A New Beginning

The American Philatelic Congress and the Postal History Society merged on January 1, 2021, to form a new organization named the American Philatelic and Postal History Congress (APPHC).

Since 1935, The American Philatelic Congress has held annual meetings and published an award-winning hard-bound volume annually, The Congress Book, with original in-depth articles covering a wide range of philatelic subjects. The American Philatelic Congress also sponsors an exhibiting award to promote excellence in the text descriptions of philatelic exhibits. Both will continue.

The Postal History Society was founded in 1951 and has consistently published ground-breaking articles in its award-winning Postal History Journal. The journal will continue as the Postal History Journal sponsored by the APPHC. In addition, the Postal History Society has awarded a medal recognizing the best postal history exhibit at every World Series of Philately show that requests it. That award will continue as the Postal History Medal of the APPHC.

With the merger, the new organization will combine the resources of the two societies to continue to publish the highest level of philatelic research with a broad appeal. Longer articles, generally not suitable to appear in a single issue of most periodical publications, will continue to be included in The Congress Book, dealing with both philatelic and postal history subjects. Shorter postal history articles, in many cases expanding the boundaries of this genre, will be published in the Postal History Journal.

The American Philatelic and Postal History Congress will continue to bestow its previous awards to exhibits for their writing and postal history presentations.

Postal History

Postal history is the study of material carried by and related to official, local, and private mail systems. It illustrates routes, rates, markings, usages, and other postal aspects. It describes services, functions, and activities related to the history of the development of postal services. Postmark collections—also called “marcophily”—demonstrate classifications and studies of postal markings related to official, local, and private mail on covers and other postal items.

Postal history, therefore, tells the story of mail handling, who has handled it, and why. In postal history, research is necessary to interpret a cover and its postal markings. In doing such research, one comes face to face with the history and the personalities of a particular event, place, or postal service (These insights come from the Australian Postal History Society.).

Tracing the postal history of one’s environment—be it a town, state, territory, or county—is a subject of increasing popularity. The domain of postal history includes a variety of areas of research: the rise and fall of stagecoach, railroad, and truck mails; the development of postal systems and methods of handling mail; disinfected, censored, delayed, or wreck covers; and correspondence from prison and internment camps. All that and more is collected, studied, exhibited, written, and spoken about by those who constitute the membership of the American Philatelic Congress.