By Donna Houseman
Richard B. Graham unquestionably was the stamp hobby’s most prolific writer on the subject of United States postal history. The “dean of postal history writers” wrote more than 1,000 Postal History columns that were published in Linn’s Stamp News.
Graham shared his passion for research and postal history discoveries not only in the pages of Linn’s but also as a contributor to other publications.
When Graham died in 2012, Michael Laurence, former editor-publisher of Linn’s, said, “In his generation, no one did more to promote the collecting of 19th century U.S. postal history.”
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I worked closely with Graham in 1982 as the editor of his book United States Postal History Sampler, the second in Linn’s Handbook Series. He was always willing to share his knowledge and advice.
We at Linn’s are pleased to learn that Graham’s writings will be preserved and shared through the American Philatelic Research Library.
The hobby is fortunate that Graham’s son Tom, who is not a collector, realized the importance of preserving this material and worked valiantly to make sure the Graham papers were made accessible to collectors.
The Graham family donated his writings to the American Philatelic Research Library, and Tom was notified recently by APRL librarian Tara Murray that Graham’s papers “have now been sorted, inventoried, and housed in archival storage containers.”
A guide to this material, titled Richard B. Graham Papers Finding Guide, was prepared by Michael Wilson of the APRL.
In recent years, the APRL has worked with families of important philatelic researchers to acquire and preserve valuable research papers. Specialist societies, including the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society and the United States Stamp Society, assist the APRL in facilitating and funding these donations.
The creation of the Graham papers finding guide was made possible by the David T. Beals III Charitable Trust and the Classics society.
The Graham guide and other finding guides can be accessed online.
The description of the Graham guide states: “This collection is comprised largely of Graham’s ‘Postal History’ columns, which includes a various amount of supplementary material. The rest of the collection focuses heavily upon postal markings of nearly every type.”
Among the other APRL finding guides are the Czeslaw Slania collection, the Harlan Stone Switzerland papers, the Thomas J. Alexander papers, the W. Wallace Cleland papers, and the Belmont Faries papers.
The guides are designed to assist collectors in their research at the APRL. The APRL is located at the American Philatelic Center, 100 Match Factory Place, Bellefonte, PA 16823.