The American Philatelic Research Library,the American Philatelic Society, and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum jointly produce the Postal History Symposium, which has been held since 2006. The symposium provides a forum for philatelists, academic scholars, postal historians, and the interested public to discuss and present research that integrates philately or the history of postal operations into the broader context of world history.

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2020 - "Postal Innovation of the Classic Era"  *NEW DATES*

The Eleventh Postal History Symposium

Postal Innovation of the Classic Era: Evolution Leading to Modernization

October 26-30, 2020

To overcome the health and safety concerns of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Postal History Symposium will be held virtually. The biennial event, jointly hosted by the American Philatelic Research Library and the National Postal Museum, was initially scheduled for October 30-31, 2020, at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, PA. Along with the events, the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society co-sponsor of the 2020 symposium and the American Philatelic Society will be providing a full list of speakers under the Symposium’s theme, “Postal Innovation of the Classic Era: Evolution Leading to Modernization.”   

 

New Virtual Postal History Symposium Details

New Date:  October 26-30, 2020

 

 Keynote Speaker

Scott Trepel

President, Robert A. Siegel Auctions

 
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Confirmed Speakers:

  • Scott Trepel - Keynote: Postal Innovation of the Classic Era
  • Diane DeBlois and Robert Dalton Harris: The “Special” Postalization of Locale
  • William DeWitt:  Evolution of Intercity Mail Transportation Modes 1840-1880: Insights from Postmaster General Annual Reports
  • Gordon EubanksPostal History of the Issue of 1847
  • Anthony GallagherThe British Colonial Post Office Controversy: A Letter from the Constitutional Origins of the American Revolution
  • Fred GregoryGovernment Post in Hawaii: Creation and Reform – 1849 - 1859
  • Patricia Kaufmann: Confederate States of America: Postal Innovation During the Civil War
  • Yamil Kouri: U.S. Post Riders in Spanish West Florida, 1801-1810
  • Ken LawrenceMails of Navassa Island, the Original Overseas United States Possession, 1876-1898
  • Jim Milgram:  Early Railroads Carry the Mail
  • Tim O’Connor:  Rise of the American Post 1639-1776
  • William Schultz:  Toll Gates & Toll Houses: Assistance or Hindrance for Mail Delivery Modes
  • Mark SchwartzThe New York Postmaster Provisional
  • Steve WalskeBlazing Trails for the Westward Expansion
 

Virtual Exhibits Sponsored by the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society

Attendees will have direct access to the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society website to many of the best exhibits of classic material, including some recently added specifically for this event.  

As further activities, scheduling, and registration for the Symposium become finalized, they will be announced on both the Postal History Symposium page https://stamps.org/postal-history-symposium] and the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society [https://www.uspcs.org/].

 

 

2020 - Call for Papers

CALL FOR PAPERS

October 30-31, 2020
American Philatelic Center, American Philatelic Society
Bellefonte, PA

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SYMPOSIUM THEME:

Postal Innovation of the Classic Era - Evolution Leading to Modernization

From the earliest days of philately in the United States, the Classic Era of American postal history has come to define one of the greatest periods of postal innovation. From the time of stampless delivery, whose cost was borne by the recipient, to pre-paid letters carried by private mail carriers and provisional post offices, culminating in a preliminary system of universal prepayment requiring the creation, issuance and application of postage stamps, this era of American postal history was replete with many significant innovators and innovation that lead in time to the development and growth of a formalized modern postal system. Along with the United States, many other countries played an equally important role in the evolution and progress of postal history with creators and ideas that greatly contributed and furthered postal development into the modern age.

 

Deadlines for proposals:

One-page proposal and CV due May 15, 2020. In addition to a one-page proposal, each individual should submit a one-page curriculum vitae with contact information (e-mail, phone, address) to stiffney@stamps.org.  

Notification of acceptance will be mailed on or about May 29, 2019.  

Papers are due by September 1, 2020.  Accepted proposals must result in papers of 3000-4000 words, including bibliographic material, citations, and image titles. The articles must be formatted according to the guidelines of the United States Philatelic Classics Society. Images should be placed and discussed within the text and image permissions must be acquired. Writers will have the opportunity to revise their papers after the symposium and before papers are considered for publication by either the USPCS or the APS.

For more information and updates regarding the 2020 Postal History Symposium please see the Postal History Symposium web page on the APS website.

