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Plenary Speakers

photo of David Henkin

David M. Henkin is associate professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches nineteenth century United States history.

A specialist in the history of popular culture and everyday life, particularly in the urban North before the Civil War, Professor Henkin is the author of City Reading: Written Words and Public Spaces in Antebellum New York (Columbia University Press, 1998) and The Postal Age: The Emergence of Modern Communications in Nineteenth-Century America (University of Chicago Press, 2006).

In The Postal Age, Professor Henkin recaptures the revolutionary effects wrought by the democratization of the postal system in the mid-nineteenth century. He concludes that, between 1840 and 1870, decreasing postage rates, a high national literacy rate, and increasing social and geographic mobility all combined to make America a recognizably modern “postal society” accustomed to sending, receiving, and expecting mail. The Postal Age received the United States Postal Service’s 2007 Rita Lloyd Moroney Award for scholarship on the history of the U.S. postal system.   

Professor Henkin lives in San Francisco. Although he is not a serious philatelist, he still owns the stamps he collected as a child.

photo of Frank Scheer

Frank R. Scheer is Curator of the Railway Mail Service Library in Boyce, Virginia. The RMSL is an archival collection of primary and secondary sources pertaining to the history of worldwide Railway and Highway Post Offices, with a strong emphasis on the U.S. between 1862 and 1978.

Dr. Scheer’s knowledge of transportation and the mail is not exclusively historical. As a contract officer for the USPS, he is responsible for contract award and administration for postal freight, mail shipments by rail and intermodal carriers, as well as trailer leasing. He is a member of the American Society of Transportation and Logistics as well as the Association of Transportation Law Professionals, and is admitted to practice before the Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation Board. Dr. Scheer also teaches purchasing and logistics at the University of Maryland’s University College.

Philatelically, Dr. Scheer is a lifetime member of both the American Philatelic Society and the United States Philatelic Classics Society as well as a patron of the Mobile Post Office Society. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

photo of Robert Van Der Linden

F. Robert Van Der Linden is Chairman of the Aeronautics Division at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC.

A specialist in the history of flight and curator of a major new NASM exhibit opening November 17, 2007, America by Air, Dr. van der Linden is also the author of The Nation's Hangar: The Aircraft Collection of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (Howell Press, 2004); 100 Years of Flight: A Chronology of Aerospace History, 1903-2003 (with Frank H. Winter, AIAA, 2003); and Air Lines and Air Mail: The Post Office and the Birth of the Commercial Aviation Industry (University of Kentucky Press, 2002). He has particular interests in commercial aviation, special purpose aircraft and Charles Lindbergh.

For an aviation buff and professional historian, Dr. van der Linden has “the best job in the world.” He lives in Boyds, Maryland.