One of the truly unique experiences here at the American Philatelic Research Library occurs when the library is afforded the unique opportunity to significantly grow the scope of its collection as the result of a truly important donation of material. This has proven to be the case when the considerable and significant collection of Dr. Herbert A. Trenchard was recently given to the APRL as the result of a long-held promise by Dr. Trenchard to donate his vast collection to the APRL. The donation arrived by truck on 24 pallets and with over 600 boxes of material.
Donation Awaiting Inventorying by the APRL and Dr. Herbert A. Trenchard
Dr. Trenchard, a Life member of the APS and past APS Historian, is widely acknowledged as the “dean of U.S. philatelic history.” He became a stamp collector in 1944, as a high school student where he was encouraged by the school librarian in reading copies of Stamps magazine that were received by the library. Following college in 1955 Dr. Trenchard began collecting auction catalogs by either buying them or requesting them from many of the more notable and obscure philatelic auction houses. Harry Linquist, the great philatelic editor and publisher, was one of the donors who offered Dr. Trenchard many of the rare and important auction catalogs he had acquired in his own collection.
Over time Dr. Trenchard’s collecting interests expanded rather quickly and he began acquiring British and European auction catalogs. His professional work as a theoretical physicist took him to Europe frequently, where he visited the auction houses and stamp dealers there and added many important older catalogs to his collection.
Sorting the Books and Auction Catalogs from the Dr. Trenchard Donation
In 1961 following a term in the Army, Dr. Trenchard and his family moved to University Park, Maryland. That led to one of the most significant moments in Dr. Trenchard’s philatelic life, a close relationship with George Turner, one of the greatest U.S. philatelic bibliophiles. Through George Turner, Dr. Trenchard became involved in organized philately and at Mr. Turner’s urging began documenting the philatelic history of the United States through his collection and his writings,
By 1975, Dr. Trenchard’s collection grew to over 75,000 items. Today the collection is estimated at over 125,000 items. The materials donated to the APRL include every aspect of Dr. Trenchard’s collecting interests including auction catalogs, philatelic exhibitions, famous collectors and their collections, early philatelic history in America, U.S. locals, forgers and forgeries, early philatelists who impacted U.S. philately, first day ceremonies, the Famous Americans issue of 1940, the St. Louis Bears, Ionian islands and the history of the American Philatelic Society.
Betsy Gamble Begins Processing the Dr. Trenchard Donation
Betsy Gamble, former APRL Technical Services Coordinator, will undertake inventorying the donated material identifying which materials are needed and to be added to the APRL collection and the library's archives. In the weeks and months ahead we will provide updates on some of the unique items that have been identified in the vast materials donated by Dr. Trenchard.
On behalf of the APS and APRL we would like to express our sincere thanks to Dr. Trenchard and his daughter Abby for their generosity and for the opportunity to include this extraordinary material in the APRL collection thereby making it available to our members, library patrons and the worldwide philatelic community. The APRL collection will become a significantly greater resource for philatelists and researchers with the inclusion of this material. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact Scott Tiffney.