Hugh McLellan Southgate Papers and Documents

Finding Guide
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Hugh McLellan Southgate

Prepared by Thomas Lera, Winton M. Blount Research Chair and Dr. Herbert Trenchard.


The Hugh McLellan Southgate Papers and Documents Collection consist of 26 volumes totaling over 6,900 pages of information.


The Hugh McLellan Southgate papers were donated by George Brett to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. George Brett was widely regarded as the greatest living authority on United States stamp production. For over 60 years he had written groundbreaking research on U.S. stamps from the first issue in 1847 to the most recent issues. Brett was 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.


Hugh McLellan Southgate (H.M.S.) was an important collector and student of the Bureau Issues of the United States. He was a founder and first president of the Philatelic Plate Number Association (1926-1928). He was also the first president and chairman of the board (1930-1940) of its successor, the Bureau Issues Association (now the United States Stamp Society).

“H.M.S.” was among the first researchers to make extensive use of the archival material held by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. He was prominent in the philatelic activities of the Washington, DC area and in the APS.

The Southgate notebooks consist mainly of manuscript notes taken of information he found in BEP archives on stamps printed by them, and supplemented by articles written by him and others. They cover the stamps issued by the Bureau-regular and BOB. These notebooks also contain biographical information on collectors, dealers, and others related mostly to the Bureau stamps.