 

Possible topics include:

  • Delivery modes and methods
  • Early mechanization
  • Development of postal service
  • Postal routes
  • Types of early philatelic production
  • Postal inventions and inventors

 

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Past Symposia

Papers and Presentations

2018 - "WWI and its Immediate Aftermath"

"WWI and its Immediate Aftermath"

10th Postal History Symposium

November 1-2, 2018
Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Washington, DC

Symposium Session 1: Postal Employees and Communication Networks
  • "Civilian and Military Organization of Mail Operations for the American Expeditionary Forces" - Lynn Heidelbaugh
    (abstract | presentation)
  • "The First World War, Female Telegraphists and the General Post Office’s Employment Priorities" - Joanna Espin
    (abstract | presentation)
  • "U.S. Army Signal Corps Telephone & Telegraph in the Great War" - Diane DeBlois and Robert Dalton Harris
    (abstract | presentation)
  • "World War I Impacts on Chile's Security Printing Plant Development" - Bill Lenarz
    (abstract | presentation)
Exhibit Presentations
  • “War Savings and Thrift Stamps-Helping Fund the Great War” - Harry Charles
    (abstract | presentation)
  • “Red Cross Activities Before, During and After WWI (1912-1923)” - Jack Elder
    (abstract | presentation)
  • “Prisoner of War Camps in Japan, 1914-1920. Opportunities for Exploration, Research and Study” - Harold Krische
    (abstract | presentation)
  • “The Versailles Peace Treaty: The Role of Diplomatic and Military Mail” - Ravi Vora
    (abstract | presentation)
Symposium Session 2: Censorship and Surveillance
  • "Zanzibar Mails – WWI" - Gary DuBro
    (abstract | presentation)
  • "Civilian Postal Censorship in India During the World War I Era" - Robert Gray
    (abstract | presentation)
  • "Postal Censorship of the Press during World War I" - Nancy Pope
    (abstract | presentation)
  • "The Revolution Will Not be Mailed: The US Post Office’s Role in Antiradicalism During and After World War I" - Adam Quinn
    (abstract | presentation)
Symposium Session 3: The Mail
  • "The Mail of Prisoners of the Great War: Picture Postcards and Aid-Related Cards" - Alexander Kolchinsky
    (abstract | presentation)
  • "Returning to a Country They No Longer Recognized" - Kevin Lowther
    (abstract | presentation)
  • "Write that Letter Home: Senders, Recipients, and the Content of World War I Correspondence” - Jim Miller
    (abstract | presentation)
2016 - "How Postal Treaties Influenced Post Office Reports"

How Postal Treaties Influenced Post Office Reforms

9th Postal History Symposium

June 2, 2016
Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York City

Symposium Keynote
  • James Peter Gough RDP FRPSL
Symposium Session 1
  • A Non-Treaty Postal Agreement of the United States Post Office Department with the British Post Office as a significant early step towards the development of United States airmail to foreign destinations - Murray Abramson
    (read abstract | presentation)
  • Newspapers in the Mails: Postal Unification of the British American Colonies - Diane DeBlois & Robert Dalton Harris
    (read abstract | presentation)
  • 1836 Anglo-French Postal Convention (AF1836) - Geoffrey Lewis
    (read abstract | paper | presentation)
Symposium Session 2
2014 - "Development of Transoceanic Air Mail Service"

Development of Transoceanic Air Mail Service

8th Annual Postal History Symposium & Aerophilately

September 12-14, 2014
American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
The 2014 Symposium was held in conjunction with a philatelic exhibition hosted by the American Air Mail Society.

Symposium Keynote
  • “A Pan Am Flight Cover Literally Changed My Life” by Jon E. Krupnick
    (YouTube Video)
Symposium Session 1
Symposium Session 2
  • The Bathurst Connection: The Centrality of Gambia to the Development of Transatlantic Air Mail- Gary Wayne Loew
    (read abstract | presentation | paper | YouTube Video
    This paper was published in Cameo, vol. 16, no. 3 (October 2015) and is re-posted here with permission.)
  • Development of Transpacific Airmail Routes by the Naval Air Transport Service - William Fort
    (read abstract | presentation)
Symposium Session 3
2012 - "Blue & Gray: Mail and the Civil War"

Blue & Gray: Mail and the Civil War

7th Annual Postal History Symposium & U.S. Classics 2012

November 2-4, 2012
American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
The 2012 Symposium was held in conjunction with a philatelic exhibition hosted by the United States Philatelic Classics Society (USPCS).

