US Stamps

Philatelic writers hall of fame adds Houseman, Kaufmann, Markovits, Woodward

Jun 22, 2017, 9 AM

By Linn's Staff

The American Philatelic Society Writers Unit No. 30 will induct Donna Houseman, Patricia Kaufmann, the late Robert Markovits and the late Patrick Henry Woodward into its philatelic writers hall of fame.

The induction will take place Aug. 6 at the Writers Unit No. 30 breakfast in Richmond, Va., as part of APS Stampshow at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, 403 N. Third St. The stamp show is taking place Aug. 3-6.

Donna Houseman

Donna O’Keefe Houseman is celebrating 45 years with Amos Media. During her decades as a professional editor, reporter and writer for the stamp hobby, she has experienced a shift from handwriting and typewriters to computers and texts. She has witnessed publishing shifts in formats and increased online outreach.

Her body of work has reached almost every American stamp collector and dealer.

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Houseman is editorial director for the Amos Media stamp group, consisting of Linn’s Stamp News and the Scott postage stamp catalogs, which include the six-volume, worldwide Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers and the Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940. She is the lead editor of the Scott Classic Specialized catalog.

She developed and edited the Linn’s Handbook series and was instrumental in the development of and

Among her most rewarding philatelic editing projects were serving as editor of Linn’s U.S. Stamp Yearbooks, the Linn’s Handbook series and more than 50 books where she worked with notable philatelic writers, including George Amick, Michael Baadke, Dick Graham, Ken Lawrence, Steven Rod and others.

Her Philatelic Gems columns in Linn’s, detailing the world’s most intriguing and rarest stamps, were compiled in a five-volume set of books titled Philatelic Gems.

Houseman adds that she is “privileged to serve as editor of the most respected worldwide stamp catalogs, the Scott catalogs, and to work with a team of talented and well-respected editors in Linn’s and Scott.”

She is a passionate collector of the stamps of Ireland, County Cork postal history and stampless covers, and Great Britain stamps used in Ireland.

Patricia A. Kaufmann

Patricia A. Kaufmann, a professional stamp dealer, is chair of the board of vice presidents of the American Philatelic Society. As an author and editor, she has excelled in promoting Confederate philately.

For 17 years, she served as co-editor and editor of The Confederate Philatelist and as editor-in-chief of the award-winning Confederate States of America Catalog and Handbook of Stamps and Postal History. Her prolific research and publications have made her an esteemed spokesperson for Confederate postal history.

A lifelong collector and storyteller, Kaufmann loves to uncover the hidden stories and human-interest connections from postal covers.

“Human-interest stories attract both Confederate specialists as well as others who simply love history and might consider taking up Confederate postal history as a new area,” Kaufmann said.

“Serious philatelic research is very important to me as well — both stamp nuances and new discoveries in postal history.”

Kaufmann has been section editor of The Confederate Stampless Cover Catalog, and has contributed to the 1986 New Dietz Confederate States Catalog and annual updates of the Scott U.S. Specialized catalog.

She has written hundreds of philatelic research articles for The American Philatelist, The American Stamp Dealer and Collector, The Confederate Philatelist, The Congress Book, Kelleher’s Stamp Collectors Connection, La Posta, Smithsonian Magazine, Way Markings, The SPA Journal, the National Postal Museum’s Arago online database collection, and other publications.

Her definitive published research on the 3¢ 1861 postmaster provisionals resulted in an entirely new Confederate section beginning with the 2000 Scott U.S. Specialized catalog and the CSA catalog.

Kaufmann has received the August Dietz Award for research and writing twice. In 2015, she received the Confederate Philatelist writers’ award for best article. She has won numerous exhibitor awards, including grand and reserve grand awards in national philatelic competitions, for her Confederate and classic Valentine collections. In 2016, she received the Elizabeth Pope award for lifetime contributions to philately.

