The Crusading Ribeiro of Indian Philatelist,” Ribeiro, editor of India’s earliest philatelic journal, calls out the Bombay Philatelic Society, saying “It is painful to see members of the local Society parading themselves in the company of such dead beats!” (Zing!) The back-and-forth and infighting of India’s early philatelic community is an excellent read, especially for those who love soap operas, reality television, or boxing.
A second example comes in the form of Brian Birch’s “The Origin of the Royal Philatelic Society London’s Set of The Stamp Collector’s Record.” Birch introduces us to Joseph James Casey, a notorious American philatelist of the 1870s to 90s. Through RPSL archival correspondence, Birch finds a dramatic attempt by Casey’s enemies to expel him from the RPSL soon after he joined. (Again, zing!)
This unexpected theme aside, I’m happy to welcome Ron Lesher back to our pages as he explores the “must-haves” on his bookshelf for researching and understanding United States revenue collecting. Lesher ranges from the well-known, broad-ranging volumes like Introduction to United States Revenue Stamps by Richard Friedberg to more niche subjects, like The Black Proprietary Stamps of 1914-1916.
Finally, we have some brief articles that allow us to take the “road less traveled” into specific resources that you may not have known about. Curtis Gidding, for example, takes us beyond the catalog to a 1941 book that improved his Luxembourg collection. And A.M. LaVey invites us to Northern Europe, to three museums/archives with a philatelic digital presence.
Your feedback appreciated
As always, I welcome your feedback, comments, and questions, in the form of letters to the editor or as a personal note or phone call. What do you enjoy about the PLR? What columns do you always read (and why)? Do you use “New Books Noted” to make your wish-list every holiday season? Is there a topic you’d like to know more about within these pages? I would love to hear from you – your suggestions help us enormously.
Contact me via email at [email protected] or by phone at (814) 933-3803 (ext. 207). In the meantime, stay safe and enjoy the spring and summer months.