As 2021 begins to unfold, the APRL is now looking toward growing its collection, not only on the shelves of the library itself but also digitally. February brought to the APRL in the form of a long-promised donation one of the largest and most significant collections of auction catalogs and U.S philatelic history material in existence. APS Life member and past APS Historian Dr. Herbert A. Trenchard donated the remaining portion of his extraordinary collection, amassed over 65 years of collecting philatelic literature. 2021 is also proving to be a significant time for the growth of the library’s digital collections.
Dr. Herbert A. Trenchard Donation Enhances APRL Collection
Over the years, beginning during his college days in 1944, Dr. Trenchard grew his collection, extending through his professional career as a theoretical physicist. As he traveled worldwide for his profession, he developed close relationships with many domestic and international auction houses, collecting both well-known and obscure auction catalogs. Along the way in his philatelic endeavors, he also met both Harry Linquist, the great philatelic editor, and publisher, and George Turner, one of the greatest U.S. philatelic bibliophiles. Both of these distinguished philatelists encouraged Dr. Trenchard in his collecting and writing and gifted him many items from their own collections.
Initially, Dr. Trenchard’s collection was comprised of primarily domestic and foreign auction catalogs, estimated in 1975 to be well over 75,000 items. With George Turner’s encouragement, he began a collection of material related to the history of stamp collecting. Dr. Trenchard later described this equally significant and vast portion of his collection as containing “anything connected with stamp collecting except stamps.”
Along with his considerable auction catalog collection, Dr. Trenchard donated to the APRL this part of his collection, which includes material related to 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, the Ionian Islands and the history of the American Philatelic Society.
Betsy Gamble, recently retired APRL Technical Services Coordinator, has returned to sort and inventory the donation that came to the APS by truck on 24 pallets in over 600 moving boxes. This considerable donation will enable the APRL to grow the size and scope of both its working collection and the archives. On behalf of the APS and APRL, we would like to sincerely thank both Dr. Trenchard and his daughter Abby for making the transfer of this extraordinary collection possible. As we process the donation, we will update our readers on any unique items that we may find.
APRL Digital and the Adopt-A-Book Campaign
As the physical collection of the APRL grows, 2021 presents an equally important opportunity to significantly expand the size and scope of the digital collections. Currently, the APRL has received permissions from 39 philatelic organizations to scan and upload their journals to the library’s digital collections database, APRL Digital. In the weeks and months ahead, the APRL will be involved in the process of scanning, compiling, correcting, approving, and then uploading each of these journals. The APRL has also received permission to upload over 200 digital exhibits. If you or your philatelic organization is interested in having your exhibit or your group’s publication as part of the digital database, please contact the library at email@example.com.
As with any large-scale digitization project, each step of the process is both costly and time-consuming. Each journal is scanned page by page (if needed; some journals have already been partially scanned), then checked for quality (missing pages, page orientation correction, clarity of images, etc.). Next, these journals are then indexed with metadata, and finally, the finished pages are uploaded into the database. From January 2020 to March 2021, the database grew from just over 500,000 pages to over 620,000 pages. Storage space on internal servers is another necessary factor to ensure the stability, functionality, and consistency of access to the database.
Each aspect of the digital process requires both time and funding. If you would like to assist us with the latter as we strive to improve access to the resources of the APRL, consider donating to the Adopt-A-Book campaign. Every dollar given to the campaign goes directly to funding the scanning, uploading, and storage costs involved with the APRL Digital database. Thank you to the donors who have supported the Adopt-A-Book campaign thus far, listed on page 345.
The APRL Notes is reprinted from the April 2021 issue of The American Philatelist, The Member Recognition Issue Issue. If you are interested in joining the American Philatelic Society to gain access to members-only benefits such as this highly acclaimed monthly magazine, visit Together We Grow today!