George T. Turner

headshot of George Turner
George T. Turner

George T. Turner (1906-1979), acting curator of the Smithsonian Institution’s philatelic collection from 1959 until 1962, owned the greatest private philatelic library ever assembled. In building his own library, he purchased those of philatelic bibliophiles such as William C. Stone. Through the Stone acquisition, Turner acquired the libraries of William R. Ricketts, W. R. King, Roland King-Farlow, and Ralph Kimble, which Stone had purchased and incorporated into his own.

Through Turner’s bequest, the Smithsonian Institution received the Turner library’s finest items, totaling over 3,000 books and related material. This acquisition forms the core of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum’s library. It included Turner’s card catalog as well as Ralph A. Kimble’s subject index to philatelic articles that had appeared in the philatelic press, 1935-1950.

A noted expert on revenue stamps, George Turner wrote the American Philatelist’s revenue column. In 1974, he published his Essays and Proofs of the United States Revenue Stamps, which remains a standard. It received the American Philatelic Congress’s Eugene Klein Award in 1975. In addition, as research philatelist for the Bureau Issues Society, Turner compiled and edited George B. Sloane’s Sloane’s Columns, which had appeared in Stamps magazine.

Turner received the Alfred F. Lichtenstein Memorial Award (1976) and the Luff Award (1976). He signed the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in 1978 and was a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London.

Mary T. Sheahan, National Postal Museum