Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum to Honor Philatelic Achievement

Press Release

The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum announced three winners of the 2004 Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Awards—Thomas J. Alexander, George W. Brett and Barbara R. Mueller.

The Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Award celebrates outstanding lifetime accomplishments in the field of philately, including original research that significantly advances the understanding of philately and postal history, exceptional service to the philatelic community, the overall promotion of philately for the benefit of current and future collectors. The winners were selected by the National Postal Museum Council of Philatelists, a 25-member body of American and international philatelists.

The winners will be honored at a gala dinner on Saturday, May 22.

“This year’s Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Award winners are widely recognized by their peers as leading authorities in philately today,” Wilson Hulme, Curator of Philately at the National Postal Museum, said, “They are all prolific researchers and writers who have generously donated their time to the hobby of philately.”

Tom Alexander has been described as the ultimate philatelic research scholar. His writings include numerous articles and books, including the authoritative “United States 1847 Cover Census” and two works in a series of National Postal Museum philatelic research publications. He is presently co-authoring a publication on recently rediscovered Post Office Department records relating to the production of U.S. postage stamps from 1847 to 1910. In addition to his many writings, he has volunteered thousands of hours of his time to organized philately.

George Brett is widely regarded as the greatest living authority on United States stamp production. For over 60 years he has written groundbreaking research on U.S. stamps from the first issue in 1847 to the most recent issues. Brett is the author of over 500 reports, articles and books. A great teacher and a living legend in the field of philately, Brett was unanimously voted “Chairman Emeritus” for the United States Stamp Society in 2000.

Barbara Mueller is one of American philately’s most distinguished writers and editors. Over the last 50 years she has made major contributions to philately, editing and writing publications for audiences that range from novice collectors to specialists. She is one of the most honored philatelists in the hobby and was the first woman honored with the prestigious John N. Luff Award by the American Philatelic Society in 1956.

The Smithsonian National Postal Museum is devoted to the engaging history of the nation’s mail service and to showcasing the largest and most comprehensive collection of stamps and philatelic material in the world. Its five exhibition galleries present America’s postal history from colonial times to the present, while its collections contain prestigious U.S. and international postal issues and specialized collections, archival postal documents and three-dimensional objects. The museum is located at the corner of First Street and Massachusetts Avenue N.E., next to Union Station and is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day except Christmas Day. Admission is free. For more information, visit

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