Images above : The World’s Greatest Stamp Collectors., Stanley Bierman (left) interviews Raymond Weill.
The following article was published in the Philatelic Literature Review, third quarter, 2022.
When Stanley M. Bierman, M.D., died on January 21 at the age of 86, the world of philately lost a philatelic scholar, masterful raconteur, and an important part of its institutional memory.
Although he was a prominent physician, Stanley Bierman worked diligently at assembling one of the world’s greatest private philatelic libraries, putting it to good use as a tool for research on philately’s greatest stamp collectors.
Perhaps even more importantly, Bierman also actively worked to preserve philatelic oral history by initiating a series of insightful video interviews with some of the most important living figures in philately. He is shown interviewing Raymond Weill on May 26, 1986, in Chicago at AMERIPEX ’86. Without Bierman’s strenuous efforts, much philatelic history and many fascinating anecdotes would have been lost forever.
Make sure to learn about Stanley Bierman's interviews here.
Bierman’s masterful 2016 summary article on “Philatelic Literature, Its Lore and Heritage” is available in the Philatelic Literature Review. Furthermore, the surprisingly entertaining and fascinating story of how Bierman’s own philatelic library came to be formed is recounted in earlier PLR articles published in 1984-1985.
Having traveled a great deal during my scientific career, I first became aware of Bierman’s book on The World’s Greatest Stamp Collectors at a Smithsonian Museum Shop in an airport before flying home from East Coast meetings in the early 1990s. It’s not only an enjoyable read, but is carefully documented with more than 420 references.
On another trip, I met Raymond Weill at his stamp shop on Royal Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans and enjoyed talking with him. As soon as I learned that Bierman had conducted detailed interviews with Weill and other famous philatelists and that these were available on DVD for the benefit of the American Philatelic Society, I bought them, greatly enjoying the many anecdotes that are now permanently preserved.
Finally, I’ll never forget the occasions when I was invited to visit Bierman at his home in Beverly Hills for philatelic holiday brunches. After showing me parts of his famous library, we would sit outside by the swimming pool across from the Japanese tea house with the other guests, and talk about stamps until it was time for the luncheon. After more “stamp talk” we would gather inside for a showing of one of Bierman’s interviews with commentary by the interlocutor himself.
Stanley Bierman’s passing leaves a void in the world of philately. We are fortunate that he has left us such a rich philatelic legacy.
Stanley M. Bierman, The World’s Greatest Stamp Collectors, Linn’s Stamp News, 1990.
Stanley M. Bierman, “Philatelic Literature, It’s Lore and Heritage,” Philatelic Literature Review, Vol. 65, 1st quarter 2016.
Stanley M. Bierman, “The Bierman Philatelic Library,” Philatelic Literature Review, Vol. 33, 3rd quarter 1984; “More on The Bierman Philatelic Library,” PLR, Vol. 34, 2nd quarter 1985.
Stanley M. Bierman, “Famous Philatelist Interviews” at https://learning.stamps.org/lms-learner/ecommerce/products/videos-famous-philatelist-interviews.
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