Henry Albert Meyer (1894-1968), the son of a mail carrier from Evansville, Indiana, lived all his life in Evansville and eventually became a public school teacher. Meyer found a great passion in postal history, collecting the United States, the Confederacy, and Hawaii. Greece, Brazil, the Cape of Good Hope, and the postal history of the Napoleonic wars also fascinated him.
Evansville, Indiana, sits on the Ohio River, which undoubtedly inspired Meyer’s collection of Ohio River steamboat covers, renowned in its category. The collection evolved into his book titled Domestic Waterway Mail Markings, published in 1951. He co-authored Hawaii, Its Stamps and Postal History, published in 1948, The Postal History of the Kingdom of Westphalia Under Napoleon, 1807-1814 (1958), and Railroad Postmarks of the United States, 1861-1866 (1968).
Besides writing and teaching, Meyer belonged to the U.S. One-Cent 1851-1857 Unit of the APS and was program chairman of the Perforation Centennial held at the National Philatelic Museum, Philadelphia, in 1957.
Following his death in 1969, Meyer’s collection of French Revolution and Napoleonic postal history was acquired by his niece, Dr. Margery W. Shaw of Houston, Texas. According to Dr. Shaw, Meyer had considered donating the collection to the Smithsonian but was unable to do so before his death. In 1978, Shaw contacted the Smithsonian and, over the next nine years, donated the complete collection. It can be explored using the Henry A. Meyer Collection of French Revolution and Napoleonic Covers and Documents Finding Guide.
Mary T. Sheahan, National Postal Museum