Finding Guides

The Museum has created research guides for collections that are frequently accessed or that have additional research potential. These guides provide concise descriptions of the scope and content, provenance and list of materials for each collection.


Forty-five handwritten communications between the printing firm Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson, the Postmaster General and Assistant Postmaster Generals and others relate the history behind the production, sale and use of the first federal stamps.
Finding aid for the Panama Canal Zone Post Office collection consisting of correspondence, newspaper and journal articles, government documents, stamp design files, photographs and other illustrations. The files cover the history of the Panama Canal Zone Post Office from 1904 to 1999.
Catherine Lemmon Manning
Catherine Lemmon Manning (1881-1957), the first woman outside the sciences to achieve the title “Assistant Curator” at the Smithsonian, tended the National Philatelic Collection for nearly thirty years.
The George W. Brett Papers and Documents Collection consists of 100 banker’s boxes of material ranging from handwritten research notes, copies of historical documents and others, and an extensive collection of his philatelic correspondence.
The Hugh McLellan Southgate Papers and Documents Collection consist of 26 volumes totaling over 6,900 pages of information. Southgate 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.
Lipsner's career as First Superintendent of the United States Air Mail Service and his personal collection of documents, photos and other items from that time are summarized here.
This collection of over 4,000 pages will make available to historians and collectors official documents relating to the production of United States postage stamps from 1847 to 1910.
This collection includes the first list of mail salvaged from the wreckage to reach philatelic hands. Postal officials typed the lists in 1937 as they prepared the disaster mail to be processed and delivered to the addressees.