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Symposiums and Lectures


Maynard Sundman Lecture Series

The Sundman lectures feature talks by authors and expert philatelists on stamps and stamp collecting.


November 1 – 2, 2018:
The Tenth Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: “WWI and Its Immediate Aftermath”
Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Washington, D.C.

On Monday, November 11, 1918, World War I came to an end. Wrought from militarism, nationalism and imperialism, the Great War broke empires, challenged established gender and race relations, and destroyed millions of lives. Mail became the critical link for the families separated and desperate for news. Governments responded to these developments and the disruption of communication networks, and struggled to determine who should be able to communicate with whom and about what.

This symposium will be held in conjunction with the American Philatelic Society and the American Philatelic Research Library.

The call for papers closed June 15, 2017. To attend the symposium, please check back here in spring 2018 to pre-register. Send questions to: NPMResearchChair@si.edu


June 2 – 3, 2016:
The Ninth Postal History Symposium: “How Postal Treaties Influenced Post Office Reforms”
Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York, NY

The Ninth Postal History Symposium was held June 2–3, 2016 during the World Stamp Show – NY 2016.


November 18 - 19, 2015:
Second International Symposium on Analytical Methods in Philately

The symposium was held in conjunction with CHICAGOPEX.


September 12 – 14, 2014:
The Eighth Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: “The Development of Transoceanic Air Mail Service”
American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, PA

The eighth Postal History Symposium was held in conjunction with Aerophilately 2014, a national all-air mail philatelic exhibition with FIP recognition and worldwide participation hosted by the American Air Mail Society.


November 12 – 14, 2012:
First International Symposium on Analytical Methods in Philately
American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, PA

In addition to two days of technical presentations, there was a half-day workshop, including hands-on experience with the NPM forensic equipment.


November 2 – 4, 2012:
The Seventh Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: “Blue & Gray: Mail and the Civil War”
American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, PA

The 2012 Symposium was held in conjunction with a philatelic exhibition hosted by the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society.


June 3, 2012:
The George W. Brett Centennial: U.S. Stamp Researcher Extraordinaire Symposium
Tysons Corner, VA

This symposium honored George W. Brett’s achievements and addressed his legacy. Presenters included Roger Brody, Rodney A. Juell, James Kloetzel, Cheryl R. Ganz, Michael Plett, Richard D. Bates, Daniel A. Piazza, Steven J. Rod, and Thomas Lera.


September 16 – 18, 2011:
The Sixth Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: “How Commerce and Industry Shaped the Mails”
American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, PA

The Symposium was held in conjunction with a philatelic exhibition hosted by the United States Stamp Society (USSS) at the American Philatelic Center near State College, Pennsylvania.

Select papers can be found at the following address: https://repository.si.edu/handle/10088/2399


September 30 - October 1, 2010:
The Fifth Winton M. Blount Symposium on Postal History: “Stamps and the Mail: Imagery, Icons, & Identity”
Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Washington, D.C.

Stamps, as official government documents, can be treated as primary resources designed to convey specific political and esthetic messages. Other topics and themes for the symposium are: Stamp design’s influence on advertising envelopes and bulk mailings, censorship of stamps as propaganda as used on letters, and the role of the citizens' stamp committee or organizations that generate the designs.

Select papers can be found at the following address: https://repository.si.edu/handle/10088/2399


October 30 – November 1, 2009:
The Fourth Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: “Postal Reform”
American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, PA

The introduction of postage stamps in 1840 represented a complete overhaul in the organization and operating principles of the British Post Office. The subsequent rapid introduction of stamps to nearly every country in the world before the end of the 19th century is tangible evidence of the worldwide adoption of similar post office reforms. The 2009 Postal History Symposium will bring together collectors of classic stamps with scholars and public historians of postal reform and post office operations to examine these highly collectable cultural objects through the lens of the post office reforms that gave rise to them.

Select papers can be found at the following address: https://repository.si.edu/handle/10088/11087


September 26 and 27, 2008:
The Third Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: “When the Mail Goes to War”
Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Washington, D.C.

The 2008 Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium jointly sponsored by the Smithsonian National Postal Museum and the American Philatelic Society was held on September 26 and 27, 2008. This was the third national conference for academic scholars, philatelists, and industry experts to discuss their research into the history of postal organizations and systems.

Select papers can be found at the following address: https://repository.si.edu/handle/10088/11087


October 21 - 22, 2007:
The Second Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: “Further, Farther, Faster: Transportation Technology and the Mail”
American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, PA

This Postal History Symposium, the second national conference sponsored by the American Philatelic Society and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, provided a forum in which philatelists, academic scholars of postal organizations and systems, public historians, and the interested public discussed and presented research integrating philately and the history of postal operations within the broader context of American history. 

Select papers can be found at the following address: https://repository.si.edu/handle/10088/11087


October 17, 2007:
Technologies, Technologists & Networks: A Symposium on the History of Communication Technologies
Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Washington, D.C.

From 17 – 22 October 2007, the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) met in Washington, D.C., and celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. As part of that celebration, the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum hosted a one-day symposium on the history of communication technologies.


November 3 - 4, 2006:
The First Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: “What is Postal History?”
Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Washington, D.C.

Rarely do scholars of postal organizations and systems meet and discuss their ideas and research with scholars of philately. In an attempt to bridge this gap, the National Postal Museum and the American Philatelic Society hosted a national conference on November 3 and 4, 2006, to bring together these two research groups.

Select papers can be found at the following address: https://repository.si.edu/handle/10088/11087