World Stamps

Crawford philatelic library to go online May 30

May 04, 2016 12:45 PM

  • The philatelic library built by the earl of Crawford will be made available online beginning May 30 on the Global Philatelic Library. The library, which covers the period between 1861 and 1913, has been conserved by the British Library in London.

The major philatelic library built up by the 26th Earl of Crawford will be made available online at the Global Philatelic Library from May 30 (subject to some copyright constraints), according to a press release from the Royal Philatelic Society London.

This digitization program will be launched Monday, May 30, during World Stamp Show 2016-NY at the Javits Center 655 W. 34th St., New York. A presentation by Frank Walton, president of the Royal Philatelic Society London, will be given at 2 p.m. in Room 1E07. All are welcome.

The Crawford philatelic library comprises more than 1.3 million pages and represents approximately 95 percent of the world’s published philatelic knowledge at the time it was created. James Ludovic Lindsay, the 26th Earl of Crawford, was born July 28, 1847. In addition to collecting stamps and books, he was interested in astronomy and other sciences.

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When he died in 1913, the Earl of Crawford left his magnificent philatelic library to the British nation. It has been conserved ever since by the British Library in London, where it is available for researchers in the Reading Room.

The British Library said that it “is probably the most complete collection of philatelic literature covering the period 1861 to 1913, comprising approximately 4,500 volumes.”

Thanks to creative thinking and information technology development by staff at the British Library and volunteers from the Royal Philatelic Society London, a project to digitize every page of every volume is now well advanced. The work has been aided by funding from the British Library, the former British Philatelic Trust, the Philatelic Fund, and the Royal Philatelic Society London.

More details of this project were given by David Beech, in a supplement published with the March edition of The London Philatelist, journal of the Royal Philatelic Society London. The text can be downloaded from the Global Philatelic Library website.

The Global Philatelic Library is an initiative to provide a consolidated listing of philatelic publications, archives, museum items, etc. held by libraries.

Began as a project by the Royal Philatelic Society London, the online library is now a collaboration between the Royal, the American Philatelic Research Library, and the Smithsonian. So far, 25 libraries have contributed their listings.