The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum will host the 13th annual Maynard Sundman Lecture Thursday, Aug. 18, from noon to 1 p.m. in the museum’s Discovery Center. Admission is free, with no reservation required. “Parks, Postmarks and Postmasters: Post Offices Within the National Park Service” combines the real-life drama and human interest of the people, places and events that created the national park system with a study of the post offices and postmasters that connect them to the outside world.
Speaker Paul Lee was born in West Virginia in 1944. After earning degrees from Wittenberg and James Madison universities, he became a high school biology teacher and held summer jobs in Rock Creek, Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains national parks. He eventually left teaching and became a full-time National Park Service (NPS) employee. As an interpretive planner, Paul developed dozens of visitor centers, exhibitions and media presentations at NPS sites in the U.S., American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. He retired in 2000 and lives in Colorado, where he volunteers at the Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library in Denver.
“The museum’s new ‘Trailblazing’ exhibition explores how mail shaped many of the places now preserved by the National Park Service,” said Daniel Piazza, chief curator of philately. “Paul is a stamp collector who also spent 40 years as a national park ranger and planner, so his lecture will bring real-life experience to the subject.”
The National Postal Museum’s Maynard Sundman Lecture Series was established in 2002 through a donation by Sundman’s sons, David and Donald. The Sundman lectures feature talks by authors and expert philatelists on stamps and stamp collecting.
Sundman’s love of philately began in 1927. As a child, he was fascinated by stamps and the doors they opened to history and culture. At age 19, Sundman started a mail-order stamp business with $400 he had saved, operating out of his parents’ home in Connecticut. After serving in World War II, he founded his second firm, Littleton Stamp Co., with his wife, Fannie Kasper Sundman. The company branched into coins for collectors in the 1950s. In 1974, the family purchased Mystic Stamp Co. of Camden, N.Y., of which Donald Sundman is president. His son David is president of Littleton Coin Co. in Littleton, N.H.
About the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum
The National Postal Museum is devoted to presenting the colorful and engaging history of the nation’s mail service and showcasing the largest and most comprehensive collection of stamps and philatelic material in the world. It is located at 2 Massachusetts Ave. N.E., in the Old City Post Office Building across from Union Station. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information visit the museum’s Web site at postalmuseum.si.edu.
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