On Philately

[First published in GOTOXO as on December 20, 2007.]

Courtesy of Sam Ruby’s Planet Intertwingly I just came across a wonderful post by Rob Weir, A Lick Back in Time. Though Rob also works for IBM we have never met save via our blog postings. This is so far my favorite of his posts, for in it I learned that we are fellow stamp collectors, or philatelists.

Rob’s post is about the U.S. Commemorative stamps issued in 1957. I was an active collector in those years. I got an allowance of about $15 each week. My mother said I had to pay for my school lunches and do what I wished with what was left. As a result, since I was a passionate collector in those days, I ate very sparingly so I could save as much as possible for my weekly journey to the local stamp dealer in Albuquerque in those days, Mr. Flynn:
Stamps 1957
Cover Scott’s Catalog

Stamps 19574

I spent many wonderful Saturdays in his store, looking at many stamps and buying a few. My specialty was U.S. commemoratives, and I have a pretty complete collection from 1933 to about 1960. Here are a few photos I just took of my stamp collection. I hadn’t viewed some of these stamps for several decades:

Stamps 1957
First Day Covers circa 1957

Note the Polio Stamp. See Don’t forget to get your Flu Shot and the mention of Polio therein.

The Noah Webster Cover is also of interest, for it bears the postmark of Hartford, Connecticut. As it happens, I had a phone call yesterday with one of Connecticut’s leading proponents of the use of open-source and other open technologies in Connecticut schools. He lamented that while all of Connecticut’s school districts now have access to high-speed Internet courtesy of a statewide initiative, few schools have the resources and trained personnel to make proper use of the connection, and cited Hartford as a case in point.

Stamps 1957
Plate Blocks 1957

Stamps 1957
1957 Commemoratives, Page 1

Stamps 1957
1957 Commemoratives, Page 2

Stamps 1957
1957 Commemoratives, Page 3

Stamps 1957
1957 Plate Block of Oklahoma Stamp

Rob wonders in his post why the Oklahoma stamp has the symbol of the atom. My own guess is that this was a reflection of the peaceful uses of atomic power of the mid 1950’s, as a similar symbol can be found in Scott’s 1070, “Atoms For Peace,” 1955:

1957 Stamps
1955 Commemoratives

Note the similiarity of the atom in this stamp to that found in the Oklahoma stamp.

It is also worth noting the stamp honoring Andrew M. Mellon. The foundation named after him provided much of the key funding for the Sakai and Kuali open-source projects that were developed by, and are being used within, several of our major Research Universities.

My grandfather, Dr. E. Kyle Simpson, born in 1883, was also a philatelist. He saved many stamps during his years as a doctor in Pontiac, Michigan, in the 1930’s and later. He saved many full sheets, though since he started doing this only after 1933, they were of little monetary value, though a good deal of sentimental value. He sent them to me in the 1950’s when he learned I also was a stamp collector.

Grandfather's Stamp Collection1

Grandfather's Stamp Collection2

Grandfather's Stamp Collection3

I am posting this on my XO blog as there is a bit of the collector in all of us, and I would hope that one of the main uses of the XO in the years to come will be the cataloging of their culture by the members of the XO Generation

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