Robert Leslie Markovits

Throughout his life, Robert Leslie Markovits (1937-2015) researched and published philatelic articles. He was both an attorney and stamp dealer (Quality Investors Ltd.), and at one time worked as a newspaper sports editor.

However, his exhibits and publications have immortalized him in the hobby. His love of 19th-century and early 20th-century stamps and postal history are well known. He focused on back-of-the-book issues and their use, including special delivery issues, the 10¢ registry stamp, Officials, postal stationery, and newspaper and periodical issues.

He ventured to the front of the book for Bureau issues and several special interest stamps.

As an author, Markovits wrote more than 100 scholarly articles, the Numbers Game column for The Bureau Specialist, and the definitive study United States: The 10¢ Registry Stamp of 1911.

He contributed to more than a dozen periodicals, including the Collectors Club Philatelist, First Days, La Posta, Linn’s Stamp News, Locals and Carriers Journal, United States Specialist, Postal History Journal, The Congress Book, 1869 Times and Postal Stationery. He compiled proof and essay price lists of Clarence Brazer and contributed to other published works, including the Durland Standard Plate Number Catalog. He entered the online world with a website on U.S. special delivery issues.

As a successful exhibitor, Markovits in 1999 won the APS Champion of Champions, the top exhibiting honor in the United States, with his U.S. Officials 1873-1884, which also won four large golds at the international level. His special delivery exhibit received three international large golds. His one-frame exhibit, The Dollar Values of the U.S. State Department Stamps of 1873-84, won the grand award at the first national one-frame competition in 1993, and his exhibit of the 1908 10¢ green Helmet of Mercury special delivery stamp won the Collectors Club single-frame competition in 2006.

Markovits served as an officer of the Collectors Club of New York and the Spellman Museum. He was awarded the Bureau Issues Association’s Hopkinson Memorial literature award in 1960, received the best article award of the Collectors Club Philatelist in 1989, and was elected to the Bureau Issues Association’s United States Stamp Society hall of fame in 2011.

He was named to the APS hall of fame earlier this year, and continues to contribute to philatelic investigation with his enormous collection of research papers housed at the American Philatelic Research Library in Bellefonte, Pa.

Patrick Woodward

Patrick Henry Woodward (1833-1917) brought crime detection at the United States Post Office Department to popular attention in 1876 with a runaway bestseller.

Guarding the Mails, or the Secret Service of the Post Office Department was written after Woodward had been named chief of special agents under Postmaster General Marshall Jewell. Woodward had previously served as an agent from 1864 to 1875 “in the detection, pursuit and capture of depredators upon the mails.”

The book was so popular that it went through several editions, and Woodward expanded it in 1886, under a new title: The Secret Service of the Post-Office Department, with the subtitle As Exhibited in the Wonderful Exploits of Special Agents or Inspectors in the Detection, Pursuit, and Capture of Depredators Upon the Mails, with a Complete Description of the Many Means and Complicated Contrivances of the Wily and Unscrupulous to Defraud the Public; also, an Accurate Account of the Famous Star Route Frauds.

Woodward, then no longer in the inspection service, acknowledged the assistance of agents’ case notebooks. The appended chapter has provided researchers with a summation of the Star Route scandal that ended with an 1883 trial.

Sanford J. Durst, a publisher of philatelic references, reprinted the 1886 edition in 1978. The Linn’s Stamp News announcement of the reprint credits Woodward with uncovering an entire area of postal history unknown to most collectors.

Curators at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum used Woodward’s work, along with James Holbrook’s 1855 book of agent tales, in interpreting the 19th century for its popular exhibit Behind the Badge, The U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

This year’s Writer’s Unit hall of fame committee members are Cheryl Ganz (chair), Kees Adema, and Diane DeBlois. All three are APS Writers Unit hall of fame inductees.


The American Philatelic Society Writers Unit No. 30 contributed to this article. Membership in the Writers Unit is open to all philatelic writers, editors, publishers, and anyone interested in philatelic communication. Visit their website for more information.