This is an agency history. It does not describe actual records. The Smithsonian Institution Archives uses these histories as brief accounts of the origin, development, and functions of an office or administrative unit to set that unit in its historical context. To find information on record holdings, please double-click the highlighted field "Creator/Author", which will open on a brief view of relevant records.
Guide to the Smithsonian Archives, 1996
Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1946-1948
While the Smithsonian acquired elements of a philately collection in the nineteenth century, systematic work began with the appointment of Joseph Britton Leavy as Philatelist in 1913.
Until 1947 the Philatelist was a staff member of the Division of History. In 1947 a Section of Philately was created and then upgraded to a division in 1949. In 1957, the Division was renamed Philately and Postal History (changing again to Postal History in 1969). It was affiliated with the Departments of Civil History, 1957-1968, Applied Arts, 1969-1977, and National History, 1978-1979, as a result of museum reorganizations. In 1980, the Division was organized as the National Philatelic Collection in the National Museum of American History, reporting to the Director. In 1990, the National Philatelic Collection became the National Postal Museum, an independent entity, in consequence of an agreement between the Smithsonian Institution and the United States Postal Service.
Curators and staff included Joseph Britton Leavy, Philatelist, 1913-1921; Catherine L. Manning, Philatelist, 1921-1943, Assistant Curator of Philately, 1944-1951; Franklin R. Bruns, Jr., Assistant Curator of Philately, 1951, Associate Curator in charge, 1952-1957, Associate Curator, 1971-1977, and Supervisor, 1978-1979; Francis J. McCall, Assistant Curator of Philately, 1957, Acting Curator, 1958, Associate Curator, 1959-1963; George T. Turner, Acting Curator of Philately, 1959-1961, Associate Curator, 1962; Richard Hubbard Howland, Acting Curator of Philately, 1962-1963; Carl H. Scheele, Assistant Curator of Philately, 1960-1963, Acting Curator, 1964-1968, Associate Curator, 1969, Curator in charge, 1970-1977; Reidar Norby, Assistant Curator of Philately, 1969, Associate Curator, 1970-1983, Curator, 1984-1988; Robert G. Tillotson, Executive Director of the National Philatelic Collection, 1980-1982; Herbert Ridgeway Collins, Executive Director of the National Philatelic Collection, 1982-1990.
For a history of the larger creating unit, refer to "Forms part of " above.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520