Apart from the many questions the library receives regarding information about stamps, there are an equally large number of research requests that inquire about covers, specifically, as in the case of this month’s highlighted resource, cachets and first day covers. Like the U.S. Stamp Files described previously in this column, one of the truly unique “collections within the collection” housed at the APRL is that of the American First Day Cover Society (AFDCS) Archive.
Starting in the late 1970’s the AFDCS decided to donate its considerable archive of materials to the APRL for suitable storage and for use by future first day cover researchers. The initial donation comprised ten four-drawer filing cabinets. Since then through ongoing donations still received by the APRL from the AFDCS and its members the collection has grown to take up 50 linear feet of compact shelving space in the closed stacks area on the second floor of the library.
AFDCS Archive on the Second Floor Closed Stacks Area of the APRL
The AFDCS Archive consists of over 3,000 file folders labeled mostly by cachetmaker and arranged alphabetically. The files include a wide array of useful research information such as original advertisements, correspondence, unserviced cachets, biographies, article clippings, photographs of the cachetmaker and their cachets, as well as in some rare instances, serviced cachets. Not all AFDCS Archive file folders contain all of the aforementioned materials but many include a good number of them. There are also folders labeled by Scott number that contain photocopies of serviced cachets.
Sample Items in the Artcraft folder of the AFDC Archive
Included at the end of the cachetmakers files are three additional shelves consisting of over 200 file folders that are specifically about the AFDCS and its history arranged chronologically. Included in these file folders are materials regarding the history of the AFDCS including copies of AFDCS meeting minutes, society correspondence, research materials used in producing AFDCS publications, and various AFDCS chapter and convention notes and materials.
Fleetwwod FDCs found in the files of the AFDCS Archives
The AFDCS Archive is currently housed in the second floor closed stacks area of the APRL for the safety and security of the material and therefore is not readily accessible to the public. However, just like the U.S. Stamp Files housed in the same closed stacks area of the library, when visiting the library in person, researchers can request any items from the AFDCS Archive for use in the library during their visit. Remote researchers can also access the AFDCS Archive by contacting the library and requesting materials to be either photocopied or scanned and sent to them. Consult the Library Services page of the APS website for the services provided and the fee schedule.
For more information about the AFDCS Archive or a research request about the AFDCS, first day covers or cachetmakers that may be found in these files contact the APRL at firstname.lastname@example.org.