Postal History Society Talk
  • The Fort Sumter Issue of 1961: A Commemorative in Conflict – David M. Frye
    (abstract | presentation)
Postal History Symposium Session 1
  • How the Post Office in Elmira, NY met the challenges of the American Civil War – Alan Parsons
    (abstract | presentation)
  • Decorated Envelopes as Weapons of War – Ken Lawrence
    (abstract | presentation | paper)
  • American Civil War Postage Due: North and South – Harry K. Charles, Jr.
    (abstract | presentation)
  • Balancing the Books: Newspapers & the Postal Business of the Confederacy – Diane DeBlois & Robert Dalton Harris
    (abstract | presentation | paper)
Postal History Symposium Session 2
  • The Madison, Florida Postmaster Provisionals: Anatomy of a Postal History Research Project – Patricia A. Kaufmann
    (abstract | presentation)
  • “Cold Mountain”: Philatelic Props Developed for the Movie – Thomas J. Richards
    (abstract | presentation | paper)
Postal History Symposium Session 3
  • Confederate Generals’ Mail, 1861-1865 – Brian Green & Alexander Green
    (abstract | presentation)
  • Economic Activity Following the Civil War Indexed by Postal Money Order Data – Terence Hines & Thomas Velk
    (abstract)
  • Union and Confederate Soldiers’ Stationery: Their Designs and Purposes – Steven R. Boyd
    (abstract)
  • Where are the Confederate Route Agents? – Douglas N. Clark
    (abstract | presentation | paper)
2011 - "How Commerce and Industry Shaped the Mails"

How Commerce and Industry Shaped the Mails

6th Annual Postal History Symposium

September 16 – 18, 2011
American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania

Postal History Symposium Session 1
  • No Fries ’Til Mail—How tourism brought mail service to the Grand Canyon – Marjory J. Sente
    (presentation | paper)
  • The U.S. Special Handling Service - “Live Chicks” - And so much more - Require First Class Treatment – Robert G. Rufe
    (presentation)
  • Promotion of Air Mail in the U.S. by Government and Industry – Arthur H. Groten M.D.
    (presentation)
  • The Standardization of American Mail Order, 1860-1900 – Sarah A. Johnson, Ph.D.
    (presentation)
  • Order No. 10 – Post Office Protection of the Express Cartel – David L. Straight
    (presentation)
Postal History Symposium Session 2
  • How Postcards Saved The Rural Free Delivery – Dan Gifford, Ph.D.
  • Stamp Cancellations at a Rural Post Office in the 1940’s – Erick Lee Erickson, Ph.D.
    (presentation)
  • Antebellum Transformations in Postal Architecture – Katherine Miller
    (presentation)
  • Postal History and Network Art – Andrew Oleksiuk
    (presentation | paper)
  • Parcel Post Postage Due Stamps – Harry K. Charles, Jr., Ph.D.
    (presentation)
  • “It’s in the Bag” – The Shape of Turn-of-the-Century Mail – Robert Harris & Diane Deblois
    (presentation | paper)
  • Role of the US Postal Money Order System in the Creation of the Mail Order Business – Terence Hines & Thomas Velk
    (paper)
  • Business Reply Mail Service – Richard D. Martorelli
    (presentation | paper)
  • Commerce, Industry, and Communications – David Hochfelder
    (presentation | paper)
2010 - "Stamps and the Mail: Imagery, Icons, & Identity"

Stamps and the Mail: Imagery, Icons, & Identity

5th Annual Postal History Symposium

September 30 - October 1, 2010
Smithsonian National Postal Museum

Use the links noted here to view the Papers/Presentations and Abtracts from the 2010 Symposium:

2009 - “Postal Reform”

“Postal Reform” 

4th Annual Postal History Symposium

October 30 – November 1, 2009
American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania

Use the links noted here to view the Papers/Presentations and Abtracts from the 2009 Symposium:

2008 - "When the Mail Goes to War"

When the Mail Goes to War

3th Annual Postal History Symposium

September 26-27, 2008
Smithsonian National Postal Museum

Information about the symposium is available - see details

2007 - "Technologies, Technologists & Networks"

A Symposium on the History of Communication Technologies

2nd Annual Postal History Symposium

September 30, 2007
Smithsonian National Postal Museum

Use the links noted here to view the Papers/Presentations and Abstracts from the 2007 Symposium:

2006 - "What is Postal History"

What is Postal History

1st Annual Postal History Symposium

November 3-4, 2006
Smithsonian National Postal Museum

Use the links noted here to view the Papers/Presentations and Abstracts from the 2006 Symposium:

 

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